Random observations on 2010 holiday shopping

Today we can shop anytime from virtually anywhere. Customers may never speak directly to us or even see what they’re buying until it’s delivered. We used to use newspaper ads to comparison shop before we headed to the mall or a big box store. Now if we do venture out we use a smart phone on the spot to make sure the deal we see is the best available… and we can download apps that let stores know we’ve arrived so they can offer us an even better deal. (Pity the un-connected shopper.)

I’m writing this post on a Delta flight from Florida to Michigan. You can even shop now above 10,000 feet. It used to be that an airplane was one of the few places you couldn’t connect. I don’t really understand how it works but I like it. Everyone around me appears to be doing some holiday buying or exploring; Score a point for commerce, consumption and the (pending) economic recovery.

Of course instead of buying gifts for our significant others, many of us now buy gift cards. They allow the recipient to get exactly what he or she wants – as long as that’s not the feeling that someone took the time to find just the right gift, a gift that shows that “I pay attention to your needs and preferences”. On the other hand, if you thought I wanted that garish Christmas sweater you got me last year (generic example below, but you know who you are), a gift card would be just great. Especially if it’s from a store where I shop.  Or for an iPad.

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