Shopping and serendipity

I’ve been trying to get ahead on holiday shopping. I’m likely spending the latter half of December orchestrating a move, so I figure it’s better to have this crossed off the list.

As I mentioned last week, I was having some real trouble figuring out what to buy the 12-year-old. I didn’t want to get him only video games.

I went to the “better” Target yesterday (slightly farther from the house, but more merchandise) thinking I would mostly round out what I’d gotten the 6-year-old. But, while there, I realized that the genius minds at toy and game and general consumer product companies don’t want to write off the 12-year-old boy market either. There were all kinds of options! I wound up getting a number of non-screen things I’m quite happy about and that I think he’ll love.

(Sorry for the vagueness for those looking for ideas…my kids sometimes read the blog!)

Anyway, it was a reminder to me of the trade-offs of in-person and online shopping. I love online shopping. That is how I will do most of my holiday purchasing. It is so efficient to choose presents while, say, nursing a toddler. Driving all the way to the not-closest Target took a fair amount of time. Even maneuvering the cart was kind of a challenge since little kid toys are often quite big (and big kid toys are small…go figure!) On the other hand, it feels harder, online, to discover things you didn’t know you were looking for. I think there is a similar trade off with reading news online vs. reading a “real” newspaper. I read the New York Times online and we get the Wall Street Journal delivered. I definitely read more random stuff in the WSJ. Then again, there are a great many days when I don’t read the WSJ because there was never a good time to sit down with the print newspaper. I almost always glance at the online headlines.

So it’s probably good to get a balance of both. But I will be trying not to go to physical stores on the Friday after Thanksgiving. That day always just seems crazy….

Photo: Many packages. Though I’m pretty sure this Amazon delivery is a pair of immediately-needed kid shoes, and not a Christmas present. 

3 thoughts on “Shopping and serendipity

  1. I enjoy reading the “real” newspaper as well. In fact, I read the digital replica version of our national paper in Canada for the very reason you pointed out. Not only do I enjoy reading the “random stuff” but I recognize this represents stories and points-of-view that may otherwise never cross my radar. Kind of scary that in the world of newsfeeds populated by algorithms, by reading the news only online you risk being exposed only to stories and viewpoints that are indicative of your past activity and interests.

  2. YES, I totally agree. Online shopping is great, if I know exactly what I’m looking for. But I absolutely find that when I’m in a store and browsing I can find great gift ideas I totally wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. So for this reason, I don’t like the idea of all the stores going away or a “completely” virtual world.

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