Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Online Shopping

I'm what advertisers call an "early adopter," meaning I'll try something right away. I'll experiment. Marketers LOVE this quality. If you think about it, you'll understand why, because it's very expensive to convince people to try something new if you have to work at it repeatedly. If you get to a customer like me who sees something and says, "hmmm... ok... well... I'll give that a try." Advertisers, of course, assume I will love bacon filled cheesy poofs or whatever it is - all they have to do is get me to try it - and if I'll do that the first time I see the product, it's so much easier for them. I'm kind of the equivelant of a cheap date in this regard.

OK... all of that to say... I've been shopping online for a long time. Pretty much since I could shop online. I've bought books, jewelry, makeup, clothes, kitchen widgets and dozens of other things. In the last couple of days I've bought eyeglass frames. Well, at least I've tried to. Sunday I bought some from one place and Monday they refunded my money saying the frames weren't available. Well, duh, get them off your freaking page then. Today I ordered them from another company. I'm hoping they actually send them to me.

Why the sudden interest? Because I broke my glasses 2-3 weeks ago and while the emergency repair with crazy glue has held well, and isn't really noticeable unless you look carefully, (so it's very wise of me to mention here so everyone in my real life world who reads the blog will be looking for the repair now) I would like some new ones. These lenses are not very old so it makes sense to get the same frames - although I did order a different color. Anyway, we'll see if I can actually purchase them through this business. They are in the business of selling eyeglass frames, so you'd think I could, but history has proven there is not necessarily a connection between those two things.

This might beg the question of why I would order eyeglasses online instead of just getting them from the usual place. I always get them at my eye doctor's office. It's convenient, it's nice to try on different ones, it's just always been the way I did it. But, this time, I checked online on a lark and the frames are about $50 cheaper - the exact same frame - the company and number is printed inside the frame. However, if I can't find a place to actually get them, perhaps I'll decide it's worth the money to have the doctor's office try to track them down somewhere.

The whole episode has made me think about how our world has changed. Used to be no one had any options about where to buy things. You went to your local store and that was it. Maybe you traveled to a neighboring town, or occasionally ordered from a catalog, but you were largely dependent on the local merchant to have what you wanted, when you wanted it. Naturally, there are some obvious flaws with this system.

Now, we can order all kinds of products, but we still rely on local people to provide services to us. But, it seems few businesses have changed with the times and are still working on the outdated model where we have no idea what things really cost. The world is changing constantly.
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