Online Shopping for a Significant Other: One Woman's Take

Nancy and I had a discussion the other night involving whether or not it’s okay for a significant other to purchase things online for the other person. I asked her to compile her argument–posted below, verbatim as she sent it to me–and I’ll counter tonight.

NancySo don’t get me wrong. Online shopping is extremely convenient, efficient, and easy. I am an online shopper. I’ll admit it. But I believe that there is a certain circumstance when online shopping isn’t acceptable. That circumstance is buying a gift for a significant other on a big holiday (i.e. his/her birthday, Christmas and anniversaries). Why do I think this is considered a big no-no in relationships? Because it’s lazy. I think the effort and time put into picking out a gift is just as important as the gift itself. Say, for instance, I wanted a new guitar (hey Jamey, I want a new guitar, by the way). Imagine two scenarios. One scenario involves Jamey finding a good quality guitar shop. He then walks in, finds a sales associate, and says, “So I’m looking to buy an acoustic guitar for my girlfriend. She plays so-and-so kind of music, and she’s still a beginner. This is my budget. What do you recommend? Where can I find pink picks? She loves pink!” That scenario is extremely thoughtful and took a lot of time and effort! The second scenario involves Jamey clicking a new tab next to,,,, etc. He does a quick google search for reputable online guitar shops, picks a guitar based on his budget, adds a couple of brown picks (I hate brown picks) to his order, submits payment, and shopping is done. I don’t mean for this scenario to sound like it only takes 10 minutes because I know it doesn’t, but it just seems impersonal. This may be an extreme example, but you get my point. I think a little bit of inconvenience and misery should go into buying a gift for a special occasion. I will give men one exception to the rule. And it’s Victoria’s Secret. Online shopping is acceptable at I can see the embarrassment in asking an associate, “Which one of these bras will make my girlfriend’s rack touch her chin and make them look like two perfectly round cantelopes?” That’s the one exception. That’s all you get.

Other than online shopping being impersonal, you run the risk of the package not getting delivered on time. It’s an awful feeling when you want a package to make it in time for a certain occasion and it doesn’t get there. For instance, for my birthday, Jamey’s gift to me didn’t get delivered until a week after my birthday (and he swears he ordered it 2 or 3 weeks before my birthday)! He was more upset about it than I was! It’s too unpredictable. And there’s nothing you can do about it other than pay a ton of extra money to guarantee next day or 2 day deliver. How many people actually do that??

So that’s my argument against online shopping for significant others on special occasions. What do you have to say to that, Stegmaier?

0 thoughts on “Online Shopping for a Significant Other: One Woman's Take”

  1. I’ve struggled with the fact that online shopping lacks a personal touch as well. I’m very curious to hear Jamey’s argument, because over time I’ve become more OK with it. Overall, I think there’s a happy middle ground. I can add another 2 cents after reading Jamey’s side of things…

  2. I just love a chance to get into a philosophical relationship-related discussion. I’m going to let Jamey dig his own grave with this and not give him too many good strong ideas, but I can’t let this one go un-discussed.

    You will discover that once you have kids with 25 hours of things to fit into a 24 hour day, you will be lucky to get anything at all. If it comes in a box delivered by the UPS guy you’re doing really good. You’ll also discover that Schnucks’ new cut-to-order deli counter is the biggest annoyance, but that’s another discussion.

    Now, I’m well aware that the kids thing is not an issue here, so he can’t use that. However (and there’s always a however in life), it does all depend on the gift. Who’s to say that he didn’t go into the quaint guitar shop with BB King himself playing in the corner, and once he found the best guitar went online to purchase that same thing for less money?

    Now you did pick an example of something that might require some extra attention. If you were getting a book, Amazon or the local bookstore will end up with the same result. In your example, unless Jamey has domain-knowledge of the gift, extra personal assistance might be appropriate.

    I will be intrigued to see his response. I expect a counter-example. The type of gift is definitely a factor and might need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis rather than a sweeping proclamation.

    I’ll also throw out another idea, gift cards. Ooohhhh you say. For the husband/wife bf/gf relationship I would likely say not. However, I love gift cards because I can get what I want. I also would like to request/suggest stores from where to receive cards. Home Depot cards are popular for me, but sometimes I’d rather have an Amazon card so I can get those awesome brown plectrums to replace my pink picks.

  3. I’ll respond more in detail tonight, but just to put this to rest, Nancy brought this up out of the blue last night. It wasn’t in reference to any specific gift…in fact, I don’t think I’ve gotten her a gift in a while.

  4. The last time I bought my wife a gift online it was a disaster. The (not one, but TWO) Snuggies arrive like 3 weeks late and weren’t nearly as funny as I thought they would be 🙁

    …and they smelled like pure gasoline.


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