Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day, Birthdays, and Shopping

The last week has been packed full of activity: Advanced Placement tests for the two youngest, along with their synchronized swimming show; Eldest had her week of final exams; Beloved has been in the midst of important meetings at work. To put a cap on either side of the busy week, last weekend Beloved and Littlest celebrated their birthday (yes, they share the same birthday, but not birth date!), and, of course,here in the states, this weekend we are celebrating Mother’s Day.

I must confess, any occasion for a party is a wonderful thing. However, Birthdays and Mother’s Day mean one very unfortunate thing: shopping. I dislike, I loathe shopping. I don’t like the crowds, nor do I like standing around in a line. I am always amazed at how hundreds of people manage to pilot hulking metal ships on wheels in concert with each other, up and down and across narrow strips of pavement, allowing each person to safely reach his or her destination. 
Yet, these same people, who can manage that complicated dance in the ebb and flow of traffic, somehow lose all sense when they arrive at the store or mall. They walk in large, slow, ponderous, herds--obstructing the flow of traffic. They stop in the middle of walkways for no apparent reason. Instead of keeping to the right, they find great pleasure in walking to the left.
Not only are my fellow shoppers an irritant, often the stores themselves are frustrating. I have often found myself breezing through a store, picking up a few essential items, ecstatic that the store is relatively empty, and I am making good time. That is, until I reach the check-out lines. Or should I say, check-out line. Inside this massive warehouse, that has been turned into a place to shop for socks, batteries, and dill pickles, there is only one cashier working, and the store is empty because every customer inside the large concrete box is standing in line waiting to pay.
As I watch the seconds slip by, and the minutes melt away, I start to fuss internally a little. Soon that fussing turns to fretting and boils over into a quiet fury. I am so frustrated, as I stand there with my menial purchases, I want to yell at the top of my lungs, “Hey Mr. Big Box Mart, Don’t You want My Money?”.
When I shop for Beloved, it only adds to my agitation; for I must confess, that I have not always given her gifts that were amazing. In fact, I am so relieved at holiday time when she picks out her own clothes for me to give to her--it relieves so much pressure. 
For the past few weeks, these concerns fermented in the dark corners of my mind. Then, as I was perusing Twitter and Facebook, I ran across an article from the Associated Press regarding 5 possible features for a new phone that might be offered by Amazon. I realized that, while this was extremely speculative, it may offer a solution to my shopping problem: I could get my wife a new phone.
The first feature mentioned in the article is 3D shopping, which is just like real shopping, except you can’t stop at the pretzel place to buy a warm, aromatic pretzel; or you can't stop at the cookie stand to enjoy a warm, gooey, chocolate chip cookie; nor can you stop at the coffee shop to get a jolt of caffeine to keep up the marathon shopping. Frankly, that stinks.
The next possible feature is enhanced games. I guess I might be old, but what's wrong with the good old games we have now? If we are honest, games are a waste of time. If I am going to waste time, I am going to do that on Facebook or Twitter. I must profess, I do have solitaire on my phone as a survival tool. In case I am ever lost in the wilderness, or stranded on some uncharted tropical island, I will simply launch solitaire, and soon, someone will be looking over my shoulder to tell me to play the nine of hearts on the ten of clubs. 
Seamless grocery shopping is another possible feature touted in the article. The author suggests that one will simply be able to walk into their pantry, wave their phone around, and magically, Amazon will send them groceries to replace the items a customer is running low on. I mentioned I hate shopping; however, I love eating, and so grocery shopping is a wonderful time that my wife and I get to spend together. We explore the aisles for delicacies and delights to share with our three daughters. It is a wonderful experience. I have to add, that we shop at Wegmans, which is known for taking the mundane experience of shopping and turning it into an experience to be celebrated.
Feature number four is free-streaming video. I have a television, thank you.
Lastly, the author mentions that competitive pricing would be something offered in Amazon’s new phone. This basically means if you want more features, you have to pay more money. This is hardly an innovation.
After reading the article, I decided I would not be buying an Amazon phone for Beloved. Despite the fact that she loves shopping, and this phone would seem to augment the shopping experience, she loves to do two things more than shopping. Those would be talking and texting, and this article doesn’t indicate that this new phone can do either.

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.