What does same-day delivery say about us?

I read a post about Amazon’s same-day delivery. If you sign up to be an Amazon Prime member and you order something that costs $35 or more, and you order it by noon, you get it delivered that same night.

So my first thought was, wow, that is so cool! If I forget I need something that day, I can order it in the morning, and by that night, I’ve received it.  It comes to my door.  Isn’t that awesome?

But then I felt a bit sad, and a bit wistful. I think this really says that today, we as a people aren’t required to keep a calendar and schedule important things. We can be lazy and forgetful. Businesses are encouraging that behavior, and we are embracing it.

quick deliveryWhat makes us order things at the last second?  Usually, it means we forgot.  We forgot the birthday of someone we care about.  We forgot we needed to purchase something for an upcoming trip.  We knew we were going out somewhere special and needed to wear that perfect something, but we couldn’t be bothered to go out and get that new outfit.  In years past, that meant we would do without for that specific night. We’d feel like crap, but we’d vow never to do it again. And next year when our loved ones’ birthday rolled around or that special event came, we’d have it on the calendar, and a week ahead of time, we’d buy that gift and we’d wrap it and mail it.  That day would matter.  Our actions would matter. We wouldn’t forget again. We’d take the time to do it right.

In fact, this reminds me of one of my birthdays.  My mom had passed away the year before, and my first birthday without Mom rolled around. And my dad forgot my birthday. He didn’t realize if he wanted me to get a card, he’d have to go buy one. So my birthday rolled around and I didn’t hear from him, and I didn’t get a card. But I KNEW in my heart, he probably forgot and I wasn’t upset at all.  It was the new post-mom world.  Then, a day or two later, he left me a voice mail message with a singing Happy Birthday song, and he added the fact that he forgot. And he said he would never do that again. He didn’t realize he had to actually buy cards.  So I laughed, and thought that was that.

Until the next day. And the next day. And the day after that. My dad sent me three cards one at a time, each with hysterical words in them – about all the crazy reasons he forgot my birthday.  I laughed out loud and told him it was really okay.  But I kept those cards and still have them today.  And I loved that he felt upset enough to do the crazy three-day thing.  And then the next year, and for the remaining two years after that that my dad was alive, I received a birthday card way before my birthday. And I received the singing voice mail message on my birthday (which I still listen to). He realized if he needed to get me something, he needed to make it a priority. And he needed to go get something ahead of time.  He had to plan.

And that’s what this same-day service takes away from us. The reason to remember. The reason to plan. I can now wake up on the morning of a loved ones big day, and go online, find something that will suffice, order it, and they will have it that night. I don’t actually have to do much. I don’t have to go to a store and take my time picking out the right thing. I don’t have to put it on my calendar and think about what to get so I’m prepared. I just go with the flow, hit a few buttons and play with a mouse from the comfort of my home in my pajamas, and all is well.

So this same-day delivery is great. I’m sure lots of people will sign up and will buy into it.

But I don’t like it. I’m going to stick to the old ways. Plan, shop, wrap, send.  I think in the end, taking time to plan and purchase and present something that was thought about with love, is worth more than a point and click just-in-time gift.

So when’s your birthday?  I’ll be ready!

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