I write a monthly column over at AlliOSNews. It’s a techie site – extolling all the goodies and gunpowder on the Apple OS. (SHINY TOY!) I’m TechMom. And these are my stories on how technology is really used. This is what you must deal with, as I am a Silicon Valley nerd by day.
I’m well aware it’s Thursday. TechMom Tuesday is typically published the first Tuesday of every month, but this month your techie insights were delivered late because the birthday noted below and other technology fire drills. I reserve the right to rant more or less as the technical goings-on, well…go on.
The TechTots and I recently loaded up the TechMom Mobile and headed south for a long weekend celebrating my father’s 70th birthday.
(We’ll call him PapaStavo – he doesn’t get a Tech moniker because he is clueless when it comes to all the newfangled gizmos and gadgets. You know, like the concept of computing. But I digress…)
In honor of seven decades gone by, I whipped up a video slideshow of the guest list in days of yore reminiscing key moments with the birthday boy. (I’ll give you an easy tutorial in the near future.) It was funny and tear jerking, sweet and tearful, all at the perfect moments. (Indulge me here, ok?) Alas, our beloved hosts did not own an Apple TV. And as it turns out, the latest and greatest entertainment systems do not hold a lot of love for DVD-Rs.
So it was off to the mall to procure an HDMI adaptor.
I remember this mall. I spent a good number of hours there as a teenager. (Native San Fernando Valley Girl at your service – like, omigawd totally.) Once upon a time it was a two-story shopping center; it was a giant oval. You’d walk the length, then ascend/descend to the other floor and walk back. Done and done.
Apparently in the decades I’ve been gone, immersing myself in the geekdom of Silicon Valley, Westfield Architects took to the structure and transformed it into Pan’s Labyrinth of shops. It is now big and scary – a million stores – none of which carry what I want.
You’ve likely heard the term “showrooming.” This is when people wander through a brick and mortar store before heading online to find the best deal. In turn, stores have reduced the number of goods actually available.
245 stores (minus the 25 “fine watch and jewelry establishments” – seriously, why are mall’s so obsessed with overpriced baubles). Most are now focused on clothing – either boutique-y throwbacks (Betsey Johnson the 80s have passed, let them rest in peace), or super high-end designers where the store features a maximum of two ensembles.
However, I realize, all too often I’m frustrated by the lack of items I’m immediately searching for when in a physical environment. Customer service has gone by the wayside as knowledgeable individuals no longer staff big box stores – so any search is a crapshoot. And even if you do find what you’re looking for, no guarantee it’s the right size or color.
If you’re lucky, you’ll hear, “We can order that for you.”
But I can do that myself now. Because there’s an app for that. A quick peek at my iPhone shows a whole folder dedicated to shopping. (Although to be fair, when you have twin TechTots you never want to go anywhere ever again – see the Great Target Tantrum for proof.)
I have apps for (as found in alphabetical order on my phone):
Nordstrom – The latest looks are always at your fingertips
ModCloth – Your go-to source for unique fashion, decor, & inspiration.
Zappos – Shoe shopping app does its darndest to deliver that WOW service customers have come to know and love.
AMC Theatres – The amazing place where movies want to play.
LiveNation – Brings you concerts, festivals, and tickets in one app, personalized just for you.
Ticketmaster – Get the tickets you want on the go with the Ticketmaster app.
Instacart – Groceries delivered in an hour without a trip to the store.
Munchery – Reinventing the weeknight dinner, and making it ridiculously easy to put a delicious, high-quality meal on the table in just a few minutes.
Starbucks – Keeps you connected to your card, so you can just scan to pay.
Casa.com – From everyday must-haves to specialty collections, Casa has over 45,000 products for every room in your home.
Soap.com – Remember that awesome time waiting in line at the drugstore? Yeah, we don’t either.
AfterSchool.com – Gear up your little star from head to toe with thousands of products for kids’ sports & activities.
At the Ballpark – Your favorite mobile companion when visiting your any Major League Baseball ballpark.
Diapers.com – Get everything your baby needs in just 1-2 days.
Additionally, along with instant access has come “instant buying.” I remember a time in the days of my youth when I would go to Blockbuster or Tower Records. I would meander, browse and mull my options. I would deeply consider whether or not I wanted to spend that $3.47 for a night with Titanic. I would hem and haw over how badly I liked the entirety of Filter’s album just to obtain the single “Take A Picture.”
These days? Shoes, coffee, movies or music, just to name a few – “That looks interesting” <click> – and you own it.
In our tricked-out tech world, what role do you think the physical store will continue to play?
PS. I acquired my cable at the Apple Store, promptly lost my cable at the birthday party and had to order a new one via my Apple Store app after I got home. Because the mall scares me.