Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Great Debate

In-person vs. online

A few weeks ago, I had a most traumatic and contradictory experience: I went to a mall and I hated it. 

To start, let me say that I've always found my excitement for shopping, in any duration, to be similar to my excitement for a holiday. If I had to name my top five holidays, including shopping, from top to bottom, it would be as follows: my birthday, Christmas, shopping, Thanksgiving, New Years.

I've prided myself on being an excellent, if long-winded, shopper. I'm not often deterred by crowds (although I'll never brave Black Friday in person) and have excellent stamina – perfect for rifling through racks, slipping into outfits and spending 90% of the day standing. 

I've tried to examine my unfortunate experience from multiple angles. Maybe I wasn't in the mood. Maybe it was the post-Fourth of July weekend sales that brought entirely too many people to the mall, bringing about that dull headache of annoyance every time you realize you'll have to wait in a line for the dressing rooms, then the checkout. 

But I was in the mood. And, like I said, crowds don't generally bother me. It seems every year I'm out shopping in the brief week between Christmas day and New Years. (And that, my friends, takes patience.)

So what was it? 

My blissful veil of ignorance was pulled back, revealing a number of things that have perhaps changed my view of in-person shopping forever. Going to a mall reminds me of everything that is wrong America: that we are fat, terribly dressed and like to blatantly disregard rules (since when has it become acceptable to walk on the wrong side of the supposed shopping-street, cut in line or indefinitely block off that one section of the rack I'd like to have a look at?).

My (and many others', I presume) preferred method of consumption has now, and possibly forever, shifted to the ever-massive plunders of the World Wide Web. I've always been a huge fan of online shopping, because what's more fun that sitting on the couch with a cup of tea, quickly converting your bank account into incoming packages filled with personally picked presents?

It can be argued that shipping costs and the possibility of something not fitting or not looking as it did in an online picture are deterrents for shopping online. I agree with that. What must be realized is there's a tradeoff that must be made, and it's that convenience has a price (usually, $7.99). 

Fortunately, most websites offer free returns, and many free shipping (shout out to Shopbop, Piperlime, Zappos and Nordstrom). Another plus: if Neiman's doesn't have your desired size in that Equipment blouse you've been staring through the screen at for weeks, just hop on over to Saks, Bergdorf, Bloomingdales, Net-A-Porter or Nordstrom. You're bound to find it somewhere.

I'm sure you've experienced the harried excitement while awaiting a package to land on your doorstep. Not much is more satisfactory than tracking your package from "origin scan" to "out for delivery." (Random facts: Gilt ships from Louisville, Kentucky, J.Crew ships from Roanoke, Virginia and Shopbop ships from Middleton, Wisconsin.) And once it's out for delivery, there's almost nothing that gets me home from work or class faster. 

Our entire lives are being transferred to the Internet. Friendships, correspondence, photo albums, money management, ordering food, watching movies and TV shows, reading newspapers and magazines and any kind of shopping you could think of. I hate the word literally, but we literally do not have to leave our homes (or couches) to do anything. 

So please. Sit back, relax and join me while I online shop.

Photo: Interview Magazine, March 2013


  1. I'm with you..I have grown tired of the mall and enjoy online shopping. Plus, the excitement that comes from getting a packages in the mail gives me the warm and fuzzes.

  2. I much prefer shopping online over the hassle of dealing with people and crowds, but I find it difficult to guess at the right size when trying something new. I'm really excited to see that a lot of sites are offering more info in regard to sizing and measurements - Boden even offers garment measurements for each piece!!! That being said, I'm a sucker for free shipping. There's nothing that drives me more crazy than finding a great sale and then spending more on shipping than the actual item!


  3. ehhehe, I always hated the mall. Online shopping is complete bliss!!****


  4. you are such a wonderful writer!!!!! so talented!


  5. It depends on my mood whether I prefer online or "live" shopping.


Thanks for taking the time to comment!