Like most people, I’ve done loads of my shopping online this Christmas. Instead of flogging round the shops in the freezing cold I’ve sat in the warmth of my office sipping coffee and choosing presents from Amazon, Topshop and other shopping emporiums.
It’s so quick and easy that I wasn’t surprised in the least to read that online sales have doubled to ten per cent since 2000 and are predicted to rise to more than 12 per cent by 2014.
Except the one thing I’d forgotten in the midst of it all is that someone still has to deliver the blooming stuff. And that’s where I’m not so impressed.
Last week, three Amazon parcels got delivered to our house. Fine, except they were delivered on the days I was in London and were simply dumped on the doorstep. Again, it wouldn’t be a problem if we lived in the middle of nowhere but we’re on a main road in a busy city. Anyone could have hopped up the steps, nicked the parcels (luckily they didn’t) and sped off in a trice.
But I didn’t make a fuss till a third parcel arrived and was left outside in the pouring rain. I arrived home more than 12 hours later to find a sorry, sopping mess. The cardboard packaging completely disintegrated when I picked it up and the book inside was ruined. It took three phone calls to get through to the delivery company and about an hour to repackage the present and arrange for a new one to be delivered. Hmmm. In that time, I could have walked to Waterstone’s and bought it in person. Maybe online shopping isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
PS. The most hilarious piece I read over the weekend was a report declaring that the happiest moment of Christmas is at… 1.55pm. Apparently that’s the time when all the presents have been opened, lunch has been cooked and served and the children are playing happily with their new toys. I’m clearly the most disorganised parent on the planet but I can predict for sure that at 1.55pm in our house, lunch won’t have been cooked and served and we’ll only just have started opening our presents. I’m ashamed to admit that the latest we’ve sat down to lunch on Christmas Day was 5.30pm. And did it matter? Not a bit.
PPS. Just to show that there’s something else to be said for shopping in person, the picture above (taken in the Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris) shows my favourite shop window of the year. A VW camper in the window? Now that’s definitely the way to attract customers.