Apparently the Christmas shopping season is already upon us. I know this because I opened my mailbox today to find a large stack of gift catalogs from retailers hoping that they have the perfect gifts for my family and friends. I expect that I will be seeing more of the same for the next six weeks or so. With catalogs now having online presences and the ability to reduce the time between online ordering and delivery to a handful of days (or less), the pitch for consumer dollars is continuous and unrelenting. This is particularly true for online shoppers like me. I have been tagged somewhere in the retailers’ little black book as being a gold star online customer. This means that I get all the emails with offers and all the printed catalogs.
In theory, I like that I learn about so many great companies and products. Unfortunately, I only get a few days into the onslaught of catalogs before I become too overwhelmed by the sheer volume to be able to effectively peruse them. When you add additional items online at the catalog’s site and the partner sites that each catalog sells your info to – well, be prepared to spend full days and even weeks in the hunt for the perfect gift that is out there in cyberspace somewhere. And therein is where online holiday shopping can go horribly wrong if not managed well. You may think you are saving yourself the time and stress of shopping in the actual brick and mortar stores by catalog and online shopping, but these days with all the access online to anything and everything globally via the internet I do believe you open yourself up to spending even more time shopping.
The days of taking your list and your Christmas shopping budget to one physical store location and buying things for everyone on your list are long gone. Now if you want to go to one storefront you could use Amazon (which is really a conglomeration of stores under one umbrella), but you better know what you are looking for as the number of items available via Amazon in any given category can be in the thousands. There are seemingly no limit to the options online.
I think that too many options can be problematic. I am not made for a world of never-ending choices. I want to get in and out – that is why I started shopping online. But people like me helped feed the monster and now online shopping is bigger than all of us. And the catalogs that go with promoting online shopping – well, those are collectively about all my mailbox can bear this time of year.
I think I may need to take a step back this year and just go “old school” shopping. Oh yes, me a list and a Christmas budget in our local brick and mortar stores. I won’t have unlimited options or the ability to search the globe for the lowest price, but I will likely save myself a whole lot of time. That should increase my holiday cheer dramatically.
Day one thousand two hundred and twenty-one of the new forty – obla di obla da