Shopping in real life takes more time than browsing the internet but, if you ask me, it’s time well spent.
I was in high school in the early 2000s and vividly remember cell phones replacing beepers and home computers becoming the norm. It was a weird in-between time.
My friends and I had one foot firmly in the new age of digital technology — we learned basic coding to change the look and music on our MySpace pages, we spent hours chatting on AIM, we mastered t9 texting — and one foot in the unplugged eras of high schoolers before us. We were fully hooked on the internet and flip phones, but if you needed us on the weekends, you’d find us at the mall.
Most of the time, we were just hanging out, hoping to run into our crush. Of course, there were times when we actually shopped, and it was so much fun. Amid gossiping and giggling, we’d come out of a dressing room posing in a new skirt or shirt, try on ridiculous dresses we’d never wear, and raid Claire’s for the latest “it” accessory. There are tangible perks of shopping IRL, too — like going home with items that we’d been able to touch, feel, and try on.
In the years since high school, and like millions of others, I purchased new outfits, homewares, and furniture with a swift few clicks on my laptop. But now I’m going old-fashioned: nothing beats shopping in person.
Why leave the comfort of my couch and trade my sweatpants for leaving-the-house clothes for something I can have delivered? I’m glad you asked.
I have yet to order a pair of jeans online that fit correctly, and the quality of the pieces I buy via a website continues to dwindle. (I also shudder to think of the carbon emissions and waste I’ve created from the sheer returns of it all.)
Shopping in person eliminates these pain points. At the store, it’s easy to determine if the sweater I’ve been eyeing online is as thick as advertised — or whether the material is itchy. I can figure out with a quick glance if the side table I’ve been coveting would fit my space and if the wood is real or a flimsy alternative. I can chat with a store associate about the company’s ethos, sourcing, and environmental and social initiatives or ask them to help me find exactly what I’m looking for.
Plus, retail stores often offer discounts you won’t find online. Recently, I spent a Saturday morning hunting for holiday decorations with a girlfriend. When we stepped inside our first stop, bright red, 40% off all Christmas (in-store only) signs gleamed in our eyes. Our trip scored us a helluva deal. Not only that, my friend was able to determine the light-up garland she wanted was a lot more plasticy and cheap than it appeared on the brand’s website.
Aside from a great shopping day, the excursion gave us an opportunity to spend time together. We laughed, we were silly, we said “that’s cute” at least 100 times, and we went home with warm hearts and sweet memories.
The mall I once knew might be a thing of the past, but if you’re looking for a dose of nostalgia, want to lessen your impact on the planet, or just need quality time with a friend, try shopping in person — I promise it’ll be worth your while.
Read more: How to Make Friends
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