Author Delia Ephron has written an interesting column at The New York Times entitled "The Hell of Online Shopping."
In it, she relates a personal story in which she had a bad experience with J. Crew — the items weren't wrapped as ordered, they were shipped to the wrong address, and she went through a time-consuming customer service process.
Online shopping is destroying gift-giving.
"Precious holiday giving cannot be entrusted to a Web site," she writes. "A gift shouldn’t be something you open by accident — hello, what is this? — ripping open the cardboard outer box with a knife, and then having your present fall out naked."
Online ordering has killed all "grace" and "beauty" from the gift-giving experience. Now, it's all just mundane and "intimacy" has been replaced by "expedience," she argues.
"I am never ordering another Christmas present on the Web again," writes Ephron. "Next year I am wrapping all my gifts myself and standing in line at the local post office for an hour or two to mail them. It’s the least I can do for the people I love."
Perhaps it's a rant by a scorned customer who had a bad experience, but Ephron makes a good point about intimacy. That's one factor that's near-impossible to replicate in an online setting.
But, after all, all of holiday gift-giving has been totally commercialized, and you can't solely blame the existence of online shopping for that.
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