A dinosaur goes back to school shopping in the age of Amazon


When I was getting ready to go off to college back when dinosaurs still roamed the Earth, my mom and I went to our local mall to get a bed spread, shower tray, and new clothes, including several pairs of jeans. We made a day of it. We went shopping and then ate lunch at a pizza parlor located in the mall that we both liked.

I remember grabbing a slice and the enormity of the situation finally hitting me. I would be off on my own in a few days and I wouldn’t be coming home for a very long time. I was excited, but worried about how I would pay for everything and how I would survive on my own. My mother must have sensed my uncertainty and told me to do my best, everything would work out in the end.

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Now spin the clockhand forward a few decades. When we dropped off my son at college for the first time this past fall, he had been preparing for his departure for weeks. We had bought most of the items he needed in advance via Amazon or online shops and only filled in with actual store visits for hard-to-find items or things we had missed.

My son liked that he never actually had to step foot in any store and never had to deal with pushy sales people. He didn’t have to try anything on if he didn’t want to and he could keep a formal tab on where everything stood. I liked that we were able knock things off his must-have list without wasting countless hours waiting in line or traveling to three or four stores.

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What does the future hold

I can only imagine how college shopping will change in the future. When my youngest son or even my nieces and nephews go off to school, maybe we’ll advance to the point where they’ll answer a few online questions, list a few preferences, and then voila, when they show up for school, everything will be bright and shiny and already in its place.

Want a desk lamp? Check it off. Planning to purchase a new laptop? Check it off, the exact specifications you want, Apple or Microsoft, and it will be waiting for you in your room on arrival day.

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How convenient would that be? Click through an order form, pick out everything — and I mean everything — you want in your college room, and then just show-up.

Generation Z, or whatever the generation after the Millennials are now called, will most assuredly be considered spoiled beyond all belief and this new mode of shopping probably won’t help. Moms and dads, though,  would love it because it would mean an end to countless trips loading up the family SUV from the floor to the roof with clothes and college essentials and then unloading everything once on campus. I know I would love it.

Amazon brands itself with its unique smile delivery boxes. Now that would truly be service with a smile.

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