December 11, 2012

Points East: On-line Christmas shopping

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — I’m sure that I have done stories similar to this one over the 33 years that I’ve been writing Points East, so bear with me.

I’m in a rather affable Christmas mood, just now,  and I have decided that this is one of the years that I’m really going to enjoy the season instead of emulating Mr. Scrooge.  Part of the reason for my current, amiable state of mind has to do with the fact that I have all my shopping done and paid for without ever having left the house.  

I’ve done it all on-line. And yes, you can and should buy local stuff on the Internet.  For instance, my good friend and  hunting/fishing buddy, ever since we ran together at Letcher High 45 years ago, Terry Fields, owns Top Drawer Gallery in Berea, which I consider the best, top-quality, authentic,  central Appalachian handcrafts outlet under one roof in the region. You may find more stuff at some other places but you will seldom find better.

Visit the Website, Browse around, hit the contact-us button, then talk to Jerilu (Terry’s wife, and oh so much prettier than the male species of the family).  Jerilu will tell you how to have it sent to your door or to you daughter in Texas  in plenty time for Christmas, and she’ll also tell you about hundreds of other  items not shown on the site.   

The point is, you ought to try an Internet search on any retail outlet in your community or any other place, for that matter. A good place to start would be chamber of commerce, or retail stores in name that town. Be prepared to be amazed.

On-line shopping is doubly attractive to me. In the first place I absolutely hate standing in line, elbowing my way through crowded aisles, never being able to find someone to tell me where something is, body odor and forgetting where I parked.

Invariably, if I am in a long line and finally get up almost to the front, an argument will start between a  customer and the check-out clerk over whether a  pair of pantyhose is $3.29 or $3.49 and this can go on for like five minutes before the clerk says she’s gonna have to call a manager. I have, on more than one occasion, tossed a dollar to the clerk and told her to let me pay the difference if she will just get this lady out of the way so that I can check out before the end of the decade. It works.

Of course the second reason I find on-line shopping so appealing has to do with the physical limitations that Mr. Parkinson and a stroke have laid on me.  I couldn’t fight store traffic now if I wanted to. But I can still wobble to the door when the UPS lady or the mailman honk to get my attention to take delivery of my on-ine purchases.  

What could be simpler and more expedient than that? I suppose the drivers could come in, help me open the packages, inspect the goods and take back anything that was damaged.  But so far, everything I’ve ordered has been in perfect condition and I’ve made roughly 25 purchases.

Poor Loretta has made just one on-line purchase and it has been a total disaster.   

She ordered a big name brand, state of the art, computerized, slow-cooker from one of the oldest and best known retailers in the world and put it on her credit card. Two days later she met the UPS lady at the door.  The package was addressed to her. It was from Sears , but Lo took one glance and knew it couldn’t possibly be the item she had ordered. It was way too small.

The UPS lady said she could send it back, and that’s what she did.  But here’s betting that this incident will not be satisfactorily resolved until well after Christmas. And here’s knowing that my sweet wife will be driving many, many miles and standing in line for many, many hours over the next three weeks.

Not me.  I’ll be at home curled up with a good book because I’ve already done all my shopping and never once lost my temper.

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Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
B. Going to the beach!
C. Kentucky has a lot of wonderful state parks, and we plan to visit a few and enjoy quality family time.
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