What’s New is Still What’s Old

This year is really an anomaly. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a prepared person. I buy cards and gifts for birthdays a month in advance. Baby and wedding showers are purchased and wrapped a week before the event.

Christmas is where I really excel. I make a list (and check it twice) for every person I intend to buy for in January. I also set an overall gift budget. Throughout the year, whenever I spot a perfect gift, I buy it. I’m usually finished shopping by October.

Not this year.

It’s embarrassing to admit this, but Christmas caught me by surprise. It’s Thanksgiving in just two days and I could swear that we just had our Halloween Cookie Decorating Competition a couple of weeks ago. Where has time flown?

So, while ill this weekend, I spent time surfing the internet to look for both gift ideas and purchasing sources for this year’s gifts.

Ugh. How time-consuming to do all of this in a short time span. The only thing saving my friends and family from Gift Card Christmas is the mini-meltdown in the retail sector.

But I did realize something while visiting one shop’s site after another. In reality, I was shopping in 2008 just like I shopped in 1989.

Sure, I’m using the internet and that wasn’t around (at least not in its current iteration) when I started university. But seriously, how is shopping online that different than shopping from a catalog?

It’s certainly more eco-friendly.

But think about it. Catalogs and websites allow companies to stock a wider variety of goods without being subject to the whims of particular markets or the need to carefully edit shop floor selections.

It’s the catalog, but even better. I can look at multiple views of an item, read reviews by users and literally buy an item from anywhere in the world. If I can’t find something, I can have it custom made for me – take Etsy, PSA Essentials, Blurb or Spreadshirt for example. The only limitation to my selection is finding a provider’s site.

The shake-up in the retail sector doesn’t doom the world of shopping as we know it, though maybe it does mean an emphasis shift from “one store serves everyone” big-box mentality back to well-edited brick-and-mortar stores and a vast catalog-like online selection.

I love it! The old is new…and improved!

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