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.

toddlerroadtrip
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?

StoreNotOpen
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?

 

 

 

Five Things I Learned as a "Professional" Writer

I was recently fortunate enough to have three days where the kids were in daycare, and I was home from work. DH and I decided that we didn’t want the girls to completely get out of their routine over the holiday season, and he was fine with me spending these days getting some house stuff done and writing.

So, for three days, I got to spend most of my time writing. Here’s what I learned:

1. Errands Take Longer Than You Think – Among the things I needed to do during these three days were a variety of errands. I was home, so I agreed to do them all. Having no idea how long it can take to go to the bank, buy cat food, and get dinner fixings, I set out to get them done in less than an hour so I could start writing. Only to find the bank doesn’t open until nine. The pet store at ten. I learned really fast getting everything out of the way right after dropping the girls off was about as likely as finding a unicorn in my driveway holding a million dollars.

2. It’s Lonely – I am an introvert by nature, but being home alone all day really tests that. I found myself keeping iTunes on at all times, and eventually reaching out to others through Twitter. Sad, I know. But there it is.

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3. Distractions Abound – The internet is normally not much of a distraction for me, but then, I only have an hour a day to write. Easy enough to turn off distractions for that amount of time. A whole day? Suddenly, a whole lot harder.

4. Timers Need Not Apply – My first two days, I foolishly listened to advice that recommended setting timers for productivity and break time (50 minutes or so of writing followed by 10 minutes of doing stuff). This was hugely detrimental to me as I could sometimes write well over 50 minutes, and 10 minutes was sometimes too long and other times not long enough of a break period.

5. The Joy of “The Zone” – When you have carved out an hour a day to write, you guard that hour jealously and write during it no matter what. But when you have a whole day?  There is this magical zone, and once in it, you can do amazing things. No children to pull you out of it, no spouse talking about important things. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish. Or how much you can cut.

 

How about you?  You ever have a day or three just to write?  How did it work for you?