As my granddaughter and I sat visiting recently, the subject of shopping came up. My granddaughter talked about how difficult it is to find time to travel to the areas with the bigger stores and then have to spend the time walking the aisles looking for things, checking out, etc.
She works, is involved in numerous activities and has two small children that she usually has to take shopping with her. She told me that she did most of her holiday shopping the new, modern way, on the Internet. It is reported that more and more the people today are doing their shopping at home using their cell phone or computer. Is this way of shopping really new?
Remember the Sears, Roebuck & Co. Catalog? Years ago families received the Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalog in the mail, along with numerous others such as Montgomery Ward, Spiegel, Lana Lobell, Aldens and more.
In the comfort of their home, people went through the pages, found the item or items they chose to order, filled out an order blank, enclosed it and a check in an envelope with proper address, and placed it in the mailbox for the mailman to take to the post office and be sent on its way.
After a few days of waiting, the ordered item would be delivered by either the mailman or, if too large for the mailbox, usually by truck. You could order just about anything you could think of from Sears, Roebuck & Co., including machinery and pre-fabricated houses. I remember my dad ordering a hay rake that was delivered by truck in pieces and it had to be put together. So, sending orders for an item using the Internet really isn’t anything new, the order just gets there faster.
About cell phones and Facebook. Years ago we had “party lines and eavesdropping”! The telephone company would establish a “party line” for a certain number of households in an area. It was an open line and everyone on it heard the phone ring regardless of who the call was for. Each family had their own special ring to let them know the call was theirs. It might be a long and two shorts, two longs and two shorts, one long, etc.
When the telephone rang, housewives would recognize whose ring it was, however most of the time they would pick the phone up and listen. I remember going with my parents to visit with neighbors. The adults were visiting in the living room and the children were playing games on the dining room table.
The phone rang, not their ring, however, the lady of the house came running to the telephone, climbed on a box beneath the phone on the wall (she was only four foot ten) listened for several minutes, then hung up the phone and returned to visiting with my parents. That is how they learned what was going on in the community. In this day and age, is the cell phone and Facebook really much different?
We have people selecting the items they want from the grocery stores using their cell phones. They set a time to pick the order up, and the store prepares the order. The customer arrives at the selected time, the order is brought out, the customer checks it to make sure everything is as ordered and it is loaded in the car. More stores are beginning to deliver direct to the homes.
Years ago, we had a grocery store in our community that delivered in town. High school boys were often hired to deliver the smaller orders and a regular employee would deliver the larger orders by car.
Are today’s ideas so much different from years ago? Our area has no large stores to shop in and there are many things that are not available in our local stores. So, we must either send orders to companies or travel, just as it was years ago. These ideas are not new; they are just being done in a different way. We now have the technology needed to do that. The ideas and the times of old have not really changed that much.
Barb Lumley wrote this column to be published in The Circleville Herald. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.