A Look on the Lighter Side: My plan for holiday shopping: go human

A Look on the Lighter Side: My plan for holiday shopping: go human

“You just point and click,” said my husband’s friend.  “Couldn’t be simpler.  Then just sit back and wait for it all to be delivered!”
He was describing his battle plan for holiday shopping. 
“Sounds perfect!” said my husband. 
“Sounds awful,” said I, at the same time. 
My husband turned to me with a question.  “What’s so awful about it?  I thought you hated shopping!  Wasn’t that you, saying you couldn’t stand one more year of wrestling through the holiday crowds?” 
“That was years ago, sweetheart, when the kids were little and I had to take them with me.  I think I was mostly just terrified I’d lose one or both of them in a crowd. Now that I can go shopping all by myself, it’s a whole different experience. I’ve actually come to like the lights, the decorations — even the non-stop Christmas carols. I guess I’ve changed my mind.”
My husband’s eyes widened.  “What? Is that possible? Does this mean you can change your mind about other things, too?  Like watching ‘The Walking Dead’ with me?”
“Not gonna happen.  But I might actually find you a present this year. Except… it’s getting harder every year to find something fun.” 
“Maybe you should try some online shopping?”  suggested my honey. 
“About that — it must be a ‘guy’ thing, because I don’t enjoy it.  And somehow, you get rid of precisely the parts of shopping that I like best!”
“Like what?”  
“Well, I like going into a bookstore, or a boutique, or a gadget-shop, and finding something I’ve never even imagined before. You can’t do that with on-line shopping.”
“Why not?  You can find anything on line,” said the friend.  
“Sure — if you already know what you’re looking for. But I hardly ever do — and besides, it’s the new things that are the best.  Remember last year?” I turned to my husband, “how I stumbled across that man who makes lamps out of old clocks and plumbing, and cufflinks from old typewriter keys?  What am I supposed to do, Google ‘Surprise Me’?”
“Mmm, maybe not,” says the spouse.  
“And remember how much fun the Sharper Image store used to be?  I didn’t know what to make of their first fiber-optics Christmas tree.  It looked like a giant brush where every bristle kept changing colors!  Or that stick that makes a sound like rain when you pick it up — what good is a picture of that?”
“You could watch a video….”
“Oh goodie — homework.  I’d rather just pick something up, or run my hand over it.  How else does anyone learn the difference between regular wool and cashmere? Not from any catalog, that’s for sure.”
“You sound like one of the kids, wanting to touch everything.”
“It’s just that the things they touched were always so expensive!”
“That’s exactly my complaint about you.” 
I shot my dear one a look.  “Even when I do know what I want — the same jeans I always get, or shoes just like my old ones — you can ask for the same exact thing, but when it arrives it can  still be different.  They’ll be tighter around the waist, or have stitching on the shoe right over where the bunion hurts.” 
“Could it be you’ve gained some weight since the last pair?” 
“On my feet?  And so what if I have?  My point is, you’ve always got to try things on.”   
“Not a problem — you just order a couple different sizes and send the wrong ones back.”
“But not everyone is good at sending things back. In fact, I bet it’s part of the business model — X percent of customers never get around to returning things, and guess who keeps all the money?” 
“It’s not the company’s fault if a customer is incompetent!”  This was the computer-fan talking. 
“Whatever happened to ‘The Customer is Always Right’?  It’s turned into ‘The Customer is an Idiot, But Whatever, So Long as their Credit Card Still Works’!”
Which reminds me: where are we supposed to get all this money, if there aren’t any more jobs?  Amazon wants to get rid of sales clerks, altogether.  And sure, it’s not the best job in the world — but if they keep replacing people with robots, who’s going to buy all the presents? Do they think that their drone-delivery-bots will be buying Christmas presents for all the driverless cars?
I have an idea: Keep the holidays human!  That way we can all be happy.  

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