I like to buy local products and shop in locally owned establishments whenever possible.
Sometimes that's not possible, and I'm faced with a choice of driving to a bigger city (the one I live in has a population of under 3,000) to shop around in the hopes of finding what I want. Or I can buy online. With the price of gas... I buy a lot online.
I'm not the only man who has developed a strange hobby, and I have a budding collection of fountain pens and mechanical watches. I've extolled the virtues (according to me) of each in past posts and I won't dwell on those this time.
I'm starting to enjoy ordering things online. I don't particularly care which site I use to place my order. I do wish I could find American products I could afford when it comes to mechanical watches and fountain pens, and I'm hopeful that I'll be able to do that soon. Call it a goal of mine.
The fountain pen and the watch pictured here are items I found on eBay, and they're coming to me from Shanghai.
What's Exciting About Buying Online?
Some of you are old enough to remember "mail order", and it would be silly to say that ordering online is much different. It's slightly faster to order online than it is to use mail order. I don't have to wait for the mail to carry my order to the seller. I have my PayPal and checking accounts linked, so the ordering process is pretty much instant.
You know what I really like? Tracking! It's cool, at least to me. I get a link and I can watch--in incredibly slow motion, timed with a calendar--the source of my anticipation.
Computers and automation keep me updated far better than any person from any company I ordered anything from by mail. I know, for instance, that the pen pictured above is on a truck in Allen Park, MI and will arrive at my local post office around 6:00 AM tomorrow. By noon tomorrow I'll open the envelope, pull out the pen, and proceed to wash the nib and fill it with ink.
I think I'll break in my new acquisition by writing a chapter in Sexton Retribution by hand. That'll be cool. The pen is a Hero fountain pen made in China at a factory that used to be owned by Parker, a factory that was shuttered when Chairman Mao covered the country in communism, and was re-opened a while back. It's stainless steel and cost me a whopping $4.99, shipping included. If it's like the other Hero pen I bought, it will work great. The watch is an automatic (self-winding) skeleton watch, made of stainless steel, and cost me a whopping $16.99, also including shipping.
I'll be able to track that shipment around the world, too. I get a kick out of reading the updates and imagining my little purchase on planes, trucks, and conveyor belts on its way to me.
Strange, the things we find exciting, isn't it? I like my little collection of pens and watches. It amuses my wife to see me amused with such things. She can't complain, though...she's a scrapbooker.
That's it's own illness, and it's not that different from a man with a drawer full of fountain pens and watches.