The revolutionary thing about internet shopping is that it virtually (sorry) eliminates spontaneous buying decisions. It is debatable whether this is good or bad for the economy. All I know is that it is good for me. I do not respond well to pressure buying situations. I once told a phone solicitor that yes, I was interested in investing in gold or silver at some point (I was 16 at the time). They literally called me once a month until I left for college.
For the past several years, I have ponied up my annual $99 for Amazon Prime. To me, emergencies are the only reason why I should ever attempt to go to Best Buy, Target, or heaven forbid, Wal-Mart, to purchase something that will otherwise show up at my desk two days later like clockwork. I have logged 80 orders from Amazon in 2014 ranging from a GE WE1M654 Timer Knob Assembly for Dryer to Cornhole Bags Set – (4 Navy Blue, 4 Orange) By Free Donkey Sports to The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate (an excellent book by the way).
The promise of getting “the best deal” is pretty much a sham. No offense to die-hard shoppers out there, but Black Friday is simply a way to dupe you into impulse buying while you are hung over after drinking Uncle Phil’s cheap merlot and eating too much fried turkey. It is the ultimate bait and switch sales tactic. Surging with endorphins after you score a 42″ LCD TV for $199, your credit card feels invincible as it swipes 500 more dollars worth of the best consumer goods China can produce and money can buy.
There is nothing wrong with bargain hunting. I am, by all accounts, a cheap you-know-what. I shop at thrift stores, troll eBay and Craigslist, and generally am not satisfied by paying in-store retail prices for things. But I have learned that there is a limit – a very real “law of diminishing returns” to use economic terminology. Life is more than saving money. Your time is valuable. And it is important to understand when it is time to drive down to Home Depot and just buy the new washer instead of buying the 6-year old used washer off Craigslist that broke after one wash (true story).
Oh and one final thought. If you are an engineer and you bought your wife a new dishwasher and it is delivered the day before you go on vacation and you declined the $69 installation fee because you are a MAN (and an engineer) and it really can’t be that hard and it ends up taking you three hours and the dog is now scared of you because of your yelling and the rum is gone…I told you so.