Tip for a happy life: when you get home after shopping at bricks-and-mortar stores, never check the online prices for what you’ve just bought.
Last Christmas we were given a gift voucher valid at a chain of stores in the UK, and thought it was time we spent it, so took a trip to our local city centre. One of us wanted Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on DVD (£19.95) but in the end we settled on a XBox 360 game (Rayman Raving Rabbids – it’s not for me!) at £25.00.
Glanced at Amazon when we got back. The Potter film is £5.98 new or £4.25 used. The 360 game is £19.99 new or £9.99 “Like new”.
Our gift voucher has been spent mostly on propping up businesses that cannot compete with their online competition. Further, if we’d read the Amazon user reviews, we might have chosen a different game.
There are whole categories of goods where buying on the High Street is now hugely more expensive – and that’s without taking into account the travel and the hassle. I don’t mind paying a little more for the sake of supporting local shops and the community they provide, but these price differences are not sustainable.
How about the expert advice you get from a real shop, in specialist areas like electronics, computing, household goods? Frankly, and unless you are very lucky, the expertise readily available from user reviews or Google far exceeds what you are likely to receive out in town on a Saturday afternoon.
Retailing in the UK is shaky anyway, on account of tough economic conditions. I guess the online factor will accelerate the changes coming to our High Streets.