by Chris Bodenner

A reader writes:

To the writer who was concerned that the empty UPS store is a sign of a floundering economy, I say that it's a sign of the maturation of online shopping. I have done online Christmas shopping for a few years now.  I know what I can get, what to expect, and what kind of bargains can be obtained.  With the possible exception of one-of-a-kind handmade gifts, there's nothing I can get in a store that I can't get online. Online shopping saves me the hassle of shipping and, in the case of presents for the relatives up north I'll be seeing next week, the hassle of trying to not lose presents to TSA or the airlines.

Another writes:

The USPS has been aggressively marketing its "we'll pick up your shipment" option, and I've long since switched over to just purchasing gifts online and having them shipped directly so I don't have to deal with the crowds at the post office! Measuring the economy by the traffic at the local post office is like measuring the relevance of world events by how many newspapers the corner stand sells.

In fact, online holiday sales are up 3% already. And one imagines that a greater percentage of shopping occurs online in the closing weeks, since last-minute purchases are easiest when done at your computer.

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