With online shopping, the FedEx driver is the new Santa Claus
“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away” — we’re talking back before email and the Internet — one of the highlights of my day was the arrival of the snail mail.
The postman didn’t have to ring twice at my house, I was usually looking out the window watching for him to come down the street.
I was a freelancer at the time and spent my days writing stuff and then sending it off to various publications in large brown envelopes.
In most cases, a few weeks later I would get a thin envelope back containing a form letter advising me that there was absolutely zero interest in my submission.
Of course, the response wasn’t always this cold. I once got a hand-scribbled note on the top of a rejection letter from a motorcycle magazine that said: “My boss says this sucks, but I’ve seen worse.” You can only imagine how this boosted my spirits.
Eventually, I got a full-time job at a newspaper and stopped freelancing. The mail took on less importance then, although the people who sent me bills might not have shared that view. If the postman wanted me, he had to lean on the doorbell.
I have now come full circle.
I now not only eagerly await the mailman, but the UPS and FedEx drivers as well.
I am hooked on online shopping.
I assume there are people disturbed by this revelation. Rest easy. This is not something to be concerned about. I have things under control. I’m on top of this. No worries.
How can you not be attracted to online shopping?
There is no going to the mall.
There is no trekking from car to entrance across a parking lot so hot it would dehydrate a camel.
There is no wandering from store to store in search of something no one carries, or no one has in the right shade, or size, or price.
There is no having to recross the Sahara, and get into a vehicle whose interior would be cooler if it were actually on fire.
Rather, you sit in the climate-controlled comfort of your own home, sip your coffee, tap, click, and scroll until you find exactly what you are looking for.
Admittedly, one of the drawbacks to online shopping is that you can’t examine an item up close, touch it, try it on, or try it out.
That noted, it is still a lot easier to send something back than to go through the Lawrence of Arabia mall experience.
Anyway, after you place your order, the fun part begins — waiting for it to arrive.
It is beginning to dawn on me that the appeal of online shopping in my case may have less to do with the buying and more to do with the delivering. It’s like every day is Christmas morning.
You order something.
You count down the days until it will arrive.
You track your shipment’s journey online in much the same way you once followed Santa’s progress via Doppler radar.
And then on the day it is scheduled to be delivered, you find yourself antsy with anticipation.
Granted, the squeal of brakes isn’t as quaint as the imagined prancing of hoofbeats on the roof. And the hardworking guy in the brown uniform is no match for the jolly fat man in red.
But the end game is the same … you excitedly tearing open a package.
Whether or not you actually need all these gifts to yourself is another matter entirely.
Jim Shea is a lifelong Connecticut resident and journalist. firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @jimboshea.