This is the first year I’ve fully embraced Online Christmas Shopping. In years past I got a few things on the Internet but I was still mostly clinging to the stubborn Twentieth Century notion of traveling corporeally to places of consumerist torment. Now, however, I’m fully converted to the new religion of Buy It At Home And Save Your Goodwill For Your Fellow Man. Because when you think about it, shopping in stores really reduces your peace, love and understanding quotient pretty rapidly this time of year. So while we talk about it the most, we have it the least.
For me, online shopping is an exercise in keeping The True Spirit of Christmas. But we’ll get back to that little nugget in a second.
As anyone who has ever participated in a major religion can tell you, no matter how devout you are, how much the faith is central in your life, there are always going to be niggling practices and habits that give you something to gripe about. For me, the newly converted Online Christmas Shopper I am calling Shenanigans on this whole Free Shipping On Select Items nonsense.
Amazon started out pretty well, but from where I sit it looked like their move to Free Shipping morphed them from a well-known ecommerce site to the 800-lb gorilla they are today. I know that I increased my shopping with them by 300-400% once I no longer had to pay the Lazy Tax aka. shipping and handling. So it now seems everyone is trying to copy that success by screaming loud and long on their homepage that they offer
Free Shipping On Select Items and Free Shipping Every Day.
For someone looking to stretch a dollar, those are powerful inducements indeed. And that’s why I spent an hour and a half shopping at Target.com. Of course, what I didn’t reckon on was that little …On Select Items clause being so narrowly defined. When I finally got to the checkout portion of the exercise I was staring at $23.85 in shipping and handling charges.
For that amount of money I could take a taxi to the Target 2 miles from my house.
Turns out that none of the big sale items they advertised so prominently were “selected” for their Free Shipping Everyday scheme. So they’ll make up the 30% off in part by charging 15% shipping.
Good to know. If only I’d known it before I lingered overlong on their site. It really put a damper on the True Spirit Of Christmas.
…That’s the other thing on which I call Shenanigans. This “True Spirit” thing sounds so arrogant to me. I am a Christian who believes that Christmas is a religious holiday celebrating the miracle of light coming improbably in the middle of darkness, Grace undeserved made flesh. But I’m also a 41-year old woman. To me Christmas has become a kaleidoscope of memories both warm and painful. Thoughts of past times of happiness made bittersweet by present losses. Christmas is a spidereye view of emotion and need and desire and devastation and lights and pine-scented hope. To claim that there is one TRUE SPIRIT is so dismissive of the function Holy Days serve in human lives. Now, I’m not a post-modernist who claims there is no essential truth and that everything is relative. But I also believe that if we are about Grace and Love, denying other people their feelings about benchmark days is pretty ungracious and not at all loving. And that contradicts any claims we could ever make about the trueness of our spirit.