Most of you probably have no idea what showrooming is, but the truth is you probably do it several times a week. It’s happening more and more and it can be both a good and bad thing. Showrooming is basically using physical stores as a showroom for your purchases. You go to Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, and department stores to see what you like. You try things on, you hold them in your hand, you flip the pages, and you pick the brains of the store employees. You pretty much do everything possible…except buy the product. You’re lucky if you even get into your car before you’re browsing the internet looking for the best deal.
I get it. I do the same thing. I have a hard time picturing product measurements and colors. Pictures on the internet only show you so much. There’s something about seeing with my own eyes and holding with my own hands. But I have to wonder…how long will it be until we no longer have the showrooms to visit? How long until our product questions can only be answered post-purchase by a customer service agent in India? Businesses can’t pay rent, stock inventory, or hire employees if they’re not moving product.
We’re taking advantage of our resources. We use services we aren’t paying for because it’s convenient, cheap, and “hassle-free.” We’re taking consumerism to an entirely new level.
Our irresponsibility towards our resources will have consequences. Although not quite as concerning as pollution or world hunger, I am certain that we will experience a loss due to our showrooming tendencies.
We will miss out socially as well. There’s something about walking into a book store and interacting with another human. You walk into the store seeking a good read, but you find yourself in conversation about the new best-seller or an all-time favorite. You tell the desperate guy where he can get the most for his used textbook (which…ironically…is online). You get some fresh air and can listen to music during the car ride. You might even walk out with a pile of paper wrapped in fresh binding. And wouldn’t that be something?
I recently read a book to my daughter and the inside of it had a letter to the parents:
“The Library of Congress conducted a survey recently that showed that the most important factor in inspiring children to read on their own is not how often the children were read to by their parents–although this is very beneficial and enjoyable–but by how often they saw their parents reading books.”
This rings true on so many levels. Don’t get me wrong; I love technology. I like having my textbooks on my iPad so I don’t have to carry around 30 pounds of homework on my back. I like having inspiration at my fingertips. I’m writing a blog for Pete’s sake. But I also wonder if we’re loosing something by our showrooming. I want my daughter to know what a bookstore is. So I compromise. If I have a list of items to purchase, I buy a few in the store and I save a few to find online. Variety is the spice of life.
Oh, and I also think I’ll drag out some hard copy novels to read in front of my daughter. I don’t want her to think an iPad is the only source of knowledge or entertainment; she’s too little to understand that mommy is reading, not watching a movie.
So save the bookstores. Buy a book. Meet some people. Change the world.