There are a lot of things I love about shopping online. I'm an introvert (no one ever believes that) and a homebody, and I like to use the running-around time I've saved doing more rewarding things like playing with my kids and gardening.
During the worst of Covid, I hardly ever stepped foot inside a store unless I was doing a story for The News. But, like everyone else, I got a taste of what it was like to live life without brick and mortar and – surprise, surprise – I missed it.
I'm not the only one. Support for brick-and-mortar stores has been uncommonly strong since the pandemic began. Now that I'm getting out into the stores more often, I've found there are things I like about shopping in person that I never realized before.
It turns out, there is hope. And some of the factors that put retailers under are the same ones bringing them back.
You see what you're spending. If you clean the receipts out of your purse and stack them together, it makes a teeny tiny book about why you're broke, notes humorist and author Paige Kellerman.
And it's true: Having all those little receipts pile up in your pockets and purse are tangible reminders of the money you spent and no longer have. It's not as easy to forget about purchases as it is when you're shopping online with the click of a button.
Instead of waiting to be reminded and remorseful until the end of the month when your bank statement comes out, those crumpled reminders are right there in your face whenever you go for your wallet.
You see what you're buying. This has always been a biggie for people. Even the most diehard online shoppers like to squeeze the Charmin before they pay for it.
Everyone knows the quality of Wish purchases is hilariously bad and that nothing ever arrives looking the way it did on the website. But even buying things online from a reputable company has its pitfalls. That cardigan may look like the perfect thickness to see you through an air conditioned summer in the office, but what are the odds that it actually will be?
How many times have you loaded up on options in the store only to leave the dressing room without finding a single thing that fits or feels right? If you can't find something after trying on two armfuls of clothing, how likely are you to hit the jackpot on your first try with a single option ordered online? No one wants try figuring out a new outfit two days before a wedding or job interview.
Ugh, and then there are the returns. When you don't get an opportunity to check something out in person, the likelihood that you'll have to return it goes up. And returns are even more annoying to deal with than having to go out to shop in the first place.
You see who you're supporting. When's the last time you hung out with Jeff Bezos?
Whether it's a small mom-and-pop shop staffed by its owner or hourly workers at a J.C. Penney, you get to meet the people your dollars are supporting. You get to see how your visits help create local jobs and keep storefronts occupied and that just feels good.