Last week I wrote about my personal pledge to stay out of Target. So far it has been pretty easy to avoid ducking in there for sundries like shampoo and ibuprofen. But this week I moved into a new office and I need a couple of things: a small carpet, a coat rack, and some art. This sort of vague decorative need is exactly the sort of thing that pulls me into Target for a non-specific foray.
My husband calls this impulse, “gathering” and it drives him nuts. He goes into a store looking for exactly the item he needs. When he finds it, he leaves. He calls that “hunting” and it’s the only kind of shopping that makes sense to him. (And thus the picture of Pierce Brosnan from Crusoe.) I go in with my feelers out for bargains and my mind open to new fashions and home furnishings. Can you tell that we saw the comedy, Defending the Caveman years ago? He has used that hilarious examination of the difference between the sexes to explain why we can’t shop together ever since. Of course, if I let him do the shopping, we might as well live in a cave. But he does have a point that gathering can get out of control, especially when faced with the interior of a Target (or Wal-Mart for those of you who weighed in that that super mart is your fiscal Achilles heal.)
So this week, I’m trying to harness technology to help me gather more efficiently.
Instead of going to Target, I am keeping an eye out at Overstock.com. I’ve had terrific luck with home furnishings at this massive discounter of everything from jewelry to cars. I got some leather dining chairs there for an incredible price and they have served us very well for years. (I think that is an image of them below.) I have also bought plumbing fixtures, rugs, and bedding here. And I love the Worldstock section for jewelry and unique bits of furniture and decoration.
I am also trying out a new online shopping service that hunts around for things that are in stock in brick-and-mortar stores nearby. I typed “rug” into the search engine at Nearbynow.com and it searches for every rug in all the stores near me. It probably won’t find stores that are too small to be in its database but it certainly got the bigger merchants. It showed me a picture of every rug available locally, told me what it cost, and if it was on sale. When I found something that interested me (below), the site offered to confirm if it was in stock. It sent me an email and text message when it got an answer from the merchant. It even offered to put the item on hold for me if did find it in stock. (It didn’t.) Pretty neat.
I haven’t actually acquired any of the things my office needs yet. But at least I’m staying out of Target.