The Mum Network

What did we do without the internet?


I was on the phone to a friend whilst in the line at the post office recently, I was in complete shock as an older lady was paying her phone bill at the post office, ‘why doesn’t she pay it online?’ I thought. This was at the exact same moment my girlfriend on the phone was urging me to buy my groceries online to take the hassle out of having to go to the shops at all.

How on earth did our Mum’s find the time to pay bils, go to the travel agent and find that random part for the gas heater that had broken and needed replacing? How did they do anything without the internet? Far out, if we think we’re busy now, perhaps they were just more organized? Anyone remember Mum sneaking off on a Thursday night to do the weekly shopping because that was the only ‘late night shopping’ night for groceries! And on Sundays the shops were shut! Imagine how organized in the food planning they had to be, no wonder Sunday nights were Roast night, you had to plan 7 days in advance, none of this ‘on a whim, what do we feel like tonight’ kinda eating.

I can recall getting my first keycard and putting it into the first ATM in our suburb in complete shock that a machine in the wall could dispense cash! I can also remember Mum going up to the post office with bills in hand with completed cheques to post the electricity bill, phone bill and gas bill to the correct authorities.

In my head I created a list of stuff that probably save us all bucketloads of time but things I’m likely to only ever do online forever. Imagine if we couldn’t do this stuff online?

  1. Phone, Gas and Electricity Bills – I don’t think we even pay ours, they just come out of the bank account automatically.
  2. Travel – when was the last time you actually considered using a travel agent to book a flight to Melbourne?
  3. Home Delivery Food – I think that pre-Jenny Craig our household had Crust Pizza bookmarked on every computer!
  4. Flowers – This one is sad, I can’t remember the last time I walked into a florist. Need flowers, just order online and never actually see what you’re sending to someone!
  5. Wedding Presents – Thanks to the wonders of the internet, trawling David Jones for that unique pressie is no longer required, put your money down, tick a box and the happy couple receive something they’ve asked you to buy for them. If you never go to their home, you never actually see what you’re bought!   
  6. Movies, Music and TV shows – perhaps this lot in our house are a tad advanced (ok ,nerds) but if the kids want to watch a movie, listen to a song or watch re-runs of Ben10, there’s no need to buy DVD’s or CD’s anymore they just search for someone on AppleTV, Bigpond movies, Foxtel IQ, Playstation store, Xbax Zune platform or Netflix and any other platform online and voila, a night in with a movie is $6 to rent as opposed to $100 for the fam to go to the movies.
  7. Car Registration – Oh thank God for this one. No more waiting in line at the RTA watching your number come up somewhere between the 48th and 59th minute you’ve sat between harassed mothers and every other poor bugger on the planet. Just register the car online and voila, you’re back on the road!

Then Gen Y crew underneath us are actually more savvy than all of us together, this is a generation that don’t even go to the shops unless it’s for dinner or coffee or the occasional movie. They buy clothes, shoes and make-up online, sight unseen. They don’t buy magazines or newspapers, but they do buy books online. One of the girls in our office has even signed up to a 12 week fitness program with Michelle Bridges, all conducted online! I have friends who have all their baby stuff (nappies etc) delivered from www.thebulkwarehouse.com.au

My hubby is addicted to a site where each day, these guys create and design a new T_shirt according to the biggest news story of the day www.madeinthenow.com  You order the T-shirt of the day and it arrives not long after but the best part about it is, you can’t back order, you can only buy that day’s T-shirt on the day.

Apparently Aussies are amongst the biggest adopters of buying anything online so I often wonder why leading fashion retailer Zara don’t have an Aussie site to buy from and stranger that when I was trying to buy some shelving recently, Bed Bath and Table didn’t even have a website (that I could find!).  Aldi don’t deliver and Target, Kmart, Myer & David Jones don’t have their full ranges available to buy online.

Someone I was was speaking to recently said that he thinks David Jones, Myer, The Good Guys, Harvey Norman etc will soon start to charge an entry fee for those of us browsing to see what we want in order to get it cheaper online.

It certainly saves a lot of time, just wonder what we’re doing with all that time saving as I’m busier than I’ve ever been!! Not sure how I’d cope if I had to line up at the post office once a month to pay bills!

6 comments

  1. DMS

    I often wonder which generation, had it easier? Whilst I appreciate all the time saving advantages of the internet, researching, banking, paying a/cs etc, we still seem to spend or perhaps waste a lot of time online. Maybe not so much waste it as enjoy it. A favourite hobbie of mine is and always has been browsing real estate sites. Even overseas sites. Not sure why, I just enjoy seing how and where other people live, I guess.
    I also have adopted shopping online but still enjoy the ambiance of the shopping mall at the beginning of winter and summer just to see what ‘story’ they’re showing. However I prefer shopping alone and only like company if I intend to browse and have coffee.
    My parents generation (newly weds at the end of WW2) never really expected to have too many choices in shopping, entertainment careers etc. They were just grateful for peace and opportunities. They worked hard and strived to give their families more than they had. They perhaps had more free time (they didn’t call it leisure time because it wasn’t) during which they tended vegie gardens, did their own repairs,(including mending, darning and mechanical work) and often raised larger families. They also had to manually pay a/cs, share a car (not all families had cars) and use washing boards until the automatic machine arrived.
    On the upside they could phone through a grocery order, butcher’s order and green grocers order and expect them to be delivered along with the milk order to the front gate. (I was bought up in a small town, not the city).
    So I’m not sure which generation enjoys more benefits, but I must say that although I am a very late convert to computor technology I certainly enjoy the choice it offers.

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