Yet Another Reason to Hate Online Retailers

If only it actually worked this way.
If only it actually worked this way.

Much Internet vitriol has been directed at Amazon lately for a certain, "un-Christmassy" business practice -- when shoppers use its price check app this Saturday at brick-and-mortar stores to tell lazy Amazon its competitors' prices, the online retail giant will award up to $5 in discounts.

The strategically timed move during height of Christmas shopping has small business devotees calling the deal "evil" and an "attack" on local shops, which the site has had no small part in helping undermine to begin with.

The discount doesn't sit well with us either, but we've already been hating on the online retailer -- online retailers in general, really -- this holiday season for a whole litany of other injustices. Glory be to Etsy and Pinterest, but for the same reasons that many flock to the Amazons and Gilts for online shopping, we hate them.

Purchases that are mailed to you? No thanks!
Purchases that are mailed to you? No thanks!

Purchases are mailed to you: Go to a store and buy something, you have it right away. Done and done. Order something online, however, and you're tracking its status obsessively from mailing hub to mailing hub, hoping you don't miss its delivery to your doorstep. And if you do, you have to find time to go to the post office during the five hours a week it's actually open, opening up a whole new can of hate.

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Items are always in stock: There's a certain thrill in finding a gift for everyone on your list at select stores, especially when you get the last item in stock. But when you shop online, an item's always in stock somewhere, and in one click, the hunt is over.

Pointless insights: Much has been dissected about the phenomenal growth of Pinterest, one key factor being the difference between search and discovery -- thanks to all that pinning, users are constantly discovering new items -- and buying them -- as opposed to just searching for ones they have in mind on a site like Amazon or Etsy. That's nice and all, and makes for some fun cocktail chatter, but you know where else you can easily discover items you weren't necessarily looking for in the first place? A store.

They charge you a small fortune in shipping to get it sooner: Say Christmas is in two days and you still haven't gotten your mom something. Egregious oversight? Yes, but it's not too late. If you shop online, chances are, you'll be paying the price of the gift just to get it to you in time. Or, you could head out to the store and find something immediately, with no extra, exploitative fee.

The lack of holiday cheer: Many stay clear of all malls, CVS pharmacies, and elevators during this time of year to avoid the incessant holiday music and omnipresent decorations. But that's what makes holiday shopping so special. Get all your gifts online, and it's a much sadder, magic-less experience.

The inevitable returns: Sure, returning items to a store can be a pain. You have to get in your car, drive all the way over there, and hope to God you've remembered the receipt. But returning an item you got online? Exponentially worse. More likely than not, you wind up just keeping it, even if you hate it or it's broken, to avoid the hassle.


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