The day after Thanksgiving, a friend’s Facebook post evoked 93 envious comments, four offers of psychological help, and a death threat or two. What elicited such passionate response? She dared reveal that she’d wrapped the final gift on her list.
I gave serious consideration to the last reaction, but one of her gifts may be for me.
Like many today, she’d viewed an amazing variety of gifts online.
If a guy craves a purple monkey wrench with a peace sign, he can open it Christmas morning. Those seeking bedroom slippers find pairs online that could fit a native of Neptune, let alone, hard-to-please Uncle Ralph.
Five-inch-thick toy catalogs once dragged home from the mailbox no longer limit little ones’ choices. Now, children who navigate cyberspace better than their parents explore infinite Christmas Wish websites. Some “accidentally” hit purchase buttons without their folks’ knowledge — until five semis dump 42,111 teddy bears singing “Feliz Navidad” in Chinese on their doorsteps.
Internet shopping also promotes less driving. No coats, mittens or car seats. No bloodshed over parking spaces. Pollution-belching cars remain home, while bargain hunters apply gas money to bigger and better holiday gifts for others — plus giant screen TVs for themselves.
Virtual store visitors choose gifts anytime day or night. They avoid hostile store clerks who install trapdoors in front of cash registers.
Certainly, online buyers encounter uncooperative sellers — shopping carts that charge double and helpful sites that publish customers’ credit card numbers on Facebook. But if an annoyed Internet shopper assaults her computer, it can be replaced with no jail time involved — unless she shoplifts one.
Online purchasers avoid traditional Christmas brawls when stores run out of Preschool Techno Marbles or Uber Dogcatcher Barbie. Nor do they wait in line behind 76 other customers, only to discover the computers are down. An online shopper can experience similar computer fun at home with no wait whatsoever.
Internet customers do risk the unknown. A pan-for-gold set might not come with genuine six-inch nuggets, as advertised. Once, unaware a website’s owners couldn’t count, I received a sweater that sported five arms.
Online shoppers also deal with predators who steal identities. However, I wouldn’t mind procuring a new one. I’ll take a twentyish blonde, size six, with an unlimited credit ceiling, please.
Believe it or not, I later discovered my high-tech friend didn’t stick to Internet gift-giving. She’d not only bought presents at downtown stores and personally wrapped them — she’d made several.
Such inefficiency, when in one evening, she could have selected identical presents for 127 people, had them professionally gift-wrapped, then sent in time for Christmas. This, without ever touching gifts or recipients.
What was she thinking?
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Do you like shopping online? Why or why not?