It was probably 2000 or 2001. I was watching an episode of smart guy and they found they had some toy or something that was worth a whole lot of money on eBay and the two kids went crazy selling a bunch of stuff on eBay. This was the first time I ever considered buying anything online so I went to ebay.com and decided to check it out and see what they had. I signed up for an account and started buying stuff on eBay mostly toys and collectibles from my childhood at this point. Go back then being that I wasn’t fully an adult I didn’t have a credit card or a bank account and I still live with my parents I had money since I had a job, but I didn’t have any way to pay for stuff. What I did was I had to buy money orders and mail them to people. That made shopping online a hassle. Pretty soon eBay would take that option away and replace everything with PayPal, a smart move I thought. Now I shop on Amazon all the time.
Last night I did something I had never done before. I filled up a box of Amazon pantry and I ordered groceries through the internet to have them delivered to my door. I know people who would laugh at the idea of buying groceries online. I was probably one of them for the longest time. But once I started shopping around I realize they were selling a lot of the same foods I buy when I go to the dollar store, only they had a lot more variety and their prices were just as fair.
It’s no secret I’m one of those people that hates leaving the house. But my motivation this week for buying my groceries online wasn’t because I didn’t want to go anywhere. It was actually quite simple. My bank account is empty so I had to use my Amazon Prime card to shop online. They just happened to have groceries.
When I look at our social media world I realize that most of my friends are people that I know through the internet. A lot of them are just avatars with usernames that I know through discussion boards or video games. I can honestly say I am thoroughly connected to the web. I don’t have cable. All of my entertainment comes through my PlayStation. I get all my movies, TV shows and video games through my PlayStation. I get all my comic books on my phone. I have a tablet I can get comic books and movies on. I create web videos. I have a podcast. I run this blog. I do pretty much everything in my world online. Yet I still feel like I’m connected. I’m enjoying life and getting things done.
Being able to buy food from the internet then having it delivered to your house it’s a little different than actually going to the local supermarket. I’m kind of leery about ordering a box of food to have it delivered to my doorstep, especially when I don’t want people to steal my food. I know I would be paranoid if I just left it sitting out there waiting for me to come pick it up could probably walk away.
I’ve already transitioned to a point where I do most of my shopping online. When I started out I was using eBay. I was only buying things through the internet that I couldn’t buy locally easily. Things like Transformers collectibles, rare comic books, hard to find video games, stuff like that. As I got more and more used to it I bought all my college books online once I realized it was cheaper than buying them from a bookstore. I’ve slowly started buying all my comic books online. Once I discovered Netflix my transition to doing everything on the internet was almost complete. I still had cable for a while but I started using it less and less. In some ways I kind of see this as a milestone. Moving forward I am getting closer and closer to a time where I don’t buy anything locally and this is kind of a conflict for me.
For the longest time I believed in shopping locally because I was under the impression that if you shop locally you create local jobs. I believed that until I went to college and started studying business. I started realizing that if Walmart can come to town they might put four or five shops out of business. But those four or five shops don’t employ anybody. They’re usually just four or five entrepreneurs who employ themselves and maybe one or two part times. So when Walmart brings in 200 jobs I don’t see that as a bad thing. One of my economics professors also pointed out that if you can save money shopping online or shopping at Walmart, that gives you more money to spend elsewhere in the community on the businesses that you wouldn’t have otherwise patronized. For example there’s a custom furniture shop in town. If you have to spend all your money on groceries, clothing and household items, you don’t have any left over to buy custom furniture. You just buy random junk from the thrift store or yard sales or whatever you can get your hands on.
That money doesn’t go into the hands of anybody and there’s certainly no tax benefit from it. But if you can save a considerable or even significant amount of money by shifting your purchases to online or even shopping at places like Walmart you can free up money in your budget to be able to spend it on what that specialty shop you’re still giving your money to local business and entrepreneurs while still putting money back into the tax pool.
Now I’m going to be honest. There are a lot of things I couldn’t buy off of Amazon. They didn’t sell dairy products. There wasn’t any frozen foods. They certainly didn’t sell any meats. Well, except for canned meats.
One thing I did notice they had an abundance of are those complete meals. It’s basically a whole meal like a meatloaf or some type of dinner that has a meat and the potato underneath. I buy these from the dollar store anyways. They sit in my cupboard until I’m ready to microwave them. These are also pretty good meals. The best part is Amazon had a pretty good assortment of canned foods and box dinners too. Again stuff that I already am buying from the dollar store.
I realized if I can spend the same money, or even less, and have it delivered to my door I don’t see the downside to me buying a box of groceries off of Amazon pantry. Especially if I can just put it on my Amazon credit card. I even noticed that you can clip coupons during the transaction.
What if I want a gallon of milk or a carton of eggs? I’ll still have to go to the grocery store. but I think I can probably fill my cupboards and do without some of that stuff. I can also save money by not buying ingredients for meals. This way I won’t be trying to cook something that I’ll just mess up, eat a little bit then throw away. I guess when you get down to it if you’re already not a big fan of going out in public, while being on a very tight budget, you start to get creative. I think shopping Amazon Pantry is another way to just be more reliant upon the internet. For better or for worse, this is the world we live in.