The internet is great, right? We can do so much online that it is hard to imagine life without the internet. But not everything is better online. There are certain things that are better done in-person. Perhaps you know some of them.
Over the years, we have worked hard to make internet access available to anyone who wants it. We have introduced cable internet, fiber optic, and even fixed wireless for rural America. Companies like Houston-based Blazing Hog even leverage cellular networks to provide 4G rural internet where cable and fiber optic dare not go.
Yet even with the incredible expansion of technology, the online model has its limits. We are discovering that digital doesn’t always have a suitable drop-in replacement for analog. And so there are still things that are better done in-person, including the following five:
1. Shopping for Clothes
If there is one retail sector bound to survive the e-commerce sector’s ongoing expansion, it is retail clothing. You can only do so much clothes shopping online before you have the undying urge to go try a few things on. And no, digital dressing rooms are not an adequate replacement for the real thing. Am I right?
In their defense, retailers are pulling out all the stops to convince people to buy clothing online. They are offering free returns and try-before-you-buy programs. But none of what they offer compares to the experience of shopping for clothes in-person.
2. Shopping for Groceries
Similarly, shopping for groceries online is just not the same experience. They say that pictures don’t lie, but they do not tell the whole truth either. A picture cannot capture the smell of fresh produce. It cannot replicate the sight of the butcher preparing fresh meat.
I consider myself a foodie. I will order groceries online and have them delivered in a pinch, but shopping for my food in-person is still a better experience. I would rather make a trip to the market than scroll through pictures, choose my items, and hope that my order gets filled correctly.
3. Take in a Ballgame
Thanks to the internet and video streaming, I can watch every baseball game my favorite team plays. I can also spend all my time watching every game played by every team. But as much as I love baseball, I would rather see one ballgame in-person than dozens on streaming video.
Watching ball games online is a nice substitute when I cannot get out to the park. But streaming games robs me of the pleasures that come from a visit to the ballpark. Streaming video is completely devoid of the sights and sounds of the live experience.
4. Attend a Church Service
A lot of churches switched to online services during the COVID pandemic. A lot of them had online services even before COVID shut their physical doors. And again, online is okay in a pinch. But online cannot touch attending a church service in-person. Watching online cannot replicate being with like-minded people worshiping, praying, and enjoying each other’s company.
5. Visiting with Family and Friends
Most important of all, visiting with family and friends is much better in-person. Video chat is nice when you are hundreds of miles away. Still, it’s no substitute for the real thing. I would much rather visit my children and grandchildren in-person. I would much rather go to a friend’s house for dinner than chat on social media.
The internet is a fantastic tool with almost unlimited possibilities. But it is not the be-all and end-all of the human experience. There are still plenty of things that are better done in-person. That’s how I see it.