build it and they will come… [day 232]

Yesterday I had to shop for work again.  I’m designing an interactive wall that unfortunately need some new supplies.  I was mentioning the fact that I had to go to the store in front of someone that just heard about my no retail challenge.  He asked, “So, if you shop for work, isn’t that against your challenge?  Doesn’t that give you the getting-new-stuff satisfaction?”  Okay, so I’m not sure if those were his exact words, but you get the point.  Here’s the answer to that question.

Let me start by saying that shopping is extremely frustrating and a root canal might have been a better way to spend my time.  Here’s why.

Ikea. This store is a giant maze.  I only needed one thing from there, a couple sets of Dioder multi colored lights.  I go in the exit there because I can look in the “as is” section first, and it’s the quickest way to the spot where the lights should be.  After making my way through the cold warehouse part into the marketplace, I find the display.  Sold out.  After asking about the next shipment, I find out these lights are discontinued and they’ll be replaced with a new design.  The problem?  The new sets are not available yet.  I start looking for my bread crumbs and make my way back to civilization.

Walmart. Not much to report here, just another giant superstore that takes forever to get into.  They didn’t have what I needed, which was inexpensive, decent quality, modern digital photo frames.  I needed 5 that look exactly alike.  They had some cheap, low quality ones, so on to the next store.

Lowe’s. Now, I’m all about a hardware store, if I have to shop.  I decided to take a look for LED lights, similar to Ikea’s.  Low and behold, they had them, and for the same price.  These are actually a little better, as one controller will hold more daisy chained lights.  They had just gotten these in a week prior. 

Next was lumber, and that was no problem.  I loaded up the pieces I needed and was off to find the final thing.  Stand offs.  Everyone I asked looked at me like I had just invented these a minute ago, and politely sent me to other areas of the store.  We bought several packages of these from Lowe’s a month ago, so I know they carry them.  All of the people helping me were very polite, and on the 5th person, we finally found someone who knew what I was talking about.  After all that, they are sold out, could not find a SKU number and no way to check if more would be coming in.  Next store…

Target. They had some digital frames, but not a great selection.  They were sold out of the ones that would have worked.  And no, I don’t want to drive to McKinney or Plano.  I also needed some orange slice candy for something our kids area is doing this weekend.  I looked for them in the vast land of well merchandised stuff, but had no idea which of the 5 candy sections might actually have them.  Tick, tick, tick…  Almost time to pick up my kids and I’m not done yet.

Best Buy. As I walked into electronics heaven, past the cell phones, Apple store and cameras, I came to the digital frames.  I found what I needed, knowing I might be able to find these a little cheaper online, but at this point, the time versus money alarm had sounded in my head.  They were on sale and I bought them.  Going through the tax exempt checkout process took forever.  I might have waited and found these online, saving a few dollars, but this was the “best buy” right now, as I was over this shopping crap.

If hell is custom designed for people, my hell would have a lot of big superstores and shopping malls with mass produced things as far as the eye could see.  I hope I never know that for sure.  So here’s shopping tips for people who hate shopping.

Can you get it online? I chose not to on the frames, as it’s hard to know what quailty screen resolution you’re getting.  It’s not like buying a TV or computer monitor.  Not all of them have that information listed.  As for the lumber, that’s just easier to go buy at the hardware store.

Make a list. Use the list to ask an employee where things are if you’re not familiar with the store.  Shop for the things on your list and then get out.

Availability. Some retailers will show in stock quantities online.  This can be helpful if you have several things to buy or several places to go.  Had I checked Ikea, I might have saved myself a lot of time.

Research. I did take some time to research the frames, thus knowing the price points, features and possible options.  This did help in my decision making process and helped me quickly eliminate places that did not have what I needed.

Timing. If you’re not in need of the items right away, keep on ongoing list.  This will minimize the number of trips you have to make to the store.

Utilize your friends that like to shop. This might not sound good, but if they like doing it and you trust them to get what you need, let them.  They’re happy shopping, you’re happy not shopping and everybody wins.

Happy no shopping!  🙂

About jody wissing

I'm a person just trying to matter in a crazy world.
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