Online or In-Person? It’s All Good

Even without a pandemic American shopping and social habits have changed quite a bit in the last decade. Online shopping is huge, as well as self-checkouts, online school, working from home, virtual medical visits and so much more.

Add all of it together and maybe human beings are quickly losing their ability and desire/tolerance to interact with each other.

Over the past week I’ve been trying to find the perfect car since my lease is almost up and it’s been draining. Migraines. Anxiety. Irritability. It’s been a crazy experience in which I have questioned my sanity.

I discovered that I don’t want to deal with salespeople, especially in person or over the phone. I’m far more comfortable texting and emailing because I can think about what I want to say and hopefully say it in a much better way.

I had been in communication with several salespeople from different car dealers and the thought of having to go talk to any of them in person made me ill.

To be fair, I did find a dealership that communicated very well and timely with me by email. They didn’t refuse to talk numbers with me until they had me in person cornered in a salesperson’s cubicle. It was refreshing.

Eventually though, I found my dream car online through CarMax and it’s the one I’ve been looking for – a hybrid that can get 50+ miles per gallon and not look a crashed alien spacecraft glued back together wrong. No, obviously it’s not a Prius.

The car was 600 miles away but I found it online. Hopefully, I’ll have nothing but good things to say about the car when I actually have it.

The worst I’ve had to endure so far in the buying process is one phone call and it wasn’t bad. I’ll have to sign the papers in person but I won’t have to go back and forth haggling a price or going through awkward chitchat about my budget.

I won’t have to be told that if I just give up a couple meals a day, I can afford a ridiculous monthly payment put in front of me. Yes, I’ve been told that by more than one car salesperson. Is it any wonder I dread the experience?

CarMax is on to something good. It’s the way people are going to buy cars in the future. Nobody under the age of 40 is going to have the skills or patience to deal with car salesmen. Granted, car salesmen have always induced headaches but few people want to do business that way anymore…because we don’t have to.

But then there’s the other part of me who misses, dare I say, human interaction? I miss quiet grocery stores with friendly familiar faces, the quaint and magical feeling of shopping in small downtown stores, eating at restaurants and speaking with my favorite server, riding the bike trail and realizing how friendly most of Decatur is.

I dig neighbors who talk to each other, chatting with the parents of my kids’ friends, greeting others at church, seeing the joy on a child’s face when introducing them to an animal at Scovill Zoo. Adults get just as excited as the kids. It’s easy to begin a conversation when you’re holding an alligator. You already have a topic!

Then, maybe it’s okay to prefer to be antisocial in some ways. Maybe we don’t need to feel so guilty about preferring the convenience of shopping online, learning online, or avoiding uncomfortable situations. Who has ever liked dealing with car salespeople, and worse yet, car sales managers? Double ugh.

So, now I feel less like a freak. I’m okay. I can have my cake and eat it too. Both worlds are fine and can exist with one another. Be at peace my friends. Ahhh!

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