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Confessions of a carfree shopper

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Confessions of a carfree shopper

Old 09-19-11, 07:54 PM
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Confessions of a carfree shopper

Do you ever go shopping?

As I've reduced my dependence on the automobile, I realize I almost never go out to buy a)clothes b)shoes c) books. I do often run out to pick up hardware and tools and bike parts, but those things are, like groceries, pretty close to my house.

Instead almost all clothes and shoes and books get purchased over the Internet. I've suddenly become a fan of Amazon Prime and REI.

I realize this is a pretty sad state of affairs, but really there's not a whole lot I can do about it. I have no energy to ride 5 miles to the nearest Kohl's to buy pants. I dislike shopping anyway, but the thought of taking my bike to the big box stores doesn't appeal. I'd rather sew a patch in my current Dockers.

This reminds me of when I was a kid in a rural area, where we did all our shopping by mail order.

Just saying...
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Old 09-19-11, 08:13 PM
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I have to confess that I've never bought anything over the Internet, other than downloads. I also confess that I buy most of my clothes at thrift stores. And I confess that I buy socks and underwear at a huge discount store, and shoes at an expensive shoe store.
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Old 09-19-11, 08:28 PM
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Pretty much the same as the OP here. I might shop locally for shoes, especially since I sometimes have a problem getting them to fit right, but I seem to have enough of them on hand to last a few more decades anyway.

Bike stuff is another matter. I'd like to support the local LBSs, and I do when I can, even if it sometimes means settling for stuff that's not really what I wanted, but most of them seem to have little or no interest in supporting me as a primarily commuting/ utility/ recreational rider, and if they don't carry the stuff I need or want I just have to look elsewhere for it.

I have mixed feelings about books - the big box boys pretty much killed off all the small independent book shops here, so now I do most of my book buying on line. However, I try to buy from small independent retailers whenever possible, and it almost always has been possible. Amazon etc notwitstanding, the internet seems to have helped some of them to survive by giving them exposure to a much larger potential customer base for merchandise that might have only a limited appeal in their local market.
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Old 09-19-11, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Pobble.808
I have mixed feelings about books - the big box boys pretty much killed off all the small independent book shops here, so now I do most of my book buying on line. However, I try to buy from small independent retailers whenever possible, and it almost always has been possible. Amazon etc notwitstanding, the internet seems to have helped some of them to survive by giving them exposure to a much larger potential customer base for merchandise that might have only a limited appeal in their local market.
I support a local book store that supports my community and my political beliefs. If they don't have a book I want, I have them order it for me rather than use Amazon. Maybe they order it from Amazon and tack on a service charge--I don't know and I don't care. I really don't want to live in a world where every book comes form Amazon!
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Old 09-19-11, 09:54 PM
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I pretty much shop as much as I would if I had a car. I buy clothes about as often as I need to (I generally don't buy clothes just for the sake of it), and I pretty much pick them up whenever I do my other shopping on the bike. It's the same deal with books and anything else I might decide to buy. To be honest I rarely buy things over the Internet, not because I have some ethical objection to it, but just because I'd rather pay cash anyway. It's also interesting to note just how many retailers offer cheaper prices to people paying with cash since the economy tanked (even though this recession has yet to hit 1990 levels).
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Old 09-20-11, 12:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Pobble.808
...Bike stuff is another matter. I'd like to support the local LBSs, and I do when I can, even if it sometimes means settling for stuff that's not really what I wanted, but most of them seem to have little or no interest in supporting me as a primarily commuting/ utility/ recreational rider, and if they don't carry the stuff I need or want I just have to look elsewhere for it....
Bike gear is what I find I need to get online, for the reasons above. The bike shops around here have low end 'comfort' gear, and high end racing gear, and little if anything for commuting or touring. I'd still be shopping online for bike gear if I had a car.
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Old 09-20-11, 12:31 AM
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I get socks and gloves at Fred Meyer's, which is on my way home and has groceries also. They've just expanded their clothing department so I might buy more clothing there in the future. Cross Dress For Less is only 1/4 mile out of my way so I hit it a lot. Target and Kohl's about a mile out of my way so occasionally. Target has the Wrangler Cargo Shorts I like so I hit them up once a year or so.
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Old 09-20-11, 02:17 AM
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Generally I shop on foot or by bike. I do order stuff via the web, but mostly I use the traditional methods. Actually I have been surprised, since getting rid of the car, at how little inconvenience is involved in shopping on two wheels.
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Old 09-20-11, 04:26 AM
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When I lived in a hilly city, decisions about where to buy alcohol were governed mainly by gravity. I preferred to pedal uphill to a supermarket, fill up my panniers with beer and wine, then roll back home.
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Old 09-20-11, 06:18 AM
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I have to try on clothing, or I'll end up with stuff that doesn't fit. I rarely buy clothes (explains why I've been looking tattered recently), but I'd rather ride out and try them on.

Books? I switched to eBooks almost a year ago. Don't get me wrong, I love the feel and smell of an old book, but I'm trying to downsize and my Kindle is currently storing nearly one hundred books (and climbing!).

I have a harder time going grocery shopping. It's a short trip, but I have to do it often. I end up putting it off as long as I can and eating beans until I get around to going.
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Old 09-20-11, 11:12 AM
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I'm a hardcore Marktplaats.nl shopper (it's Netherland's version of eBay and is actually owned by eBay now). I LOVE thrift stores and only order a few things new, like shoes or dress clothes. Most of my bike clothing comes from the local Aldi or Lidl when it's on special offer.

I tend to look at the stores for ideas, then try to buy it cheaper somewhere else. Hate to say it, but I'm a "price book" kinda girl. If I can finder cheaper I will.
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Old 09-20-11, 02:39 PM
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Here (in Ireland) a couple of the supermarket chains allow you to buy groceries online and have them delivered for about €5. Delivery is restricted to areas within a radius of about 20 miles of the supermarket.

Do you have this in the U.S.?
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Old 09-20-11, 03:23 PM
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Safeway does it. In fact they just sent me an email with an offer of my first delivery free of charge.
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Old 09-20-11, 04:21 PM
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This is a very old-fashioned thing. Before the 1940's in the US, almost everybody who lived outside of a metropolitan area used the Sears & Roebuck catalog.

We lived within walking distance of the shopping area but my dad took our only car for work. My mom would call the grocery and they delivered. Same with the drug store. Sometimes we'd walk, but not often with 4 young kids.

It makes sense to order things online (used to be "mail-order"). The shipping is consolidated into one vehicle that delivers to everybody.
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Old 09-20-11, 06:17 PM
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I shop at all the same places I did when I had a car. I just don't go as often. I'll put off purchases until the item is absolutely needed and the weather is good. The local bicycle shops usually don't have what I need at the time so I order things from the internet.

Out of four or so visits to the thrift stores in town none have had what I needed. There were other items that were desirable but not on my needs list.
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Old 09-20-11, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Wake
This is a very old-fashioned thing. Before the 1940's in the US, almost everybody who lived outside of a metropolitan area used the Sears & Roebuck catalog.
That's what I was thinking too. It's a twist on an old paradigm.

However, there's a side of the Internet business which doesn't work out well for the community. Your state is probably struggling to pay unemployment insurance and keep jobs, but mostly everything bought over the Internet manages to avoid paying state sales taxes.
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Old 09-21-11, 03:36 PM
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I won't buy clothes or shoes online, both are things I really need to try on to know whether they'll work for me. I find only about 10% of clothes/shoes I try on in stores fit me as expected/wanted, so if I were buying online, my success rate would be low.

For books, I use my local library for the most part. I have too many books, purchased when I was young and foolish, that I'll never re-read probably. I plan to weed them out one of these days. Anyways I'm all about the library for books. The only exception is the odd reference book that I might want to keep. Then I'll get it from the library first, and buy it if it's a keeper.

I echo the others' sentiments about bike stuff. It's hard to find the stuff you want locally at good prices. The internet has everything. I do ask my LBS to order in stuff but he's kind of flaky. Before I went on a month-long tour I asked him to order in 35mm presta tubes for me, and he promised they would be there in time. I went in the day I was leaving and he had forgotten to order them. He searched all through the store and came up with some tubes finally that he sold me. Once on tour, I looked at them and discovered they were schrader. Yes, I should have looked in the store. But he also should have sold me what I asked for! That's not the only time he's let me down but it is the most aggravating.
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Old 09-21-11, 03:49 PM
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I like to shop at places that are bike friendly. There's one little grocery store, run by an Iranian gentleman, where I often stop on my way home from work in the evening. It's so convenient because I don't even have to get off of my bike. He sells me whatever I need (usually a liter of beer ) through a sliding window.

I've also found a barber who lets me bring my bike into his shop and a pub that has a bike rack inside.

On the other hand, I boycott businesses that are known to be anti-cyclist--those that have opposed our bike lanes, car-free streets and so on.

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Old 09-21-11, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Wake
This is a very old-fashioned thing. Before the 1940's in the US, almost everybody who lived outside of a metropolitan area used the Sears & Roebuck catalog.

We lived within walking distance of the shopping area but my dad took our only car for work. My mom would call the grocery and they delivered. Same with the drug store. Sometimes we'd walk, but not often with 4 young kids.

It makes sense to order things online (used to be "mail-order"). The shipping is consolidated into one vehicle that delivers to everybody.
It wasn't limited to those outside of urban areas. The sears near us actually has a catalog sales area. You could order throughthe catalog and then pick it up. I remember getting Wire to setup Blackberry trelleses that way. I know I got other things the same way. Significant savings. That would have been the 60s.
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Old 09-21-11, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by gerv
Do you ever go shopping?

As I've reduced my dependence on the automobile, I realize I almost never go out to buy a)clothes b)shoes c) books. I do often run out to pick up hardware and tools and bike parts, but those things are, like groceries, pretty close to my house.

Instead almost all clothes and shoes and books get purchased over the Internet. I've suddenly become a fan of Amazon Prime and REI.

I realize this is a pretty sad state of affairs, but really there's not a whole lot I can do about it. I have no energy to ride 5 miles to the nearest Kohl's to buy pants. I dislike shopping anyway, but the thought of taking my bike to the big box stores doesn't appeal. I'd rather sew a patch in my current Dockers.

This reminds me of when I was a kid in a rural area, where we did all our shopping by mail order.

Just saying...
Yes. I shop for nearly everything on my bicycle. Some trips I save up for... I don't want to run to Sam's Club for a pair of pants, but when I go I take the cooler/frozen 2-liter water bottle, and get some meat, milk and eggs along with everything else I needed from there.

I don't like to shop online for shoes and clothes because not everything fits the same. Some things I buy online... for instance, there's ONE bike shop here in town and they don't stock a lot of the parts I need, so I order online, as it's just as fast as having them order it, it's cheaper and it comes right to my door.
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Old 09-21-11, 08:59 PM
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I normally buy the smaller bag of flour now.
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Old 09-22-11, 07:29 AM
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shopping

I think gerv deserves some sort of award for most thought-provoking posts.

I buy most of my bike stuff online, except the bikes themselves. The LBS aren't all that close to me and after biking to work and back, and getting groceries and such, I don't feel like riding another 4 miles to go to the bike shop when I can get stuff online.

If there is an emergency and I need something from a LBS, then I will ride over.

What the internet buying has done has forced me to sometimes buy too much stuff. And I try to anticipate things I will need in advance so I don't have to make emergency trips to the bike shop when I'm tired.

In order to get free shipping sometimes I buy enough stuff to qualify for free shipping. So if I need 2 armadillo tires, instead of buying 2 and paying shipping, I buy 4 and get free shipping. The result is I have plenty of good tires sitting around. I hope they don't go bad before I use them.

I rarely shop for clothes [note to self, it's time to buy new underwear]. Where I work my uniform is supplied by the employer. I buy shirts and sweatshirts at the thrift store, and new shorts when they are on sale. I don't own one stitch of bicycle clothing except a rain jacket and a floresecent vest.

I don't buy books, I use the library. From what I have read in these forums I might get a kindle. I do own three bicyle repair manuals.

When not shopping and riding to work I hang around the house and I find myself looking forward to reading the posts on this website. I love being around the bicycle culture, and since bicyclists aren't beating a path to my door, I can turn on my computer anytime and be a part of a community of like-minded people. There is a lot of useful information on this site and a lot of times I just read the different posts and try to absorb as much knowledge as I can.
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Old 09-22-11, 08:17 AM
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I confess that I do shop at a couple of local big box stores, mainly because of their better and more secure bike parking, and too bad it seems that some of the local little stores haven't picked up on providing the same type of quality of parking for cyclists.
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Old 09-22-11, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Scheherezade
I normally buy the smaller bag of flour now.
I buy 3-5 lb bags of potatoes instead of the 10 lb bags.

And since I live 25 miles from most decent clothing stores anyway, I have always used mail-order a lot for them. And I live close to the public library, which has as many books as I can read.
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Old 09-22-11, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by hammandegger

What the internet buying has done has forced me to sometimes buy too much stuff. And I try to anticipate things I will need in advance so I don't have to make emergency trips to the bike shop when I'm tired.
I've noticed this too. When buying bike stuff, I might need to spend $40, but the $10 shipping really skews the economics, so I buy more tubes and cables and whatnot to make the order larger. And yes I too have a couple of extra tires hanging around.

Lately, I've tried to spend more at the LBS, just because it ultimately costs a bit less overall and my 6% tax supports the state too, whereas my $10 shipping fees only helps UPS.
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