Friday, April 4, 2008

A store-free shopping season?

Due to geographical constraints, Mr. Dimes and I are planning on avoiding brick-and-mortar stores as much as humanly possible this holiday season. Instead, we're going to be purchasing all gifts online and shipping them to the intended recipients. The lone exception to this rule will be going to stores to shop for one another. Hopefully we'll have success with this plan. There are several reasons for doing this:
  • We live in a geographic black hole with few well-respected retail outlets. The nearest good bookstore is 20 miles away, and it's an hour drive to a decent mall. Anything of higher quality than Sears or Target can offer will have to be purchased at an online retailer anyway, so why not shop for everything with one?
  • We simply can't afford to go and visit the family this year. We live too far away, and round trip holiday airfare will set us back at least $1500. It would be twice as much if we went to visit both sides of the family.
  • Even if we did travel to see them, do you know what a tremendous pain it is to try and get gifts through security? You can't travel with wrapped packages, and while checked bags are routinely pilfered, it gets worse right around the holidays. I would think it would be highly likely that any gift in its original packaging would be more likely to find its way onto eBay than under my in-laws Christmas tree.
  • Who likes to go shopping anyway? Too many obnoxious shoppers, picked-over merchandise, and endless loops of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra are enough to drive me into a frenzy. Toss in some obnoxious perfume or an indecisive husband and I'd happily rather take the whole thing online. Besides, it's a LOT easier to track spending when you don't have to schlep receipts and merchandise all over the mall.
I used to be a big fan of gift cards until it occurred to me that their purchase just passes the task of shopping from the giver to the recipient. That's not very nice! I'm going out of my way to try and avoid them this year, and I hope not to receive too many unless they can be used online, since they won't be easy to redeem.

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