I was half-joking with my wife the other night and explained my temptation to completely rid myself of all my social media accounts. My posting activity is probably average in the big picture, but I find myself checking/reading it too much.

Realistically, I can’t shed it. For one, it’s part of my job. Two, I enjoy staying in touch with people I probably wouldn’t otherwise stay in touch with. Three, cats are funny.  OK, I’m kidding on three.

The internet does have utility, though. And meaning.

Then I started thinking about social and the internet versus, um……real life? I say “real life” in part jest, but it’s the only way I can describe the alternative for the point I’m trying to make here.

is the internet betterI’d like to think I’m a pretty easy guy to shop for. The past few Christmases, my wife has gone to the local specialty beer store, the excellent Craft Beer Cellar in Westford, MA and gotten me the beer advent calendar. I get a new beer every day for 24 days in December. Killer!

They don’t really sell it online. In fact, if you look at their header (above), they make no bones about it, it’s a brick-and-mortar store. Stephanie has to call them, reserve it and then drive there to pick it up. This process is not necessarily rife with customer service issues.

This past Christmas, I decided something similar was in store for her. I decided to subscribe her to one of those subscription services that are so popular these days. For coffee.

There really aren’t any specialty coffee places like Craft Beer Cellar, so I had to go online (Starbucks doesn’t count). I’m a sucker for a nice, clean design and simple experience, so I looked at a few sites and settled on a 3-month plan for Craft Coffee.

Everything arrived as advertised for the three months I paid for. No complaints in terms of receiving what I paid for. Steph thought the coffee was okay.

Then the coffee arrived in month four.

I didn’t really notice because I’m not usually around to collect mail and deliveries.

Then it arrived in month five. This time Steph mentioned it to me, so I had to get on their live chat, then I had to call, sit on the phone and work it out. Turns out that Craft Coffee had some sort of issue in that the same account that purchased the gift was also receiving the gift, so they “accidentally” just kept it rolling.

I’m not writing to criticize them about assuming that we wanted to keep it rolling and I can confirm there was no language in my purchase path about such extensions.

It’s clearly an issue they need to sort out, but that’s not the point. Craft Coffee’s customer service was superb in getting things settled properly, because no internet business can survive without top notch customer service.

The point is that, in this case, it was much easier and smoother for Steph to do her similar transaction in person than it was for me to trigger hers online. So that’s saying something, I suppose.

I can’t logically sit here and tell you that I’d be fine without the internet. Or social media. This is a very situational example. Paying bills and banking, for example, is far easier online.

But sometimes these little stories pop up and I realize that it’s possible to NOT do it all on the internet and maybe I should pursue that end more. I would survive. Life would march on.