Is Online Shopping A Good Thing?

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TinCup

Senior Member
Nov 14, 2019
307
849
Indian Ocean
Not just for Pipes/Tobacco but overall. We’ve had it for a number of years now, what’s your opinion?

I think where there’s no physical product involved it’s generally a good thing (electronic files/TV streaming etc) but I can’t quite see that the positives outweigh the negatives yet when there is a physical product

I think for large scale one-off purchases, online is good (but Ironically I think we’re less likely to buy this type of thing online) however I believe that for our consumables & things we use every day then online shopping is not the way forward

Sure my choice of potential suppliers has soared as has the range & options of any product I’m interested in but it seems the hassles have soared too with stresses and worries about deliveries, incorrect items, delays, returns, customer service levels.
It’s not that long ago I never used to buy something without the product being in my hand. I can touch it, feel it smell it etc etc, thanks v much here’s my money. My choice was naturally limited to whatever is in the store be it 2, 5 or 10 (even none) Do I even need 200 of xyz to choose from (obviously the answer is no I don’t ‘need’ it) but do I even ‘want’ 200 to choose from, well after a little thought it’s a resounding 'no' here too, I don’t really want 200 to choose from (ignorance was indeed bliss)

Generally when there’s 5 or 10 to choose from I have to dismiss 4 or 9 as unsuitable or not quite as good as... Now with 200 I’m still only buying 1 so that’s 199 I have to spend time dismissing & even if I bulk up & buy 5 I still have to eliminate 194
I’m spending more time rejecting items not to buy online than I ever spent buying in person, so it’s not as ‘quick & easy’ as they’d have us believe

& to tobacco… with just a few brands available locally & having to wait to try others when you go out of town or on vacation, was it really that bad? Do you really need the option of sourcing 200 different kinds while sitting on the can, is your life that enriched, are the savings that great that it’s worth the loss of a local store

Jeez I clearly remember the store I got my first shirt/tie for my first day of work, will any of the folks starting work next Monday remember their purchase in 30-40 years?

Maybe it’s just nostalgia but I miss the knowledgeable 40 something bloke or woman behind a counter where they’d been for 20+ years and would sell you 8 loose countersunk 30mm x-head screws from a bucket instead of having to buy a pack of 25 or 4 yards of rope/cable instead of pre-packed 50mtr roll or weigh out the tobacco or candy or adjust those trousers before you buy them or whatever it is

(that same person is now running round a warehouse the size of 10 football pitches with a gps pedometer attached to their ass that makes an 86db bleeping noise when they visit the toilets for longer than 4 minutes because the website promised delivery 800 miles away in 37 hours and the whole internet will bloody know about it if its late… just so it can be returned 3 days later because they don’t fit/don’t like the colour etc etc… Is that really what we imagined when they touted online shopping to us?

Yes for those with limited mobility and other difficulties you can see plenty of benefits in online shopping (although in the past these people were helped by friends & neighbours anyway and that doesn’t happen anymore either)

I fear as a society we may have already gone too far in decimating the stores and shops from our towns leaving just retail corporations & cities to shop in after traveling 50miles

? Happy New Year
 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
7,725
39,991
It's rather irrelevant how I feel about it. I'd love to have a B&M within 15 minutes of my house whose shelves were stocked and over following with pipe tobacco. That is fantasy.

It's also economics. Volume purchasing power. The efficiency of a warehouse vs a store. There are numerous factors that make Amazon type enterprises a necessity.
 

TinCup

Senior Member
Nov 14, 2019
307
849
Indian Ocean
It's rather irrelevant how I feel about it. I'd love to have a B&M within 15 minutes of my house whose shelves were stocked and over following with pipe tobacco. That is fantasy.

It's also economics. Volume purchasing power. The efficiency of a warehouse vs a store. There are numerous factors that make Amazon type enterprises a necessity.

I posted to read opinions & thoughts of others, so it’s not really irrelevant how you feel… unless you believe your opinion is of no value, which it terms of turning the clock back I totally understand

Re economics, when I was 18 I had a monthly disposable income and I spent it, 35 years on its exactly the same, personal economics haven’t changed.
Corporate economics however is another matter, and while none of us were forced to use the likes of Amazon, Walmart etc we flocked to them like sheep and (I think) most of us hate ourselves just a little bit for doing so & being sucked into a kind of addicted dependency to their retail empires, which is why we like to bitch & moan when things go a little wrong ?
 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
9,359
6,684
I'm at the age where I know what I want. So I don't need to "shop", which I detest doing. I go where what I want is and buy it. If I need to go online, I do so. I never have shopped for a vehicle. I go to my dealer, relate my desires , look at the available stock and either buy or submit an order. No muss, no fuss.

Certain food stuffs are not available in the local stores. If Amazon carries such, I order. Beef I order from a ranch in Nebraska (Not Omaha Steaks!). Good beef is unknown in Anchorage. Certain clothes, not available locally, I order through the mail from known retailers. Apple I buy from Apple. Nikon I purchase only through Nikon and one other, particularly esteemed, retailer. I do not shop at the local pipe shop as the hours are inconvenient. If he desires my moneys he'll need to open before 11am. I've finished my chores by that hour and am at work. I'm obviously not part of their target demo.

I do not buy products with the intent of "assisting" a local retailer stay in business. If the store offers the product I want, provides sterling service, I'll buy locally. But put a clerk in front of me who cannot count change back or answer a simple question ... I'll not return. As long as operations like Amazon fill a need, they'll do just fine.

Locally owned stores need to be agile and the owners well educated with moneys in the bank. "Good Ol' Tom" down the road at the general store ... his days are gone. Just like Sears and Montgomery Wards are relics of the past. The local book store better be offering something more than just books.
 

TinCup

Senior Member
Nov 14, 2019
307
849
Indian Ocean
Why? Wal-Mart is a one stop shop for just about anything. Food, clothing, pharmacy, corrective lenses, hair cuts, ammunition, etc. No hate here, less driving=less gas used.

Oh it definitely has its benefits but its getting closer to having all our eggs in one basket, so if anything happens to the one or two big boys or they make business/strategic decisions we don't agree with, we'll have no independent retailers or alternatives to turn to
 
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gervais

Preferred Member
Sep 4, 2019
1,342
3,738
37
Ontario
I don’t have the free time in life these days to go “shopping” around every local store to get what I need. If I can buy it online from a reputable place, I’d do that any day over driving an hour into the city, try to find a parking spot, risking my kids having complete meltdowns in the store, then driving back home. I’ll shop stores when I’m retired/bored and have nothing to do with my time. Love online shopping
 
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cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
27,867
44,415
Helena, Alabama
Cha cha cha changes... neither good nor bad, just different. Things are changing all the time. Good guys of today will be the villains of history, and people will make fun of us in the future for our stupid fairy tale beliefs, even if they are based on science or tradition.

Walmart killed all of the downtowns across America. Try finding a shoe store in most cities. Home Depot killed the local hardware store, both making more people make way less money than before the big box boom. Now, even more people will make less money as online vendors kill the rest of the stores and enslave so many with even less pay. Good bad, neither.

Most online vendors were wholesalers. This has happened in every area. The wholesalers who supply the small hobby, craft, specialty store, undercuts his own B&M support to undercut him on prices and stealing his customer bases. This is why many B&M owners spit in the floor every time one of our beloved online retailers is mentioned. They've set up a scenario where the B&M's can't compete, because the B&Ms would have to pay the same prices as the online guy shopping in his bathrobe from home. So, when the bathrobe guy finally goes to the B&M, he is outraged at sticker shock. You can see this every day on here.

Good bad, just different. 20 years from now everything will be illegal except tofu and do it yourself lobotomies. And, we will all be living 50 people to a house to pay the internet bills. puffy
 

perdurabo

Preferred Member
Jun 3, 2015
3,298
1,516
As far as most perishables, no. But everything else, yes! I need Marmite! Online order. I need face soap! Online order, automatic ordering on that one! (Wife) Most books, Online! If the local used book store doesn’t have it. Tv! Online (Kids Christmas) Pipe Tobacco, Online! Mainly because the Bastard that sells tobacco around here will not search for product out side of the vendor magazine he has. Lazy DB. So Fuck’em, Online! I could go on and on.

Online is the way of the future and Congress(Protectionist ScumBags) will only stop it as far as the market will let them. The market will speak and the tobacco scare will disappear. (Save your tobacco is on the way out the door, small constituency speech for the grand kids) Tobacco and all its forms are here to stay. Thank you very much Vaporizers and Weed. You may have to be 30 years old to buy tobacco, but those scumbags in Washington will always be sticking Cigars... well you get the pic. ****Unendorsed Rant of the Day!

Online is free market at its best. Some tweaks here and there with taxes and other odds and ends, which will either go away or be streamlined. But there is no stopping it. And I truly believe it will free economies around the world. Brick and Mortar stores will not disappear, there will always be a need for them. They’ll just change, and adapt. It’s a good thing. Life is change. Organic change is a special thing, forced/pointless change is the issue most have.
 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
27,867
44,415
Helena, Alabama
My wife has been using Shipt to get the groceries more and more lately. But, this doesn't compete with the B&M grocery stores, because it uses the local grocers. I would never have imagined that one day we would be ordering groceries from our phones and having them delivered within an hour. Hell, I miss grocers having actual butchers that will custom cut your meats from an actual carcass in the back room. Now, all a butcher does is slice a frozen loin or shoulder for you.
 
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cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
27,867
44,415
Helena, Alabama
Oh, and medications. The last time I took my wife to the doctor, the medication that was prescribed just a few minutes before was waiting on her at our front door.
 

irishearl

Preferred Member
Aug 2, 2016
1,653
2,197
Kansas
I live in a small town. Certainly, for tobacco purchases, online is the only way I can go, but do hate what it's done to the economic health of downtown, small town America. As noted, there are some products I simply prefer to handle in person to determine if I wish to buy it. Certainly, between WalMart and online, it killed the little shop my wife ran for about 14 years.
 

kola

Preferred Member
Apr 1, 2014
990
1,343
A tin costs me about 11 bucks online, my closest B&M costs 20-24 bucks - for same tin.
 
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Nov 23, 2019
179
342
Latest exsample.. the wife takes a certain otc probiotics. The local groceries and cvs will occasionally have the correct stuff at over a dollar a pill. Checked Amazon they had the exact product at sixty cents a pill. Ordered mid afternoon this past Sunday and Prime guy handed it to me in our driveway before noon on monday.
 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
36,670
40,148
My wife has mobility problems but goes valiantly on so we can get out and about. However, a lot of the shopping she does online, whether Christmas or other gifts, groceries, household goods, or almost anything. As a practical matter, online shopping is here to stay until the next big tech innovation supplants it. I still prefer to buy merchandise in person when possible, so I can consider the alternatives on the shelf and heft and handle things if possible. This is partly generational, the way I spent half my life shopping. And online shopping certainly has a long list of drawbacks even when it is working as designed, which it often isn't. With pipes and tobaccos, online is revolutionary allowing people with zero other access to pipes and blends a chance to shop widely and well, for products and price. I think it is about the best online shopping arena of any product category, but it costs us our wonderful pipe shops, except for a few magnificent survivors. So is online shopping good? Yes, and bad. It's a human invention, and therein lies the contradiction.
 
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shanez

Preferred Member
Jul 10, 2018
4,018
15,288
47
Las Vegas
I practically live online. There are things I won't buy online such as perishables but there are so many things I can't get locally.

Just like tobacco, I buy the majority of my alcohol online for the simple fact that I can't get what I want locally, or the local place has a ridiculous price. This isn't some big box vs mom & pop thing either. The local big box often has a particular bottle for $134 yet one of their neighboring state locations has it for $99. Even Walmart can vary prices and availability within town.

Online shopping just works for me. Through a variety of search methods, some as simple as doing the google, I can find what I want and often for the best price. Another really, really, big plus is I don't have to go into a store. I can avoid road rage when behind the wheel but behind a cart is another matter. If people drove like they shop we'd all be in hospital.

Another online shopping experience I like is to shop locally and then just go pick up my order. See above about cart rage...? The less time I spend in stores the better.

I agree with Warren. I know what I want. I don't "shop". I just go get what I want or I order it.
 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
14,619
21,785
SoCal
jrs457.wixsite.com
Sometimes online is a good thing. There are items that I will not buy online, like shoes, groceries, or other products that I need to handle and evaluate physically before I purchase. I need to know how a shoe fits before I buy it and I don't want someone else picking my fruits and vegetables.

And there are all manner of unscrupulous companies with faked up approval ratings by rating services that don't verify their data. So you need to be careful, do some diligence and read the fine print, or online can become a very bad thing.

And I clearly don't give a crap about my fellow man, since I'm a Prime member and those super duper delivery promises are fueled by packaging and distribution centers that are run like forced labor camps. As long as I'm convenienced ,what do I care about that faceless horde being abused? When they stop being cheaper than machines, they'll get dumped.

I buy a few things online that I can't find locally. Otherwise I shop at local stores, big box stores, small stores, etc. One thing that online shopping can't yet provide, despite all the clever algorithms being pumped out by socially backward nerds, is an actual personal experience, one where you get to know and interact with actual breathing people, one where the proprietor. When that disappears something far better than online efficiency will be lost.
 
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ron123

Senior Member
Jan 28, 2015
482
817
Park Ridge, IL
Most of what I buy is online. Amazon and eBay being my two biggest downfalls. I should curb my online shopping spending, but it's so damn easy to click and buy 15172

As far as Walmart goes, if Rain Man was made today, Dustin Hoffman would probably say Walmart sucks, instead of Kmart. I won't even go in one because nothing or practically nothing they carry is made in America.
 
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