Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.


CP: I would go shopping with you, but I will be on Lanvin.com for a few more hours.


RN: And here I was under the impression that you were a Gilt.com devotee.


CP: It seems that it’s been decided: I must have orange chinos and a rope-bottom sneaker for spring. Who am I to object?


RN: Your enthusiasm for online browsing does make me curious about the shelf life of the bricks-and-mortar shopping mall.


CP: Oh, I have become more than a mere browser. Where I browse is at actual stores. Then I come home and fire up Laptopdale.


RN: I think I just felt the collective shudder from the owners of the newly — and, I might add, quite handsomely — revamped Southdale.


CP: Macy’s may not have that sneaker in my size, but Zappos does. That website is to me what booze is to Ray Milland in “The Lost Weekend.”


RN: To me, Zappos is to 2013 what Dayton’s was to 1998. You know, my shopping be-all and end-all. Well, minus the eighth-floor auditorium flower show. And the Oak Grill. But who needs validated parking when you can shop at 1 a.m. in your boxer briefs?


CP: And with the postage-paid envelopes offered by some e-retailers, you can toss a merch return in any mailbox, no need to trek to the post office.


RN: Another Zappos plus is how its packages arrive in a flash, the hassle free-ness of which was racing through my mind as I competed with the driver of a rusty Pontiac Aztek for what appeared to be the sole remaining parking spot at the Mall of America.


CP: Yet the peeps keep shopping. The other day, when you were picking up those deep-discount curtains, Pottery Barn was teeming with customers.


RN: No wonder. Its newly remade Galleria mega-store is gorgeous.


CP: You and I were the only males on premises.


RN: True, I was feeling a teeny bit Mrs. Roger Sterling in there. Did I mention that my very helpful salesperson ended up ordering my items through the store’s online catalog? Retailers everywhere could learn a lesson from her.


CP: That meshes with a study I saw of the growing number of shoppers who use stores to check a price, then buy online. Nearly half of these “showroomers” said it was not about price, but because they encountered poor customer service in a store.


RN: Lousy service at the mall? I’m shocked by this news. Shocked, I tell you.


E-mail: witheringglance@startribune.com

Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib