Christmas shopping is in full swing. A lot of people I know are doing most of their shopping online this year because it’s “more convenient’ But at what cost in the long run?
I don’t like buying stuff online. I have several reasons, the biggest one is that I’m still very leary of handing out my credit card number to some random website. I don’t even trust banking websites that are supposed to be super encrypted. If it’s online, it can be hacked. I’m not old fashioned, I’m a skeptic.
Before I buy anything, I also like to see it in person, pick it up, feel it. I want to make sure that it’s not a piece of junk that just looks good in the pic. Buying online, you’re hoping that what you see is what you get, but again, I’m a skeptic. Now you’re probably saying “well, if you don’t like what you ordered online, just return it then”. What a pain in the ass that is. I hate shopping to begin with, so I like my shopping experiences to be as fast as possible, not with extra steps.
All of that can be avoided by shopping locally. you know, going to the store, picking out what you want, testing it out, trying it on if necessary, and then leaving with the item in hand. No waiting a few days to get it, no one stealing your banking info, no disappointment. If you do have to return it, you just go back to the place you bought it, exchange it and leave with a new one. No waiting days for its replacement. They say we live in an instant world, but we’re willing to wait a few days for delivery? When I buy stuff, I like to get it that day.
Another thing you’ll avoid by buying local, are the Porch Pirates. These are the lowlife sacks of crap that steal your packages from your front step after the courier drops it off. A friend of mine says he may have solved the problem of your packages being stolen off your front step….. he actually bought his Christmas gifts IN A STORE!!! Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it.
Shopping local also means better service. These businesses are run by people who live here. Their customers are also friends and neighbours. My wife owns her own business here in PA, and if business is good, she makes more money. That’s money that pays staff, helps pay their mortgages and bills. It allows them to buy stuff, possibly from where you work, keeping you employed. Conversely, when business is bad, it’s bad for us all. Less income means less staff, and less money going back into the economy. The economy is like a big circle, and the more you take out of the circle and spend elsewhere, the smaller the circle gets until it’s gone… and it can happen, even to a city.
Buying online or in another city is only helping to make the economy stronger in those places. Everyone likes to complain that we don’t have this store or that store. It’s like I said in my previous blog about buying tickets to shows … you have to show that it’s a safe bet to bring that business here. Remember when Walmart took over the old Woolco building? It wasn’t very big. But buyer demand showed a bigger store was necessary. Do you think that if everyone from north of PA stopped buying at Costco they would build one here? Quite possible, but they know you’ll keep making the drive. Business goes where the customers are, and if they’re all online or shopping elsewhere, then that’s where business will be.
All of my eccentricities aside, shopping local is important to our local economy. Last week I blogged about the need to support bands when they come to town, because if we don’t, they won’t come anymore; The same goes for shopping. If you don’t shop local, then those businesses that we do have here will eventually disappear. That means a loss of jobs. I know that my job is dependent on local business, and really yours is too if you think about it.
And yes, I do realize that there some some things you may need or want that aren’t available here, so you need to shop elsewhere. I get that. But for everything else, invest in your local economy and shop local