On and Offline – A Case for Shopping

On and Offline – A Case for Shopping

Going into a real shop beats purchasing goods online any day. The simple, innocent charm of entering a new world full of new objects to explore with your eyes is too much to fritter away on websites without an iota of feeling in them.

Unless you are an unfortunate American who cannot but shop online to save on his gas, you will share the sentiment with me. Or maybe even otherwise, perhaps. The point is, seeing and holding the product you want to buy is simply too much better than viewing its photos.

A real shopkeeper can speak in ways that make you feel so great, it is a major relief from the usual artifice. Your purchasing power can bring you much more than the mere value of the product or service you happen to purchase.

I like to be treated royally when I enter a brick-and-mortar shop. For that reason, I like to shop offline. Other reasons why I like to shop offline are as follows:

• The feeling that I can always go back and get the product replaced, serviced, or even sold is important. I spend top dollar on the products I buy. I don’t just swipe it away.

• A particular vendor of digital cameras has a way of unboxing the camera you have bought and explaining every single little detail about it. What’s more, you can go back any time and ask about it if you need to. This knowledge-sharing exercise is very precious to me.

• Window shopping is a pleasure I love indulging in. While I am out there, I have a better chance to enjoy the display and some showmanship! Even the fruit vendor does a pretty job of stacking up the fruit in a sort of inviting way. Such succulent fruit you’ve never seen, let alone tasted. Although, of course, you could get them and a smile for a bargain. I just love the display.

• There’s a sense of achievement there. With our toothless lives, there’s hardly any challenge around. Whatever you require is right there, for the asking. There’s pretty much no struggle to get it. Not good enough for me. Petty road rage to heckling with the shopkeeper for the heck of it is a great exercise in aggression – one that will probably not cost you an arm and a leg. Unless you are asking for an arm or a leg, that is.

• I pay in real money, generally. That gives me a sense of how much I have spent. Plastic does not do that for me. When mobiles become wallets, that might get addressed. I badly need to know how much dough I have in my wallet or my bank. That way, I can plan ahead.

Real money also allows me to buy some love from my daughter! I can just hand her a bill for some ice cream or a cold drink and away she goes, happy as a lark at the prospect, after planting a kiss on my cheek.

If I see a charity box on the counter somewhere, I can always reach for a small bill to drop into it. With plastic, I cannot. I mean, I would but I cannot. See?

I don’t know… really… maybe it’s just me. Online shopping does not sound all that social. It comes across as very sterile, puerile in a way. Enter the card number and then wait for a whole day or two before the product comes hopping along.

If you point out that there’s something in the anticipation before it arrives, you probably have a point there. But I tend to save up for the product I wanna buy, so I am already saturated with the anticipation by the time I visit the shop with a firm resolve to get the coveted item by hook or crook or money.

There’s a gestation period as well, for the feeling to sink in of having finally bought the product as you leave the shop and start for home. The product is right there with you, but in a box all wrapped up. On the way, you get to fantasize how you are going to announce your purchase and how guys at home will react and how you will counter-react… and so on.

There’s a distinct pleasure in buying from a shop that is simply missing when you buy online. For instance, the local upmarket book shop appeals to all my senses. I see so many books in one place, touch those that I want to, leaf through, and even pay with real money if I like. Moreover, coffee and books simply blend together perfectly seamlessly.

The thing is, I am one stingy customer when it comes to spending my own cash. I expect value for every single cent I spend. And offline shopping does the best job of convincing me, that’s all. Though, of course, I do concede that online shopping can have its own brownie points.

Think of any?

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