December 2004

To reduce traffic congestion on local streets, this year I decided to do my holiday shopping on the Information Superhighway, figuring that my monthly investment in broadband would be much cheaper than what I’d spend in gas and aggravation on the roads and in the malls.

I know this isn’t a novel concept; many people have been doing their shopping this way for several years. But up until now, I’ve resisted doing all of my shopping on the Web because of the Spirit factor (it’s hard to feel festive online save the occasional holiday-related popup boxes.) Nevertheless, Wal-Mart’s Walton family might have to scale back on their gift lists this year because of my absence.

The first place I “drove” to was e-Bay, attempting to recover some vintage Milton-Bradley and Parker Brothers board games – most of which are out of production – for my three-year-old daughter.

e-Bay traffic was heavy, particularly for any item I was interested in. Some sellers were even kind enough to provide a visitor counter at the bottom to inform me just how unlikely it would be to “win” this item at a reasonable price. I was stalking a game called “Which Witch?” and so was most of America, including the wealthy Walton family, it seemed, because somebody – every time – was willing to pay an extortionate amount for it.

To make a long story short, my plan ended before it even got started. I broke down, went to the mall and procured a Pretty Pony playset for retail. And despite the crowds, traffic and paying $30 to fill my gas tank, it was still fun to hear the holiday music and see Santa nestled between the escalator and Sears. Technology, like everything else I suppose, has to be used in moderation.

Have a happy, healthy and safe holiday season.

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