Monday, September 17, 2012

Retail therapy

We were discussing online shopping the other day, and I must admit that I am a devotee of this modern trend. Not completely, but quite a bit. For me it goes like this: if I know exactly what I want, I shop online. If I haven't really made up my mind or worse still haven't got the foggiest notion about what I want (such as the next book to read, in particular) then there's no substitute (in fact nothing anywhere near as good) as stumbling into a few stores and browsing, coming across something I didn't have a clue existed. Oh God I love a good bookstore! And I'm quite partial to garden centres and hardware stores too, but more for the cornucopia-style pleasures they offer.

However, when I know exactly what I want and it can
be a pain to go shopping for something because it's
not easy to find, I love shopping online. And the
best bit, even better than the shoppin' n surfin' is when
the package arrives at my doorstep. Pictured above is
today's modest purchase: a packet of half a zillion chervil
seeds and a thousand or so lamb's lettuce seeds from
The Italian Gardener. I'm dividing up the packets with
my old pal Fenella, then mailing her share to her, and
hopefully that large, empty wine-barrel planter of hers
will be lush, green and tasty two months from now.
It's ironic that one of the real pleasures of super-modern online shopping is the old-style one of opening up parcels sent through the mail. It harks back to the late 19th and early 20th century worlds of buying from catalogues (such as the famous Sears Roebuck catalogues in the USA back then). It's not just garden stuff that I buy online – I have another hobby of collecting, and almost everything for that arrives by the Australia Post courier. My courier knows me so well he toots the horn of his van and waves when he sees me walking by on Illawarra Road!

I can understand the Japanese love of wrapping gifts
beautifully. It increases the thrill. Now, this package
of garlic from an online supplier is hardly up to the
fine arts of Nippon, but it's multi-layered in the right
way. First the outer brown paper wrapping with
addresses and stamps on it goes, the box opens... to
reveal padding and another layer of brown paper
packaging, with lots of handy instructions. Love it!

Finally, the inner sanctum of garlic bulbs is revealed
like so many precious gems glittering in a casket.
Oh come on, calm down, it's not that good! I think I would have made a good archaeologist though, unearthing ancient treasures, opening dusty caskets or urns which have laid there for centuries. Next life, maybe, for that one. In the meantime I'm happy to open packages in the mail. Almost as good.

My favourite, absolute favourite bit (and this happens occasionally with my collecting) is to open a parcel containing something which, quite disgracefully, I have completely forgotten that I have ordered (usually due to the lapse of time). Surprise! That's almost decadent, that bit, but it has happened a couple of times. With the chervil seeds, I ordered them last Thursday and here they are Monday, and so I was expecting them. Still loved opening the parcel!


Lithopsland said...

Too right! After quickly scrolling down the screen, I thought the garlic were Chinese pork buns and though gee, they would be nice to order online, hehe. Time for tea I think. :)

Mel said...

I've never bought seeds online (dresses on the other hand)! There's a few seeds I'd like to get that I've not found in the real it shall be.

Michelle said...

It's almost too easy and fun to get seeds online and I've got a big box of them to prove that!

Dirtgirl said...

Nice to read of others with the same obsession as me, gardening books, hardware stores and plants. I too have ordered so many plants/ seeds online. In fact without them, my garden would be bare. Always such great value and the courier from Aust Post knows me by my first name he is here so often! Just love opening my purchases. Hubby just raises his eyebrows and says, "More stuff for the garden, I don't know where you're going to put them all". Never fear, there is always room for something new in the garden, even if it does mean keep digging up more areas of lawn!

Jamie said...

Glad to see I have fellow travellers in the online shopping lurk.

And Dirtgirl, go ahead and get rid of that lawn. When I started on my garden here it was all lawn, with a couple of trees on the perimeter. Hasn't been a blade of grass here for years!

Catherine said...

Oh the packaging! Yes, Jamie, it is that good. I love quick service but sometimes the wait for online orders is too short to build up the proper anticipation! Order something from Apple & it turns up within a scandalously short 24 hours. Do you buy plants online, or only seeds/bulbs? I did years ago but found they rarely thrived.

Jamie said...

Catherine, I've only bought seeds and bulbs online so far. Like your experience, I heard tales of plants bought online and they didn't end well. I guess succulents could cope with it OK.
And the seed catalogues are cool. Have you seen the Baker's Creek catalogues? Vegie prn from Missouri, USA. it's at

agreenearth said...

It is exciting when your online parcel arrives.

So pleased to have discovered your special blog.

I have a $150 Bunnings Gift Voucher Giveaway at my blog A Green Earth and I would welcome you and your readers to enter.

Melinda said...

I thought I had an online shopping problem when the Australia Post courier slows down when I'm walking along the street (probably to collect a parcel from the post office) and waves at me from his van. Now I know I'm not the only one!

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