Sensory thrills in ‘real time’ shopping

Ooh la la!

I’ve been listening to a debate on the radio this morning – whether we’d prefer online bargain hunting or the physical retail experience. In these hard economic times our local retailers are finding things tough …

Personally, I like going to shops – I prefer real retail therapy. I enjoy the act of driving into town, escaping the chains of household drudgery, wandering the streets, looking in the shop windows, trying things on, picking things up – holding them, turning them over in my hands, felling the textures, punctuating the trip with a ‘long black’ (that’s a coffee) in one of my favorite cafes, meeting up with friends, and chatting to shop assistants when they haven’t got their eyes firmly fixed, as they pout and preen, on their reflection in the nearest mirror ! ‘Real time’ shopping has social and sensory appeal.

I’m not good at waiting – if I want to buy something – then I want to have it now. I have, however, learned over the years the benefits of putting things on ‘hold’ – it gives me time to think about whether I really really want them. I’ve also taken up the practice of putting things on layby – when I don’t need the item/s right then and there or I can’t afford them then and there – because I can then pay off the balance gradually.

My children chastise me! Always telling my how much cheaper goods are online, the variety of choice. Bowing to pressure, I’ve taken their advice tried the experience via, very recently. It was really easy … I made my selection, did the deal and then three days later my products arrived in the mail. I’ve heard complaints that the products may be counterfeit – I’ll guess I’ll find that out when I start using them. (I’m waiting to finish my near empty bottles first!) Sure I saved a bit of money, but even as I made my purchase I wondered whether I was buying real deal authentic products or whether I was being had. I never feel that way when I’m in a shop …

Supporting local retailers is important, knowing that if we don’t walk through their doors, they’ll be forced to close. We’ll be left with empty shop windows and empty streets. We won’t be able to pop down to the shops, chat to the owners about their merchandise and seeking their advice for our decision-making. You can’t do that online – you get no feedback, no smiles, no laughter – nada. And then if the product is not right, you have further delay (and anxiety) while you return it.

One mustn’t forget the incidental exercise factor (to be blunt – the Chawner effect). Shopping online does nothing for the waistline as you sit for hours trawling the internet exercising only your fingers. It can’t compare with the health benefits of tramping the streets in gale force winds, reaching to the skies as you remove layers of clothing, bending and stretching as you try on a multitude of shoes. No need for a gym membership … beat the winter flab, get off your bums and get shopping sisters!

I definitely prefer ‘real time’ …


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