(*my internet shopping virginity, that is.)
-Ann at For the Long Run wanted to know which web site changed our life. that's easy. but it requires a story.
On our first trip to Ireland, Doug and I spent two weeks zipping around the back roads of Donegal and Mayo in our lunchbox-sized rental car, trying not to let the close-growing gorse bushes scratch the doors. We spent a little time visiting our friend Tiernan in Spiddal; and we spent a lot of time sitting in smoky pubs listening to music and drinking Guinness.
The smoky pubs were what stayed with us, and when we came home I wished that we could have a peat fire in our own fireplace, the way Tiernan did in his little house on Galway Bay. The smell was great--smoky and woodsy and earthy, entirely different from woodsmoke.
I was new to the internet--I used it for e-mail, and almost nothing else. But I started poking around in those odd, early pre-Google search engines: Ask Jeeves, and Alta Vista. And I discovered a website that said it would ship Irish peat right to my front door.
Could this be true? And, if it was, what could be a more unusual Christmas present for doug?
But ... wasn't it perilous to buy things off the Web?
I went back to the site again and again. Irish Peat dot com
Their website played a little fiddle tune and showed an image of a cottage, with smoke rising into the air. I was enthralled.
They claimed to sell woven baskets of turf, Bord na Móna approved.
I had never bought anything on the Web before. Nothing from amazon, nothing from iTunes, nothing from LLBean or JJill or any of the other thousands of places where I now happily squander my money. I was worried. I'd heard of identity theft; I'd heard that shady characters set up bogus websites for the sheer purpose of stealing your credit card number.
But the idea that shady characters would set up a bogus website selling Irish peat seemed highly unlikely, even to uncomfortable and nervous me.
So on my 15th or 20th visit to the site, I boldly punched in my name, my home address, my credit card information, and hit ENTER. And then I sat back in fear and horror. What had I done??
You know what happened. I waited about a week, in great agitation, and eventually a gigantic box appeared on our doorstep. Inside was a big woven basket filled with Irish turf. Success!
I dragged it into the house, wrapped it up, and presented it to Doug on Christmas Eve.
And he opened it and stared at it and said, "You bought me .... a basket of dirt for christmas?"
He was joking, of course. That winter we had peat fires almost every weekend, though we had to go outside and sniff to really get the scent, since most of the smell went up the chimney.
And me and Internet shopping--well, just ask our mailman. I have never looked back.
Postscript: Doug says I'm wrong. He says the website that changed my life is Petfinder. Because that's how we found Riley.
Excellent point. But I'm not rewriting this whole thing. Instead, I'll let you decide. Take the poll:
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