There’s no place like home.
You sure better believe it.
It might explain the reason that so many folks hate to leave the house to go anywhere or to do anything that needs to get done in a timely manner.
Staying home nowadays has become as easy as the click of a mouse.
But, mark my word. The day is fast approaching when America — for better or for worse — will be recognized as a nation of hunkered-down homebodies.
That’s the first thought that came to mind the other day when that large transport truck pulled into the driveway of a residence just off of South Main Street.
It was here in Hopkinsville to deliver an almost-spanking new car to its new owner, who had skipped the thrills of a visit to a dealership for an online buying experience.
Sitting on your keister at home, in front of the computer, is supposed to be the new way to buy a car. Maybe you’ve seen those tantalizing television commercials that tout the benefits of dealing with this particular Internet car seller. Heck, those clever guys even have fully-automated, coin-operated car vending machines — located in select cities around the country, including Nashville, Tennessee — just in case anybody with enough get-up-and-go decides to get off the couch at home and take a road trip to pick up their new ride.
Anyway, my point is this: It won’t be long at all before hardly anybody ever has to leave their home sweet home for anything — and that could even include making a decent living in this dog-eat-dog world.
Statistics, after all, don’t lie. Well, not very often, anyway.
Nearly 4 million Americans, or 2.9 percent of the U.S. workforce, already work from home at least half the time, according to a 2017 report compiled by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics.
That eye-opening report also pointed out that the work-at-home population represents a 115 percent increase since 2005, when only 1.8 million Americans worked from their homes.
It appears that a trend definitely is taking shape in this country.
Now, when it comes to shopping, there’s little doubt that online retail is the future, with thousands of brick-and-mortar stores shutting down just last year alone. But, if you’re still a doubting Thomas, go ahead and try to count the number of trucks that are delivering packages to homes all over our town on any given day of the week.
Tell me it’s not simply amazing to see.
According to Statista — an online statistics, market research and business intelligence portal — there are 217.1 million people in the U.S. who are online shoppers, with that number projected to reach 224 million sometime next year.
Shopping from home on a computer is the ticket, for sure.
And lately, the food industry has become the newest bull’s eye for savvy business owners.
Nobody has to elbow their way through the busy aisles of the major supermarkets anymore. With online grocery shopping now a reality, the goodies can be ordered over the computer and then delivered to your doorstep or picked up in front of the store.
“The Digitally Engaged Food Shopper” study — released last year by the Food Marketing Institute and Nielsen — reports that nearly a quarter of American households already are buying some of their groceries online.
Furthermore, the study predicts that online grocery shopping could surge dramatically in the coming years and generate as much as $100 billion in sales by 2025.
This, my friends, is the story of the future.
There’s no going back to those bygone days when leaving the house and frequently interacting with friends and strangers around town was a great adventure.
It’s much too easy to be unadventurous these days and live your life on the computer. Every new day brings yet another compelling reason to turn it on — and stay at home.
Do yourself a favor, and think about it sometime when you’re resting in that easy chair. More and more people are paying their bills online and even doing their banking without ever setting foot in a bank. Kids everywhere — instead of goofing off in the great outdoors with their friends — are indoors playing video games. And, don’t forget about the powerful lure of social media, where everybody can like, love or hate anybody else on the planet without ever having to leave the house and deal with them in person.
What a wonderful world, huh?
ROB DOLLAR was a reporter and editor for the Kentucky New Era for 20 years. A resident of Hopkinsville, he has authored three books on topics of local interest in recent years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.