Ode to In-Person Shopping

The pandemic has made shopping online a national pastime – and not everyone is happy. For some, the only way to shop is in-person.

By Wendi Rank

I don’t want to brag, but I’m somewhat of an ace at internet shopping.

Don’t shy away from giving me the credit I deserve here. There’s more to it than clicking items into your basket. You need multiple windows open, for price comparison. Then you need to check Rakuten for rebates. Next is RetailMeNot for elusive promo codes.

And don’t forget shipping. Buy a pair of socks. Nail polish. Cabbage. Anything to avoid shipping fees. That’s wasted money, guys.

I hate crowds, talking to people, and trying on clothes. I’m also a bit of a germophobe. And disordered store shelves stress me out. I know it’s not my job to put everything where it belongs, so I consider it volunteering. You’re welcome, Target!

When the pandemic began the inability to shop in-person had no impact on my life. But the pandemic is like one big game of chicken, constantly trying to make us flinch. I flinched on Mother’s Day.

I opened my email that morning to find a gift card from my mom. Like moms everywhere, she knew how to hit me where I live. She wasn’t satisfied with an Amazon or Starbucks gift card.

It was a gift card to a bookstore.

The pandemic had shuttered both bookstores and libraries, robbing me of the hours I spend browsing their shelves. Book purveyors are otherworldly, magic, even a little demigod-ish. That kind of wizardry must be discovered in person. Surfing the internet for books and calling it satisfying is like surfing in a bathtub and calling it the ocean.

I held onto that gift card until my bookstore re-opened. The latest by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen sat on a shelf, glowing like a dream. If you haven’t experienced their twisty tales, start with The Wife Between Us. Leave out some food for the kids or they’ll starve as you lose interest in everything but Nellie’s marriage.

Poor Ashley Primis at Philadelphia magazine is in even worse shape than me. Her happy place is in-person shopping. The pandemic has strained her ability to prowl boutiques and malls. Online shopping seems a cruel punishment.

Her home has turned into a sorting machine, where packages arrive, disappoint, and are sent back. She gets sucked into reviews – interpreting reviews is a graduate-level class I don’t have the space here to offer – making the online experience overwhelming.

And we haven’t even hit Black Friday yet. Ms. Primis, I’m here for you. Call me. We can work together to guide you past those pesky reviews.

Ashley Primis’s full article can be found here.



Wendi Rank is a Willow Grove native with a graduate degree from LaSalle University. She has worked as a school nurse, a registered nurse and nurse practitioner in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. She has previously written for the journal Nursing.


Stay Connected, Stay Informed

Subscribe for great stories in your community!

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.