Of course, earlier this week I published a story about going to the grocery store for Mary, so why wouldn’t store be the prompt for today?
The world is a much different place than it was before the Internet. In those days, if you wanted something, whether it was clothes, appliances, musical instruments, furniture, or just about anything else, you had two choices: order it, either by mail or phone, from one of the big catalog houses (Sears, Montgomery Ward’s, J. C. Penney, Spiegel, or later Service Merchandise and McDade’s) or you got in the car or on the bus, and rode to the store to shop in person, usually at a big department store. If you lived in Chicago, that typically meant Marshall Field & Company or Carson Pirie Scott & Company, but there were other places to shop as well: Wieboldt’s, Lytton’s, Best and Company, Bonwit Teller, Sak’s Fifth Avenue, Goldblatt’s, and a host of other small department stores that had sprung up in the neighborhood, such as Winsberg’s in my old neighborhood. And there were the specialty stores, places where they stocked just one type of goods, such as shoes, and maybe even just women’s shoes or kids’ shoes, or clothing, especially kids’ clothing. Nothing like today. I mean, now you have the big box stores like the hated Walmart and Target, the shopping clubs like Sam’s Club and Costco, office supply stores like Staples and Office Depot Max (which came about when Office Depot and Office Max merged), and of course electronic stores like Best Buy. You can get just about anything you want or need in one place. Convenient? You bet. Would I trade the convenience of Walmart or Target, which sell practically everything you need, for the days of having to go to one store for dress clothes, another for casual clothes, and a third for shoes? Most definitely not.
Around this time of the year, you hear impassioned pleas for people to “buy locally,” and no doubt there are people who are willing to run from store to store and buy a little here and a little there. For the most part, though, people would rather shop where they think they’ll be able to get everything they want all in one trip. Can you blame them?
I’m handicapped, so an online store like Amazon.com is a Godsend. Now that Mary does the shopping, whatever we can do to make things easier for her is much appreciated. We can get cat food from Amazon, and it gets delivered right to the door. Rather than having to wheel the cases around the grocery store, load them into the van, unload them from the van, and lug them up to the house, we get the big box from Amazon, slide it into the house, and just take the food out as we need it. Likewise, rather than have to go to Omar the Tentmaker and go through the rigamarole of trying on clothes where I’ll have trouble undressing and dressing, I order the clothes online, they come to the house, and ninety-nine times out of a hundred they fit. If they don’t, it’s easy enough to send the stuff back for an exchange or refund. We get all our clothes online. It just makes more sense. We save the fuel we’d need to drive around for the items we buy all the time, we save wear and tear on the van and ourselves, we don’t have to fight the crowds, and Mary doesn’t have to worry about me falling flat on my face and ending up in the hospital.
Do I miss the old days and the old way of doing things? Yes. Would I want to return to them? No.
Another weekly entry for Linda Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Want to play around or to find out what other people are doing? Go here.