After recently coming home to find my refrigerator had caused a blackout in my apartment, I was suddenly thrust into the market for a new appliance.

Contrary to popular belief, manufacturers don’t form an orderly queue to give journalists free swag, so I was left sourcing a replacement fridge in the old-fashioned way, from a retailer, but with a newfangled twist.

On my work computer, I looked up Appliances Online (because they are front of mind) and 2nds World (one of its outlets is near my home) and researched bar fridges. My thinking was that a small, affordable fridge would be a good stop-gap while renting; I’ll invest in the seamless kitchen design from a European supplier when I own a house and am a millionaire.

While Appliances Online has a very wide range and an excellent delivery terms (free and the next day), 2nds World had much cheaper prices and propinquity. Haier’s $145 HRZ60 (RRP $189) caught my eye – not just because the price was unbelievable but also it is a name brand – I haven’t heard of Lemair or Airflo (an indictment, considering I’ve been writing appliances for five years) – and I am confident the biggest appliance company in the world isn’t going belly up anytime soon.

2nds World does a very handy thing on its website: it provides a phone number on the top of every page, so potential customers can call to enquire about stock and availability.

I phoned the number and explained my desire to purchase this model at $145 from the company’s Cremorne store. The friendly sales person tapped away at his computer, then said it was out of stock in Cremorne but he could arrange to transport a unit from 2nds World Castle Hill. He approximated 24 hours for this to happen, and took my phone number so he could call me back.

True to his word, the fridge had been shipped to Cremorne. I attended the store after work, paid for the refrigerator and then carried it to my apartment.

Throughout this process, I used the internet and my smartphone – where all the action is happening according to the experts – yet my transaction was still completed in-store. I think this is what the major retailers mean when they talk of ‘omnichannelling’, a phrase that has been so ubiquitous in company announcements one wonders if it is now compulsory.

According to the press officer for one of the major department stores, the omnichannel is “the evolution of the multichannel”. Back in the old days (the mid-2000s), when America was embracing online retail and Australian players were ignoring it, the multichannel referred to distinct purchasing avenues: in-store, online, over-the-phone, catalogues, et cetera.

By the time the Australian players caught up, America was now calling it the ‘omnichannel’, which is a fusing of these various channels, so that the retailer is always presenting a consistent proposition to the consumer, be it on High Street, iStreet or E Street.

I asked the press officer if this meant the price of Product X across these platforms would be consistent under omnichannelling and I was told “no, there would still be flash sales online” and that the consistency referred to “voice and branding”, which I assume means ‘logo’.

There is a concept in language called the euphemism treadmill: over time, a euphemism will itself become a taboo word, best exemplified by the changing terms used to describe intellectual disabilities.

Online retail is itself on the euphemism treadmill. The expression ‘online retail’ is still the best descriptor for selling products on the internet but because those words are now permanently linked with pure-play, often rogue or upstart challengers like Ruslan Kogan, a new term had to me created. ‘Multichannel’ came first, but now that neologism is associated with half-hearted, embarrassingly inadequate online attempts by retailers during the early 2010s.

So now we have all the major listed retailers banging on about ‘omnichannelling’, which literally means ‘all channels’, though this isn’t strictly true as retailers love to whinge about the grey channel and the second hand channel and one assumed none of them are selling on the black market.

But at 2nds World, a company that never sends out press releases or makes company announcements, and has never made a public statement promoting omnichannelling, I experienced something close to this vaulted abstraction.

This author is on Twitter: @Patrickavenell