This is where we live.
This photo was taken last summer. Since then, Rick has removed the ugly fence posts, so it finally feels like we now have a bit of room to breathe.
I know… You’re thinking, “But… where are the malls? Not even a Safeway? Target? Nothing…?”
Nope. And this is why we buy almost everything from kitchen counter cleaner to dehydrated fish flakes to [easyazon-link asin=”B005GBWY5W” locale=”us”]my fabulous new ECCO Biom trail shoes[/easyazon-link] online.
Don’t get me wrong: we’re ALL for shopping local and do whenever we can find what we’re looking for locally.
Big, big fans of local.
However, when the only full-service grocery store in Teton Valley, closed on Sundays, has an aisle labelled “pop tarts” and the closest city-style department store is a 75-minute drive away across a steep and windy mountain pass, you come to depend on and totally appreciate three things:
- Your Amazon Prime membership.
- The UPS guy.
Amazon.com offers, in addition to just about everything you could think of to spend money on, an amazing customer program called “Amazon Prime.”
For $79 a year, you can get unlimited free two-day shipping on almost everything they offer, plus free streaming of thousands of movies and television shows, some of which you’d actually want to watch.
Load on top free access to the Kindle Lending Library, a specially-priced program for students, a separate one for new moms offering discounts on diapers and wipes, and the environmentally-sound convenience of having it all delivered within two days to your front door in the middle of nowhere by a nice man in a spiffy brown shorts outfit… What’s not to love?!
When Cooks Illustrated recommends Method All Purpose Cleaner as its top-rated kitchen cleaner-upper or De Cecco spaghetti as its taste-test winner in the store-bought pasta boil off, that’s what kind of kitchen cleaner and spaghetti we want.
The fact that I couldn’t find them locally wasn’t a show stopper. One quick check at the computer, a one-click buy with my index finger on the mouse, and two days later, we’re eating truly tasty pasta and cleaning up in a sparkle. I love that. (And honestly, that Method cleaner got dirt out of our wood dining room table that was borderline disgusting to behold. It’s amazing stuff.)
Seriously, this is one reason why we have decided to become Amazon Associates on this blog.
It’s just a great shopping model for busy, picky non-pop tart eaters who would rather read a blog, write one, paint a masterpiece, or do almost anything other than schlep around in a gas-sucking SUV through icy mountain passes for three hours every couple of weeks to stand in long check out lines for products that weren’t quite what they were looking for in the first place.
Also, the UPS truck drives past our house six days a week anyway, so it’s just one quick zip up our driveway’s worth of pollution and gas consumption if we get him to drop something off.
We thought our readers, known for their high IQs and well-developed environmental consciousness, might agree that this way of shopping makes sense.
Plus, if you click on a link here that takes you to Amazon and you buy something–anything, in fact–we earn a tiny bit of money in a commission. This can be, as anyone who needs to eat to stay alive knows, a real shot in the arm.
Zappos.com is my favorite clothing store, and maybe even my favorite store, period.
There have been entire books written about their legendary customer service and wonderfully human and humane culture, but for me, what puts this company over the top is that they carry great brands at good prices that they are willing to NEXT BUSINESS DAY SHIP, FREE, BOTH WAYS.
The thing is, it’s not just about the speed of delivery or savings on shipping me stuff. The fact is that their business model has completely revolutionized the shopping experience that women dread the most: the bathing suit.
I know women who are wearing thread-bare 20-year bathing suits because their Valium prescription expired in 1992, and they haven’t been able to face a little cellulite in a harshly-lit three-way mirror since.
But with Zappos no-risk refund policy, this summer when I needed a new bathing suit, I took an hour online, and based on a wonderfully honest reviewing community of shoppers, chose 14 potential candidates (seriously) and had them delivered the next day.
I waited until dark, lit a few candles, and with a glass of wine in hand and Diana Krall on my iPod (and BTW, her new CD is different and wonderful) , I tried them all on, in leisure, in privacy, and in increasing levels of gentle loopiness.
It was lovely, and when it was all done and the suit of choice was chosen, I put the other 13 back into their little plastic baggies, put the baggies in the box they had sent them in, printed the return label that is always easily available on their website, stuck the label on the box, and dropped it off at the post office the next day.
Shoes, jeans, accessories, and even lingerie… Same shop-at-home convenience, great prices and frequent sales, and a simply fabulous group of people to interact with when interacting is called for.
So, I’ll bet you’re wondering why a UPS guy is doing the Happy Dance in our driveway with my mom (above) cheering him on?
This shot was taken at 2:40 p.m. on September 9th, 2009, just twenty minutes before our wedding ceremony on our front lawn under the cherry tree. He had just delivered an important part of my wedding outfit: a cinnamon-colored suede bolero jacket to match my new cowboy boots.
He had become the surprise hero of the hour at a most important hour in our new life together.
What’s not to dance about?