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Six months, five phone calls, three credit card authorizations, 90 minutes on one call, strongly worded email, extreme frustration. Finally, two missed appointments and then...missing legs.

No these are not details from a thriller.

It is a recounting of our recent experience with buying furniture from Bloomingdales. Tarun and I chuckled when their “white glove delivery service” turned out to be an unmarked white truck and two hapless guys with no clue where the legs to the sofa might be. Under the gloves, we wondered.

When the manager asked us detailed questions about the missing legs instead of asking the delivery guys, I thought, “Wait what, I have to be of service to HIM?!” The chain of events has left such a sour taste that I am permanently turned off from buying furniture the traditional way. What is available on the web is faster, better, and less expensive. Not just for furniture but almost everything. I used to be skittish about buying clothes online but after a few brave forays, I am cool with the risk.

When we remodeled our kitchen, many of the new things came from online sites - from the ideas to the light fixtures to the door knobs to the bar stools. The choices were endless, far more that what we could expect to see in a showroom. Plus reading the reviews from other buyers gave us a point of reference that buying a sofa from Bloomingdales can never provide.

Macy’s, the retail giant, has been struggling until this year. They own Bloomingdales...ugh, we should have known! JCPenney and Sears are on life support and is KMart still alive? Two of my favorite stores - Nine West and Easy Spirit have croaked in the nearby mall. I half-expect Banana Republic to call it quits any day because they have been losing customers for years.

Online retail grew by 16% between 2016 and 2017 while brick and mortar grew by 3.6%. I don't know what I'd do without Amazon. If I have to send anything to the boys, the internet is definitely my go-to place. And if you haven’t heard of Stitch Fix and their CEO Katrina Lake, time to do some googling, ladies. She’s going to change how and when we shop. Even car shopping is going through a paradigm shift. Last time we bought a car, we did comparative shopping from the comfort of our family room couch. Then we walked into the nearest dealership with a firm offer. 20 mins to seal the deal, followed by two hours to do paperwork. Somethings may not change in our lifetime.

Our family has not transitioned to online grocery shopping yet but more and more people around us are going that way and we too may follow suit soon enough.

There's plenty written about the "retail is dead" mantra being an exaggeration. As Forbes says "boring retail is dead"; case in point shopping malls. Retail businesses that can deal with the disruptions, provide free shipping, cater to individual tastes and shapes will continue to survive.

And so I say, let loose and click and shop while supporting local businesses because they deserve it. In the meantime, our sofa legs continue to be AWOL.....

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