Ahhhh tis the season for New Year’s resolutions. As 2019 looms large, I have a doozy for you. Yes, 2019 will be the year of . . . da da-dun-daaaaa
That’s right, I’m swearing off all e-commerce purchases for a whole year. Wow, even typing that gives me a bit of a chill, which is what your resolutions should do, right? I can hear you already.
“Girl, you’re CRAZY! You save so much time and money just click-clicking on that mobile phone while the baby naps. You’ll never be happier outsourcing those errands!”
I hear you, and I’m not saying I won’t fully regret this decision. But hear me out after you’re read . . . THE REASONS
Put simply, I don’t think e-commerce delivers any. I grant you, scrolling through items online feels good, but in a numbing kind of way. Like Instagram. When my items arrive it’s always such a letdown. Something doesn’t fit or LOOK quite right. There is clearly a disconnect between screen and reality. Then there is the return factor, going to/from my local UPS store–which now charges for printing labels. How does that save time? Add to this, the mental anxiety of having something not work out and realizing I’ll have to return it, monitor if I got my refund, etc, etc. I miss touching real clothing, handling real fancy packages of bath salts, removing real tubes of . . . I think you get the picture.
Today’s complex supply chains means you, Joe consumer, are just one click away from counterfeiters. Who among us hasn’t had a phone charger or earbud fail? If that’s not scary enough, what about contaminated dog food? When you purchase products online, do you really know where these are manufactured or what’s actually in them? What about how these products are sourced? Were they produced by forced, child or prison labor? Say it with me, ew.
I’m not saying I’ll 100% eliminate these practices by purchasing at old-fashioned brick and mortar stores, but big box companies have a much higher incentive (compliance, for one) to know their supply chains intimately.
You may save more per purchase, but are you saving more overall? I call bananas. Anytime purchasing is easy my red flag goes up. Easy = overuse. How many times have I seen a recurring charge from an unmentioned e-commerce site
Amazon, and said to myself, “What did I buy again?” Remember when shopping was an event? There was hairspray involved! Now, all that’s necessary is a commercial break, your grease-smeared smartphone and a dream.
Color me hippie, but trash annoys me. So does recycling. So does the amount of bubble wrap and cardboard involved to ship me one teeny, tiny lip gloss. Annoying to unpack, and uber annoying to negotiate into an ever-expanding pile to get picked up every week. In a real-live store, I often decline the bag and even a receipt.
So there’s that. Now for the fun part.
1. Nothing purchased online for personal use in 2019 unless it’s an EMERGENCY*.
So let’s summarize.
I’ve become so reliant on point-click-consume that I miss a key connection to purchasing. It’s not all about saving time and money, at least not to me. It’s learning what to love about objects and cherishing them. Not consuming for consuming’s sake. At least, that’s the theory.
Wish me luck, or better yet join me. IF YOU DARE.
*What defines an emergency? Let’s see, a direct, marital demand, perhaps? I don’t like getting in the way of those. Or maybe I get the flu and there’s that. The point is, I’ll know when I break the pact because of my good old-fashioned midwestern guilt.