09 December 2005


I e-shop mostly when I can't find something (in the quantity I want, at least) in a brick and mortar store. My wife hates the mall crowds and prefers to shop at home, even though she doesn't really believe that it saves much time. Both of us, however, are astronished at how often the results, even from large national chains, is that "we don't have any more of that", or we can't get it to you for weeks and weeks and weeks. Kmart, Sur La Table, and L.L. Bean, for example, are remarkably bad at actually being able to sell you the things that they advertise as being for sale. At Kmart, they can't even fulfill orders when they have told you that they have the amount that you have ordered in stock. Sur La Table takes about three weeks to ship things you order. L.L. Bean has bare cupboards with a large share of their advertised items no longer for sale.

I've singled them out, but I'm sure that they aren't the only ones. Some one has apparently convinced a lot of businesses that excess inventory is a much bigger problem than unfulfilled orders. As a result, brick and mortar stores, where at least when they say they have something in stock, you can believe them because it is there in front of you and the shipping time is the half an hour it takes you to load the car and drive home, aren't too threatened yet.

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