Geek on the Street: We went to the mall and asked, ‘Why aren’t you shopping …

Photo: Julie Clopper /

Amazon celebrated its 20th anniversary last week with a massive sale called Prime Day, and new online retail models like are emerging to make it easier and more economical to shop online. Not to mention the rise of free same-day delivery.

While online shopping is more popular than ever, many people still battle traffic and parking to go to malls, department stores, and garage sales.

Why? The answer to that question is a window into our consumer preferences, and a measure of the state of the retail industry. GeekWire headed to Seattles University Village, to ask shoppers about their habits, and what their favorite store offer that online retailers dont. Heres what folks had to say.

Ken Anderson, Seattle
“You can actually see and read the ingredients and the instructions to make sure [what the] subtle differences are. You know, I buy a lot online, but when it is things I’m not exactly sure about, it helps when you see it in person. Oftentimes, when you buy online it’s hard to see the label [and] even if it’s there you can’t read it, so it’s just a more precise shopping experience.

I used to use but the selection here, what you can find in one place, is vastly more comprehensive than what you can get on one online site.”

Cameron Faye, Seattle
“Its near my work and because sometimes I have a list of items I need to grab and there typically isn’t a place online where I can get all of my Bartells kind-of-items, things like facewash and Chapstick.

When I’m here, I can kind of walk down the aisle and look at L’Oreal and Maybelline and they are right next to each other — whereas on Amazon I probably have to look specifically for something. Yeah, when I shop on Amazon its because there is a specific item I am looking for.”

Ashley Wynn, Des Moines, Washington
“I was in the area but trying things on is a big thing, paying for shipping is another.

And getting out of the house is really nice instead of just sitting on my computer all day. I do online shop, but if it’s a nice day Id rather go outside than stay inside.”

Khalid Abdullah, Saudi Arabia
“I came to the store because I am in a hurry. I need to get this right now because I have an event in the evening. That is why I didn’t get it online.

Sometimes I prefer online because sometimes I find something online that I couldn’t find in the store. Sometimes I find my size online when I couldn’t find it in the store.”

Tracy Pitcock, Seattle
“I have tried doing online before and it seems like my husband has an easier time shopping online, but for females — with the sizes — its really hard to not be in the physical store trying on clothing. I have tried, and I haven’t had very much success online. My husband shops online almost exclusively. I am the exact opposite.

Jeffrey Owen, Seattle 
“I happened to be over here and I thought it was convenient, but also I like to come into stores so I can try stuff on to make sure that it fits properly because I don’t want to have the hassle of sending it back.

I have gotten water bottles, phone cases, hats, and a basketball all online.”

Eric Andrews from Quito, Ecuador 

“I like to shop around a lot and I like to see, feel, touch. I am more of a senses kind of person. If you have questions about something, there is someone that is there to help you. I do sometimes shop online, but only when I know exactly what I am getting. If I am just shopping around I like to have all my senses and have people there to help if I need help. I buy books and movies online because I travel a lot so when I read it’s much easier to just carry an iPad.”