2017-07-26 / Loose Ends

Life in Retail

Shopping for options
Susan Nienow

I love to shop. Not just for clothes – my favorite shops have interesting antiques or used items, preferably some garden things. Retail is a tough business, and the big question these days is, “How do I shop?”

A neighbor swears by Amazon Prime and loves having dog food delivered to her door. On the other hand, a bargain purse bought on Prime Day or whatever they call it turned out to be worth exactly what she paid for it.

I order my books for book club on Amazon because they offer used books. I like paper books, not electronic books, and I’m not very good at remembering to return books to the library on time.

Some people I know order all their Christmas gifts on Amazon. Either they hate shopping or they have a lot of gifts to buy and are short on time so it suits them. I don’t buy that many gifts anymore and prefer to see what I buy. We just joined Amazon Prime but aren’t very good at using it.

I needed several things from the drug store the other day and debated whether to go to a discount store or my usual drug store. I finally decided on the latter, and to use manufacturers’ coupons. It took a lot longer, though, because I had to figure out whether it was cheaper to use the 20-percent-off coupon or the buy-two-and-get-$3-off-and-$3-off-your-next purchase coupon. If it weren’t for my mathematically inclined other half, I would still be there shuffling coupons.

Shopping should be easy. Don’t they want our money? Why do I have to be smart about it? Now I have to decide before I go out if I want to pay cash or use a credit card. Checks are passé, though I do miss them. If I didn’t have the money in the bank, I didn’t buy. Now credit is the thing because I never have the right amount of cash.

The advantage of shopping in the here and now instead of cyberspace is that I can try things on. When clothes shopping, I take at least two sizes of each item into the dressing room with me. And that’s with brands I know. If it’s a brand I don’t know, I might have to take three sizes back with me. If I’m having a good day, one of them will fit.

Of course, if nothing fits, it’s cheaper. My other half doesn’t mind if I can’t find anything to buy. On the other hand, I am a very good shopper. It is one of my better talents.

Shopping on the internet is one way to get mail! Nobody writes letters or even sends cards much anymore. The mail is mostly ads – some with coupons. That’s why it’s exciting to get a used book I ordered.

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