Christmas time almost inevitably means Christmas shopping. Not so much for us this year, as we are opting for a small family Christmas with just us and the kids, and we aren’t buying presents for anyone adult either. (This is following the rejection of my ‘Secret Santa’ idea from the wider family, who didn’t see the merit in each person getting one other person just one large present rather than everyone buying everyone a small present each).
The growth of online shopping of course means that you don’t HAVE to subject yourself to spending hours in a freezing car park looking for a spot to squeeze the family estate car into, before navigating wild throngs of people only to discover that you can’t find what you’re looking for – but then of course there’s always the worry that the postal system might fail to deliver in time…something completely possible will the threat of THE SNOW constantly lurking in the somewhat nippy background.
So…I decided to take the middle ground. Which involves using Argos.
Many years ago, when my sister and I were just little people ourselves, reading the Argos Catalogue was one of the highlights of our Christmas time preparations. We’d spend hours poring over the entire thing before deciding on the all important number one item to put in our request letter to Father Christmas. And these catalogues do still exist…but I don’t have one.
What I do have is the Argos iPad app – which provides the possibility of quickly and easily reserving items online so that you know they are in store and can be picked up efficiently, without the worry of waiting for the poor heavily-laden postman to arrive (I’m sure he’ll be cheering the notion, too!).
Initially, my brain resisted the idea of using such a thing as it seemed unlikely it could live up to my nostalgic memories of childhood pleasure. Could it allow me to browse and discover effectively in the same way as a paper catalogue?
Well as it turns out, it’s actually pretty good. I knew exactly what I wanted for the Wee Man – ironically he requested the very same thing that I remember hankering after from Argos when I was a child…Hungry Hungry Hippos. Bubby D, being unable to talk of course did not give us the same clarification, so I needed to do a bit of browsing for her…
First job – track down the Hippos. So I clicked on toys, clicked on games, then… and voila – there the greedy little blighters were, ready to be added to my basket. It was at that point that I suddenly realised that I could have just typed ‘Hungry Hippos’ in the search box which would take me straight to it (I tried it, just to prove a point to myself and it did indeed work) but it wasn’t perhaps as fun as browsing through all the games on offer…
Job number two – find something for Bubby D. Handily, something new to the iPad app is the library function, which contains ‘magazines’ on different subjects with suggestions and links to products for easy basket adding or shortlisting (which allows you to list possible products you might be interested in for future reference, without actually adding them to your basket). Flicking to the toy magazine, I decided to search for inspiration there. I did find browsing the magazine a little difficult from time to time – the orientation of the pages changes so you either have to navigate down or across – and the pages did seem turn-resistant in response to some of my swipes too. Nevertheless I did find one idea, a pink cosy coupe car that I know Bubby D would love! I wasn’t quite sure that we’d have enough room for her to use it in the house though, so onto the shortlist it went prior to a consultation with the Other Half.
So time to move on to my other idea – finding her a doll. She always seems to gravitate towards them and the Wee Man insisted on getting her a dolls pushchair he found at a car boot sale the other day, so it’d be nice to get her something to push in it! I wanted a robust, soft bodied, no fancy weeing-eating-pooing-crying or whatever dolls do these days kind of doll, so I searched for ‘doll’, browsed through the refining categories and found what I wanted within a few seconds.
A few quick keystrokes later and both items were in my basket and reserved for instore pickup with a minimum of fuss. Now that’s one thing Father Christmas never got to do with the paper catalogue when we were kids!