This article came as an idea because of the company Carvana. Carvana delivers cars to you. They allow a person in search of a vehicle to, without going to a dealership, purchase a car. Like Amazon and eBay with, well, everything, the world now has another place which promotes the usage of digital services instead of a physical store.
Now, to my mind, this promotes two things. The first is customer power, and the second is a breakdown of normal concepts of errands—of normal ideas, quick to be outdated ideas, of what it means to go shopping. Which is another sign of the world changing in new and exciting ways due to the internet.
Let’s go over the items a person can purchase online. Actually, let’s go one further. Let’s examine some of the things the internet now seeks to expedite for maximum convenience among the users of it.
In no significant order:
Amazon and eBay, which, if you are willing to wait for the product to arrive and not have the instant gratification of ownership, can allow you to purchase pretty much any standard item for delivery.
Etsy. Which is full of many handcrafted items.
Netflix, Hulu, and all the other similar groups, satisfy people’s media needs.
Match and OkCupid and Tinder and such give people a way to find someone to date.
Lyft and Uber now make getting a ride possible on a mass scale without relying on taxi services.
There are even services which allow Publix and other local stores to deliver products to a person in under an hour, and of course: fast food delivery of the Chinese food and pizza variety has been a thing for a long time.
Now, I understand the potential concern all of this can cause. Because the more this sort of thing expands, and the more services one can obtain without leaving their house, the less reason one would have to go out in Clearwater and see the world.
And, yes, perhaps that is what might happen. But, I don’t think so. I cannot predict the outcome this will have on real-world brick-and-mortar for-profit industries—as that model may phase out of existence. But, that threat is only for the retail organizations unwilling to go fully digital.
Restaurants and fairs and concerts and bars and lounges all exist as a social location, not just a place to buy things. Sure, you might get a coffee delivered. Sure, you might even get food on par with Carrabba’s Italian Grill on Gulf to Bay brought to you. But those do not have the much touted “atmosphere” of a real physical experience. The smells and sounds and touch of a real coffee shop or bustling restaurant is not easily replicated.
If I may make another prediction, I see people not becoming shut-ins, but instead becoming more free to explore. At the beginning, I mentioned the boost of power in the customer, and that is what they will have. This is what the new system will promote. Errands would no longer be all-day affairs, as traveling all around to stores would no longer be necessary. And the purchasers would have more control of their own time.
Which is more time for people to go and party at concerts, go and meet people for drinks, go and see the world. Sure, some might find it as an excuse for the lifestyle of a shut-in, but the majority will, and already are, getting a liberation of time and effort, which can find usage toward creative and positive outlets. Volunteering, charity work, time with friends and family.
Browsing the shelves may not be the same, but the urge for a human connection doesn’t die. No matter how convenient things get.