I’m not nostalgic for the old days when shopping for electronics meant dealing with the hassle of driving to a mall, finding parking and studying inserts in the weekend newspaper for deals. Still, there was a certain excitement about hauling a stereo or computer home. Receiving a brown cardboard box with the Amazon smile logo emblazoned on it is more efficient but feels just a little less satisfying.
It's a shame to see the likes of Radio Shack vanish, but really, they dug their own grave with such enthusiasm they almost fell into it. They refused to see how their business model was being eaten alive from all sides, how one device now does the work of two dozen, and naïvely hoped that their deals with wireless carriers would keep them alive. No such luck.
With me, this kind of thrill of discovery, of hauling home the goodies, took place in other arenas — the book, video, and record stores I haunted habitually in New York, and still do when the opportunity arises. Plundering Amazon isn't quite the same. It is possible to make wonderful discoveries in the cracks and crevices of that place, but there's something about getting out of the house and bringing it all home that they can't reproduce.