As I was thinking about this just now, I realized that I don’t know how to shop anymore.
In other words, I don’t have the faintest idea how to buy shoe goo, today, in a real place. I guess 10 years ago I might have googled for shoe stores or department stores, and then called them, but I can’t possibly imagine doing that now.
My (and I know I’m not alone) go-to now is to order on Amazon and forget about it for a day or two. That is really easy and works for almost anything. But it’s not the same as getting it today. And I’d really prefer to buy from a person in a place if I can.
For example, I needed a watch battery for a garage door opener. Rather than try to figure out where to buy that in the real world, I ordered it on amazon and waited. That seems silly for such a tiny thing, that is actually available in lots of places.
What i would really like is a shopping interface like amazon, but that just points me to local merchants. Someone I can walk to on my way to the subway.
You are probably saying: but google shopping already does this! And you are right, sort of. They do offer a “find in stock nearby” option — but the problem is that it’s only got big box stores and dedicated e-commerce sites. My guess is that there is a bottle of Gorilla Glue closer to me than the nearest Home Depot.
The folks at TalkTo are one group that’s approaching this problem — by surfacing answers to the”is this in stock” type questions via a phone-to-web interface, and publishing them online.
It would be great if this, or something like it, works, and I can learn to shop locally again.