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Old August 24th, 2013, 10:53 AM
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Default Buying things in the 3I

I was enjoying a breakfast beer and preparing our food shopping order, and something hit me.

I moved to the DC area a few years ago from a dying rustbelt area. About 45% of our food shopping is from one chain where we order online and pickup the food already bagged curbside at the store, another 45% same/same but they deliver for $10 plus a tip--but the online shopping list there isn't as good to suggest and there is a two hour delivery window. I understand the delivery service won't work most areas, but the pick-up service will for sure as soon as a planet has a net.

My wife does 3/4s of her clothes shopping online. She purchased clothes last night on an outing, and most of them were for me, because she gets stuff mailed in every 10-14 days, if she doesn't care for it or it fits wrong, it goes back cheap and easy.

A friend who has been in my field longer and has more money lives in a very nice area of a DC suburb in a very trendy apartment. He never buys anything in a store other than prepared food and water bottles to consume then. He uses amazon prime, and buys food for delivery except his building concierge will put the cold and frozen food into his fridge so he does not have to be there.

I order all electronics, ammo, and tools online. My books and music are all downloads. I have to buy booze and beer in person because of the law, or that would be online too.

Traveller was written in the 70s and assumed physical stores. However, I just don't see it outside the starports, or where the law requires a physical purchase action at the seller's location (like with guns and booze in America).

We are only low TL8 now, and I can see 90% of physical stores going away in my lifetime. I just don't see many stores on a TL8 or above planet. Costco type warehouses to sort the food orders for pick-up, and to look at new goods, sure. Some very specialty stores, sure. Shops where people are captive for a few hours (starports, an employer where people have to be present and have a forced lunch hour), sure.

Am I on the right track? Crazy? Some in game reason for blocks of stores for the PCs to have a running gun battle past?
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Old August 24th, 2013, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Garyius2003 View Post
We are only low TL8 now, and I can see 90% of physical stores going away in my lifetime. I just don't see many stores on a TL8 or above planet.
If you are middle age maybe closer to ~40% going away.
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Old August 24th, 2013, 11:32 AM
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There is a living/shopping/dining area called Shirlington in NoVa. One of the grocery stores with pick up service. Two fancy clothes stores, a fancy furniture store and cookware store. The rest are bars and restaurant. Condos and apartments with houses surrounding.

The mix is so great for people there are two more already up in the area, and a huge 70s mall is being torn down to remake it into another.

Dry cleaners pick up and drop off now, even in dying rustbelt cities. How many shoe stores and jewelry stores does the world need? In the areas where the illegals live they have lots of little stores selling cheap goods and clothes, and money services to send cash back to their TL6 home countries, but a TL8 and above world will have a uniform online banking service to avoid all that.
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Last edited by Garyius2003; August 24th, 2013 at 11:39 AM.. Reason: more stuff
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Old August 24th, 2013, 01:22 PM
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On some high tech areas of the 3I yes.
But as what you see as an inevitable trend in the DC area and and I would safely presume most of the NE USA. That may not be the trend for the rest of the US. Shopping for some is a necessary evil, for others it's a means of personal social interaction, for most it's an excuse to get out of the house/apt/living space and see for oneself what is going on.
So will "brick & mortar" stores ever disappear, I doubt it. They may become more specialized as TL advances but even then a general store of sorts may become the IT thing.
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Old August 24th, 2013, 01:59 PM
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Toronto is a decent-sized city, with a large Asian population. When I visited, I was struck by the Asian supermarkets: lots of live, or minimally processed animals and meats.

Shopping is a matter of culture and economics, both. In a multi-cultural area, so much more. I live inside the town limits of a decent-sized university town. Our market is a mile away. We have our own laying hens, and our neighbors run an organic farm. I wouldn't live in a city. Our table, that extends from 6 to 16 feet, was made by a young Amish woodworker without a phone or electricity. We do shop online for some things; often, however, when I'm shopping I just like to wander around. Sometimes we have forgotten something, and need to get it in 5 minutes. Culturally, we have chosen a more self-sufficient lifestyle; we'll still be here if the lights go out. Are we freaks? Oh yeah, but we are not the only ones.

I imagine grav cities where little delivery bots handle most everything, but I also imagine places where there is no shopping, ala Caves of Steel. Opining a single cultural and economic pattern across the sectors, however, is far-fetched.
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Old August 24th, 2013, 02:03 PM
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Opining a single cultural and economic pattern across the sectors, however, is far-fetched.
I agree even to the point of across the same planet or even region to be pushing it.
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Old August 24th, 2013, 03:04 PM
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Brick and Mortar storesare killing themselves.

When I can hit Ebay for at least 1/2 the price from a seller with an enforced Feedback score, why would I bother rooting through what's left behind after the government paid non working class has cleaned the B+M stores out while I was at work?

Online shopping is the future while B+Ms continue their lackluster behavior, only stocking what they want to and half measure at that. I have no pity for their inevitable collapse.

Smart B+Ms already have an online presence.

I can imagine a delivery Pinnance servicing ships in orbit, "You want fries with that"
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Old August 24th, 2013, 04:26 PM
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I still pay less, overall, buying at the B&M store. I order stuff in low volumes - 1-2 items at a time, and live in a "no free shipping" area. I buy food on impulse as often as planned purchases. I often shop for the experience of getting out and about.

I see B&M remaining for perpetuity because of similar trends.
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Old August 24th, 2013, 09:23 PM
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I think online purchase and delivery will reach an equilibrium with brick and mortar stores- in the U.S., more of the former than we have now, and less of the latter.

Every culture will be different, and will reach a different equilibrium according to its cultural values. It's certainly possible to imagine oddball cultural trends abolishing the brick and mortar store in some societies (or at least within certain social contexts within that society). As a general thing that happens everywhere at a certain tech level, I can't see it.
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Old August 24th, 2013, 09:54 PM
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To the OP, you are an internet user and the folks you are asking are too but according to Internet Statistics June 30, 2012: only 34.3% of the world population uses the internet. North America was 78.6 %. Asia with more internet users than North America is still only 27.5%.

From the website where this statistic came from: "Internet usage information comes from data published by Nielsen Online, by the International Telecommunications Union, by GfK, local ICT Regulators and other reliable sources."

Just 3 years ago I lived in an area where there was no cable service and no high speed internet available.

My only point is that for whatever reason (I'm just providing the data, not implying anything) the majority of the world doesn't use the internet so I'd say there is a need for brick and stores at our worlds current and possibly higher tech levels. But that doesn't mean Travellers can't go online shopping.

In MgT it does address this topic.
Quote:
Technologically advanced worlds will have computer networks that can be searched for suppliers. On lower-tech worlds, traders will have to seek out suppliers in the markets and bazaars themselves.
and has the task defined as
Quote:
Finding an online supplier: (Worlds with TL 8+ only) Computers, Education, 1–6 hours, Average (+0).
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