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TANGENT Internet offers little relief from stress of holiday shopping

This year I joined the ever-growing number of online shoppers and did some of my Christmas shopping on the web. Generally I don't trust online shopping. In the early days of the Internet boom I knew some people who had their credit card numbers stolen after making online purchases. That was enough to scare me away from online shopping for all these years. But; after what has been an absolutely tremendous year I was feeling brave and allowed myself to be lured by the hype.

It all sounds so easy and so wonderful. All you have to do is point and click, scroll, click, scroll, click, scroll, click, and eventually punch in your address and card number. So; there I sat in my pajamas with my morning breath, no cold air, no half hour search for parking, no crowds, etc. Instead; of the normal hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, my carefully picked out gifts were scheduled to arrive at my doorstep in three to five business days.

Sure enough, on that third business day I returned home from work to find a note from UPS stuck to my door. They; had made a first attempt to deliver my items. I; called the number listed and was told that I could come pick up the package, or they could make another attempt to deliver it. I; asked that it be delivered -- that was, after all, the point. The; next day when I returned from work I had another note from UPS on my door; a second attempt had been made. Apparently; the company I ordered from requested a signature for delivery so they were not able to just leave the package with a neighbor, or on my doorstep. So; I had to call the number again and make arrangements to come pick up the package. But; of course I couldn't pick it up that day which happened to be a Friday. And; they were to be closed all weekend. 

; As I drove out to UPS Monday morning while out running errands I grew increasingly indignant. The temperature was below zero, and I was expecting doorstep delivery of my Christmas purchases. If I was going to drive out in the cold and park and wait in line I might as well have gone to the store and just bought the items. I pulled into the parking lot just after 9 a.m. only to learn that UPS doesn't open until 10 a.m. 

; O.K., obviously I'm just not going to be able to avoid the holiday shopping stress. I; resigned myself to this fact simply to avoid allowing this relatively small setback to ruin my day. And; now, several days later, as I look back on this whole experience I realize that I actually enjoy the "stress" of holiday shopping. It; is just a part of the whole holiday experience and I should not have tried to sidestep it this year. I think there is something to be said about going out in public and interacting with other humans, especially around the holidays. 

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; Emily Otto of Rochester is a free-lance writer.

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