The article never reaches a conclusion as to whether or not his argument is true, but it does raise an interesting thought experiment. Storch, the TRU CEO, would have us believe that delivery trucks release more carbon making their rounds than shoppers going to his stores. As he puts it: “Driving a truck down a country lane in rural Connecticut to deliver a package is hardly the greenest way of product delivery to occur.”
But what is the alternative, the country shopper drives down the country lane himself or herself to his store?
Storch clearly has a stake in this debate. If he can get customers in his store, then they might be more likely to buy product -- if only to justify having driven all the way to his store in the first place.
But what about us collectors, the predatory hunters of rare or difficult to find plastic? When we set foot in his stores, we aren't looking to just buy anything. We might not be as likely to make a purchase for the sake of a purchase because every dollar wasted on something we don't want could have been used on something we do...if we could only find it.
Brick-and-mortar shopping for the collector means "toy runs" -- driving to multiple locations looking for some particular target. If we don't find it one place, we move on to the next. If we don't find it anywhere, we drive back home empty-handed.
But with online shopping, things are not a blind or random. We can find out if it is in stock without leaving the house, and the only time someone gets in the car is to deliver what we want.
In short, driving to a store is often in vain because they don't have the goods. Gas was burnt for nothing.
A delivery car only drives down that country lane if it has a package to deliver. Gas was only burnt if the item was available. Thus, I would argue, online shopping is more fuel efficient.