Posted by on October 4, 2022

         Anyone out there old enough to remember this scenario:

         >>    Walk into a store.

         >>    Select an item from the shelf.

         >>    Walk to the cashier and pay for the item (usually in cash).

         >>    Walk out of the store … anybody?  Anybody?

         If you do, then you probably remember the inconvenience and challenge of having to perform all those motions.  But those were the old days before technology introduced a much more convenient way to shop.  We call it “online.”

         Here’s a recent example of the convenience of on-line shopping.  But first, a back story: I was in Walmart the other day to buy, among many other things on my list, Noxema.  I knew which department to visit and, true to form, there was none there (this happens about three out of every four visits).

         No problem, says I to myself; I’ll just see if I can find it online and have it shipped to me.  So I went to and … success!  There it was!  The exact type, size, etc., of Noxema that I was looking for.  The one thing that wasn’t what I was looking for was the price.  Whatever happened to the days when “online” meant “discount”?  The online version of this product was three times what I would have paid in the store!

         Enter daughter Karlyn.  “Why don’t you try Walmart’s website?” she suggested.  So we went there and, sure enough, there was Noxema.  In stock.  Somehow.  (Because it was the same store I had visited and seen the empty shelf!)  So, I ordered two jars.

         I received a prompt reply from Walmart that day, informing me that I could come pick it up after 11:00 today.

         But here is where it gets confusing.  I received an email this morning telling me that the product was now in (“Your pickup order is ready, Karl” – a direct quote).  The next statement under that one says, “Your curbside pickup is prepped and waiting.  Pick up your items on Sun., Oct. 2.”  Today is Wed., Sept. 28.  If my items are “ready,” why am I supposed to wait until Sunday to pick them up?  Am I out of step with modern shopping, or is there really something wrong with this picture?

         I decided to take my body to the physical location of our local Walmart and have somebody explain this obvious contradiction to me.  I showed the email on my phone to the young man in customer service who copied my half-mile-long customer number onto his phone.  He disappeared for a moment and – if you can believe this – actually came back with my order!  And it wasn’t even Sunday yet!

         I was just so grateful to get my purchase that I didn’t bother to ask him about the Sunday message or how the store was able to fill my order when there was no product on the shelf!  Sometimes you just have to accept the complications of dealing with our modern time-saving methods of shopping.

Posted in: Writings