Pete Davison: Shop Shop

Posted on June 4, 2011 by

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Shopping’s a bit rubbish in the 21st century, isn’t it? You have to drive all the way somewhere, pay a billion pounds to park and then walk around a bunch of shops that don’t necessarily have the thing you’re looking for in the first place and you just know that you should have phoned ahead to see if they had that thing and you didn’t and blah.

In the age of the Internet, of course, there’s really very little need to go out to the shops. Internet stores are much cheaper, don’t require you to interact with sullen shop assistants (who are probably just as non-enthused about interacting with you as you with them) and have a selection of everything in the world. (You can also get pornography shipped to you in discreet, plain packaging as opposed to a plastic bag proudly emblazoned with “Bounty Bob’s Big House o’ Porn” on the side of it.)

Very little need, of course, but for one thing: you still can’t beat the convenience of actually walking into a shop, handing over some cash (or your plastic of choice) and walking out of there with an item. The quickest somewhere like Amazon can get stuff to you is the next day, which is pretty good going, but still not quite as good as thinking “I want that thing” and being able to go and get that thing immediately. (Also, if Amazon decide to ship your shit through Home Delivery Network, you can forget about seeing it for at least a week. Free Super Saver Delivery is free for a reason.)

Going to the actual shops can be a social event, though. Some people enjoy the experience of wandering around small, cramped spaces that have never heard of air conditioning, rummaging through thirty-seven almost-identical products until they irritably state that it’s just not right and go off to have a half-caff frappucino mocha with extra foam.

And then there’s the shops which are specifically designed to be hands-on. You can order an iPad from the Apple website, sure, but you can go in and fiddle with one before handing over your money if you walk into an Apple Store. That’s kind of cool, and in an era where more and more sales are moving online, it’s sometimes difficult to imagine why more “brick and mortar” (ugh, hate that expression) stores aren’t moving to a more interactive system. GAME, for example, would be awesome if you could pick up a game you were curious about, try it out for a few minutes and make your mind up. Better than buying something whose pack art looked great/had massive tits on it and discovering that it’s actually a load of old bollocks when you get home. Of course, this plan is inherently flawed by the fact that if you let people sit and play games in your store, they will sit and play games in your store. All day. Just ask anyone who works in an Apple Store.

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Posted in: Pete Davison