Online shopping is becoming more and more commonplace. There are statistics that show e-commerce is gaining in popularity, especially with those who use a mobile device. (You can look those up on your own…there are tons of them!) I’m one of those people stuck in the dark ages of using a non-smart phone, so all of my online shopping is done on my desktop PC. That’s right – I don’t even own a laptop or tablet! So old-fashioned, huh? At any rate, I do use my computer to make purchases frequently, especially at Christmas time. Since we live out in the country, it’s nice to be able to shop online rather than make a trip to town, or at least make trips to town less of a chore. There are days when a simple trip to the grocery store completely exhausts me, so the ability to shop in my cushiony chair in my fuzzy pants is very, very appealing.
A couple of weeks ago, my energy level was quite low due to illness, so I decided to do my box-store shopping at Walmart.com in order to have just a quick trip to the grocery store for fresh food. I put five items in my virtual shopping cart: a giant sack of cat food, Some Postman’s after work snack of peanuts (in the jumbo container), Scotch tape, shower curtain hooks, and a clearance-priced cotton dress to put my order into the free-shipping range. And then I made the journey into town for milk, fruit and veggies.
A few days later, my online purchases began to arrive. For some reason, I found it enormously hilarious that the FedEx man delivered cat food to my door:
Having a 30 lb bag of cat food delivered to your door is quite nice when you barely have the energy to wear pants. But as the rest of my order trickled in, it began to bother me…
The five items I bought arrived in four different packages, from four different warehouses in three different states; each package arrived on a different day. How much did all that driving by the various carriers cost in terms of gasoline consumption and fumes? There were three cardboard boxes involved and one plastic envelope, plus air pillows and filler paper, not to mention tape. Sure, the carriers drive around anyway, and it gave several people a job for another day, but at what cost to the environment?
All of the packaging materials will be reused or recycled; it’s a way of life for us. But it really bothered me that it took four packages and four deliveries to get five items that would have taken just one side trip to Walmart for me to get them myself off the shelves at my local store, even if it would have worn me out. I’ve shopped at other retailers online that will combine your items into as few packages as possible, which seems much more responsible to me. Very seldom do I buy something and need it RIGHT NOW, so waiting a few extra days doesn’t bother me…especially if it means being more efficient with resources, money, and time.
I won’t stop shopping online; it’s far too convenient for me, and so nice when I would rather not leave my cocoon. But I will seek out online companies that make better use of everyone’s resources. If that means no longer getting a giant sack of Meow Mix from Walmart.com, so be it. I’m pretty sure Amazon and Target.com have the option to combine all items in as few boxes as possible. Maybe it’s not that big a deal, but it feels better in my head.
And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.