I decided to purchase a birthday present locally in lieu of Amazon, which ended up taking me about 2 hours and 6 stores to find a specific vinyl album. I previously worked in the book industry for four years (independent college bookstore and scholarly publishing), so the concern about and comparisons to Amazon constantly came up. ("Why is this book more expensive than it is on Amazon?") Occasionally I even had to explain why I couldn't order a book for them through Amazon. Moreover, customers were used to limitless stock, where they could find an exact book or item by typing a few letters into the search bar.
Admittedly I regretted that I didn't purchase the album on Amazon for $40 when the 3rd record store clerk (owner?) told me that he sold it that morning for $65. I had waited until the last day possible - even Amazon Prime shipping wasn't enough time.
But what are we missing by quickly ordering something online? If I had ordered the album on Amazon, I wouldn't have learned that there are more record stores in Manhattan than I ever anticipated, or had conversations with a couple of strangers. I wouldn't have walked around Greenwich Village and SoHo as the sun was setting and snapped a few photos.
I almost didn't go into the final store - it was a "hole-in-the-wall" location in West Village that didn't look very organized, like it stocked new vinyl, or large enough to browse among another customer. (You can't open the front door all the way without hitting the shelving unit.) But lo and behold, I grabbed the first white sleeve I saw in the Beatles section, and I finally saw the vinyl I've been searching - perfect condition and $40.