It had to happen eventually I guess, after all progress is progress and things move on… (although I do think there’s a lot to be said for a little more Luddism in today’s world). I’m talking about the visit I made to my ‘local’ pen shop yesterday – I say local it’s 60 miles away from where I live and I usually have to combine a visit there with another trip. Yesterday I was returning from delivering one of my sons to the airport and visiting the other at University. So I got there and amidst a cup of coffee one of the topics of discussion with one of my favourite pen purveyors (let’s call him Malcolm) was the exciting news that the shop’s online store had gone live.
Now a visit to a pen shop like Iridium is always a pleasure to me, as a proper ‘try before you buy’ retail pen experience can be nothing short of magical even for an old english curmudgeon such as myself. Malcolm even persuaded me to go against the better angels of my nature and purchase a Lamy fountain pen, something I have resisted for years… I will review it soon and he may yet regret using his powers of persuasion.
But the truth is for most pen shops it’s a case of “and” rather than “or”. The growth is our online purchase culture means that almost everyone has to add the online retail option, both to widen their appeal and market their goods with the convenience given to the customer of being able to have their goods delivered to their door. So congrats to Malcolm & Sarah at Iridium, hope the online store does really well!
In general though I just hope that with all the gains of the online for both the retailer and the customer there is still a place for the face to face enthusiasm of looking round your local pen and stationery paradise and interacting with a fellow enthusiast. I would be sad if buying a pen were to progress wholly to an impersonalonline experience rather than having the best of both worlds.
Oh by the way you can check out the excellent website and store here (other pen stores are available of course…)