Why shop online?

by Richard Seltzer, seltzer@samizdat.com, www.samizdat.com

Copyright 1999 by Richard Seltzer. All rights are reserved.

The following article is based on the introduction from Shop Online the Lazy Way, a book written by Richard Seltzer, which was published in August 1999 by Macmillan. It is available in paperback directly from our online store at http://store.yahoo.com/samizdat or from Amazon.com. It is also available in a Braille edition from National Braille Press (www.nbp.org).

Now that the rights have reverted to the author, he is free to update and revise this online version. Please send email to alert him of changes and interesting new sites that you have encountered.

If you have never shopped online before, or if you have only dabbled, you're probably wondering what all the hype is about. You figure that except for those folks who live hundreds of miles from the nearest store, shopping online is a convenience, not a necessity. So how convenient could it be? What could be easier than hopping in your car and driving to the mall ... and fighting for a parking space, and walking from store to store and aisle to aisle looking for the items you want, and waiting in the check-out line, and carrying those bags out to the car through a drenching rain storm, and driving home through the traffic as the rain turns to ice beneath your wheels?

You have choices and will continue to have them. At least in your lifetime, Congress is not likely to outlaw physical stores.

In many instances, shopping over the Internet is a quick and easy alternative. Sometimes it enables you to do things that otherwise would be impossible for you, or can save you trouble and money -- lots of it. When that isn't the case, just shop the way you always have.

You should shop on the Internet when:

Let's face it, we sleepwalk most of the time, operating on automatic pilot, doing things the way we always have, without considering alternatives. My role, and the role of this book, is to wake you up to the ease of doing your shopping a new way -- the "lazy way."

There are no macho techie points for doing everything online. The objective is to find and buy what you want with the greatest of ease. You are aiming for what Chinese philosophers called "wu-wei" or "perfect action nothingness." That's the effortlessness that comes from being in harmony with nature. You are learning the right way of living. You are becoming a sage. And you thought you were just shopping?

In Part 1, we cover aspects of online shopping that apply no matter what you want to buy. Chapter One covers the basics -- how to find your way to the online stores you want by way of the paths that others have laid out for you. Chapter Two provides the information you need to become an independent shopper, using search engines and price-comparison sites, and auctions. Chapter Three gives you pointers on advanced techniques, which can help you become a creative shopper -- sharing experiences with and getting advice from other shoppers, and becoming a full member of the online community.

In Part 2, we lead you on a series of shopping trips. In each of these cases, the opportunities differ because of the different kinds of things you are looking for:

Chapter 4 -- books, music, and videotapes

Chapter 5 -- computers and software

Chapter 6 -- travel

Chapter 7 -- food

Chapter 8 -- money, including loans, insurance, and investments

Chapter 9 -- cars

Chapter 10 -- real estate, including houses, apartments, and roommates

You'll be amazed at the variety and wealth of what is available online in those shopping categories:

Give it a try. If online shopping suits your style and your needs, perhaps you'll discover a new world and a new you.

The rest of the book (Shop Online the Lazy Way):

Part One covers aspects of online shopping that apply no matter what you want to buy.

Part 2 covers special cases, where there are major differences in how you shop based on the kinds of things you are looking for:

This site is Published by Samizdat Express, 213 Deerfield Lane, Orange, CT 06477. (203) 553-9925. seltzer@samizdat.com

Please visit our online store at http://store.yahoo.com/samizdat

You may also want to check Richard's Online Shopping Directory www.samizdat.com/shopping.html, which has links to all the sites mentioned in the entire book, plus sites he has learned of since the book went into production.

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For a thorough discussion of this topic, buy Richard's book Web Business Bootcamp (published by Wiley) http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0471164194/brsamizdatexpres