Will Retail Compete?

I had a pretty frustrating experience with retail shopping this week that reminded me why I do all of my shopping on line. Made me wonder if retail is even truly trying to compete with online shopping.

Saturday morning, I ran to the bank with my toddler. While for some, this would be a painful and frustrating experience, my toddler loves running errands. She loves going to the bank. So, we took care of our transaction and headed back to the car.

She begged not to go home.

She can be convinced to do a lot for a ride in the car. Like getting dressed.

I’d been planning to head home and order a Christmas present online, but I checked the Toys R Us website on my phone, and it said my “local” store had them in stock. The closest store is about twenty minutes away, but the toddler loves the ride, and I love the quiet.

So, we headed over there. Only, they didn’t have it in stock when we got there. Because of course they didn’t. A snotty floor attendant informs me of this, at which point, I showed him the website on my phone saying that they did, in fact, show it in stock on their site.

Biting back several expletives that I don’t want my toddler to parrot back to me, I took her to the mall which is right down the road from Toys R Us. I was going to pick up a Christmas ornament that JCPenny said they had in stock.

Only, at 9:45 am on a Saturday morning, JCPenny wasn’t open. Because who is out on a Saturday getting all of their errands done before taking one of their children to a friend’s birthday party then going over to see family for dinner?

No, just twice, because I couldn’t believe it the first time.

I am not waiting fifteen minutes outside in 34F/1C weather with a toddler. Or even without a toddler. Especially not when I can order the same thing from Amazon, with free shipping, and it’s $0.03 cheaper.

Finally, we swung by a cabinet store to get a special knob to spruce up a plain white desk. I wanted a sparkly knob to make it look less like furniture we put together, even if it totally was furniture we put together.

I’d done some perusing of the internet before going to the cabinet store, and I almost laughed myself and my toddler out of the store when they were charging $27 for the exact same knob, by the same maker, as one I’d found online at several different place for less than $10. That $10 included shipping.

All in, three stores and well over an hour of my life, and I came back with nothing I’d set out to get.

Much to my toddler’s chagrin, we went home at that point. I popped open my iPad, and less than fifteen minute later, I had the toy ordered, the Christmas ornament for the tree on its way, and the knob for the drawer bought.

Even when I want to support local stores, I’m reminded why so often I don’t. I either can’t afford to, they don’t have what I want, or they just aren’t open.


Anyone else have these kinds of struggle with retail lately?  Is it just me? Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by online shopping for so long?




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9 thoughts on “Will Retail Compete?

  1. I’m with you on this one. I hardly ever go into physical shops because online is so much more convenient, cheaper, and has better variety. Sorry, actual shops. If you want my business you need to up your game.

  2. Wow…I wonder if this is a sign of things to come here in Australia [when Amazon opens]?
    I’ve bought books from Amazon since the year dot, but I don’t think I’ve ever bought anything else, not even a Kindle, because I hate having to wait once I’ve made up my mind I want something.
    Not sure I like this future you’re describing. What about clothing? Or shoes? Don’t you need to try things on??

    1. I buy both online. Any place I buy clothes or shoes must have free shipping and a way to return for free. Many places do, so it’s not hard to find.

      Much easier, too. You can quickly sort shoes by color, material, heel height, size and brand. So, if you need a pair of navy low-heeled dress shoes, you can quickly see what’s available.

      Zappos, a favorite online shoe store of mine, has most orders to you in a one-two days. Amazon also offers a lot of stuff delivered same day now.

      I’ve found it to be a huge time saver, especially as one of my kids needs special shoes I can’t even find locally.

      1. I’ve only ever bought clothes online once and 2 out of the 4 were blah. I don’t know if they had a return policy or not – too inexperienced to know what to look for. I think that put me off. 🙁

  3. I find that I no longer shop in physical stores anymore–except grocery stores. I just browse through them when I do have time. That way, I’m not disappointed because I’m not expecting anything.

  4. Definitely with you on this one.
    I tried to buy a garden gate last weekend in a DIY store. They didn’t have any. What kind of DIY store doesn’t have garden gates? I ordered it online with free delivery from the comfort of my living room.
    The only physical shops I go to are discount shops, food shops, and the electronics store where my fiancee works (but only because he gets a hefty staff discount!)

    1. Frustrating, isn’t it? And they don’t even make it easy to get at the retail store either if they don’t have it. It’s literally just go on home and order it online!

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