In praise of… bricks and mortar stores

Although I do buy some outdoor and travel stuff online from time to time, there are times when I much prefer to head into shops to see what’s out there.

Yes, you can see what an item looks like onscreen, especially if you’re using a 22″ monitor rather than the screen on a smartphone, but you can’t get the whole picture.

If it’s a piece of clothing that I haven’t seen before, then I want to see what the fabric’s like, what the cut’s like and whether the features on the garment are in keeping with what I’ve got in mind.

If a favourite item has been upgraded or revised, then I like to see whether the changes are for the better, or for the worse. I bought a great pair of outdoor trousers a while ago and I fancied another pair of the same. Trouble is, the pocketing has been changed on the latest version – they’ve lost the cargo pocket on the right thigh and gained a smaller one on the left side.

End result? No sale, even though I know that the trousers will last me a while.

I spent a fair amount of time on Sunday last taking a look around several shops (outdoor and otherwise) as I wanted a new pair of trousers. I got what I wanted in the end – a pair of soft shell trousers with a few zipped pockets, some give on the waistband and a belt too.

Although there was an offer of ‘Buy one, get the second half price’, I passed on getting the second pair, largely because I only wanted one as the waistline is currently being reduced (if The Hairy Bikers can do it, so can I – especially as I’m losing @ a kilo per week at the moment). And besides, the store gives 10% off full price items if you have a National Trust membership card – so a £30 bill became a £27 one in no time.

So, am I abandoning purchases on the internet? Probably not, but I’ll more than likely to restrict internet transactions to Kindle books and semi-obscure DVDs that I can’t track down in local stores (Inspector De Luca, Jean de Florette, Filmed In Supermarionation, The Singing Ringing Tree or The Flashing Blade).

Bricks and mortar stores still have their place, and it will be a shame if it proves to be otherwise!

About Keith Rickaby

I’m a writer and photographer who has worked in the tailoring trade and the outdoor/travel clothing, equipment and footwear game. Past lives include working as an outdoor instructor, managing three bands and doing PR work through an agency or my own contacts. Was a student in the mid-90s and whilst I'm originally from the North East, I'm now based in Yorkshire & back out there working for a travel and outdoor activity based retailer.
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