I read somewhere that Italy has more pet dogs than it does children. That is a bad thing in a country — a sign of negative population growth. However, I tell you very selfishly that this ratio — more dogs than kids — is an excellent thing in a high rise. Take mine for example. The elevators and lobby are teeming with canines, usually on the business end of leashes held by a slack-skinned residents such as myself.
So how do you account for the fact that the mail room of our building today was full of USPS notices of the arrival of the same parcel: The last in the Harry Potter book series? Obviously I’m not the only “kid at heart.”
But this kid has a decidedly geeky side. I pre-ordered mine three months ago using nothing but the keypad of my cell phone. As I stated then, in my account of ordering the book, the service that made this miracle of commerce possible is a harbinger of things to come.
Here were the steps I used to order my copy of this juvenile horse-choker:
I registered (just once) at the ShopText site. I provided the usual: My name and shipping address, and my credit card information. I also gave them my email address and cell phone number. That’s when the real wizardry began.
I received a receipt via email and SMS (i.e., cell phone text message). It included my short password, something needed to avoid ordering fraud
Then, all I had to do was send a text to ShopText’s “short code,” which is a 5- or 6-digit cell phone number that communicates with an SMS server. I placed the keyword in the message body, “Potter,” as instructed in the print ad that offered this ordering option.
I received a confirmation on pricing, which also requested the security password. Once received, the system sent my cell phone — and my email Inbox — a receipt for the purchase. Poof! Within three minutes I had scratched my itch and bought this last of the Harry Potter series.
And that’s the point.
If SMS ordering catches on at all, it will be because of the ease with which spontaneous purchases can be made before having time to think something like, “Heck, I can always go to the bookstore.”
This is a system that deserves to succeed, and it probably will, considering what big, pampered kids I and my fellow boomers have become.