Shopping in the time of Internet

“As the present now

Will later be past

The order is rapidly fadin’

And the first one now

Will later be last

For the times they are a-changin’”

Truer words were never sung. Nothing remains the same from say a decade or even 5 years ago. The device fitting on our palms is now the window through which we connect with the world. It has changed the way we interact, the way we travel and perhaps most importantly in the way we shop. Shopping in the time of internet has taken altogether a bizarre twist in the last few years. From the innocent sounding travel tickets & books, we quickly made our peace with clothes & footwear; we have ever since been broadening our minds to embrace shopping for lingerie, vegetables, furniture and the likes. This sure is a great convenience to customers without any of the usual shopping hassles. But wouldn’t you all agree that it really was the small and big hassles alike that made the whole experience more personal and worthwhile.

Gleaming window displays, decked up mannequins, ready to please salesman, the aisles of plenty, the shelves of bounty are all seemingly losing relevance in the era of “at-home” shopping and convenience of door delivery brought to you buy the giants of the e-commerce world. While the convenience is unquestionable, the impact of experiential elements inside a store is also unparalleled.

These days we don’t feel a thing after buying the most expensive things online, but, we will all vividly remember the wonderful feeling when we bought the little things at a store. The shopkeeper would somehow always know what we wanted (even when we didn’t), the endless bargaining and joyous victory after securing a minimal discount, the power of being indignant and saying “we will never shop here again”. Maybe all we miss today are the friendly faces of the shopkeepers and not some digital assistants on these websites who have a “never-before ever” sale ALL the time. We miss shopping. The real kind. Miss the days when a whole day was dedicated to shopping. The bus/car rides to the stores, the anticipation & discussions, the hotel lunches and an ice cream to celebrate the end of shopping.  Shopping was an event in itself. The more the world shrunk through the internet, the more the distance has grown between the shopkeeper and his customers. Although we may hate shopkeeper for setting a higher price, it always helped that he asked how your parents were doing or inquired about your exam results, though we may hate the traffic & crowds outside, it is having survived these to buy that item which made shopping as a wholesome experience exhilarating.

Nostalgia is a bittersweet thing, and probably the most cliched of all longings. But, sometimes it’s quite all right to succumb to this nostalgia. Pick your shopping bags then, go shop in a store next to you, rejoice in the wonderful afterglow later! Make shopping count, create these memories that matter!