Researchers are expecting many of us to do our shopping online this year for Christmas. Cyber Monday has continued to increase online revenue in the past few years and is expected to do so again this year. In fact, local stores are so worried their numbers will be down on Black Friday that they are already “leaking” their ads to entice us.
Should I wait in line and hope to get a great price or stay at home and shop conveniently in my living room? I realized that for me the problem with local versus internet shopping lies with choices. For example, I decided that I needed a new stapler for my office. Since I had a coupon and wanted to see several “choices” in person, I ran into my local office store before school let out. Thinking this would be an easy and quick decision, I only allowed myself a few minutes. Wrong.
I did not realize how many differences there could be in a stapler. Yes, I did say a stapler -- that tool that holds your papers together with a little silver piece of twisted wire.
Did I want one that could staple fifteen pages, 20 pages, or more? Should I choose the classic stapler or the ergonomically designed stapler that felt good in my hand? Was it important to get a “quiet” stapler that did not make much noise or less effort stapler that did not need as much pressure. Then, it came to color. Not only was there classic black, there was polished silver, shiny chrome, red, lime green, and even purple. Why does choosing a stapler have to be so difficult?
Isn’t that the same way with the Christmas rush Black Friday / Cyber Monday shopping? First, we really don’t know what to buy. Should we choose something practical that has a useful purpose? Should it be something fun that will make the person happy? Or, should it be something totally off the wall that he would not expect. How well do we know our recipient? What would he really want?
Then, we just don’t know where to buy. When it comes to items like electronics and media, there are so many choices. If you are like me, I tend to look at the ads to see what is on sale and then check to see if that item would fit anyone’s gift list. And, when I finally see something I like, I still tend to check if another store offers a better sale price. What if it goes on sale even cheaper?
Sure. Some of those in store deals really are great. But, then there are other issues. The crowds (Do you really want to spend Thanksgiving night in a tent next to Target?) The availability (Is it already sold out?) The time restraints (“Only available 7 am-10 am.”) The passes (Some stores issue numbered passes to all of the people and then draw ten numbers to enter the store first.) The selection (Which store would I have the best success at finding the sale item still in stock?)
I have some friends who ALWAYS go for the Black Friday deals. I even tried it once. Yes, once. It wasn’t worth it for me. I would rather pay full price than go through that ordeal again.
I guess I am one of those statistics. I won’t be at the local stores this year. I will be at home -- coffee in hand and taking my time to surf the internet for the best choices. Perhaps it will be simpler than selecting a stapler since I can “compare” online. I doubt it.
I'd love to hear which choice you prefer -- local shopping or online. By the way, I got my stapler. Not the color I wanted, but the style is just fine. If I had shopped online, I may have been able to get both...