(I thought I posted this 2 weeks ago… oops! Sorry!)
Let me start by saying that I love online shopping. It’s so easy and convenient! My boss jokes that I should own stock in Amazon.com considering how much I love it (have you used their wishlist feature? I love it! I wish everyone I know had a public wishlist – it’s like a registry for life! If someone has a birthday coming up, I’d way rather get a gift they need/want than something random that I may love but they may hate… or already own!)
However, a local radio station played a PSA around Thanksgiving that really resonated with me and I thought I would share it. It was advocating for the idea of shopping locally and how valuable that can be for a local economy.
I think that’s a really common and basic concept, that shopping at local boutiques and shops legitimately help your neighbors. In my city, most of those local shops close before 6 pm (I get out of work at 6 pm), have no parking, and are so beyond my budget that it’s laughable. However, I don’t know that for certain… because they are inconvenient for me, I have never explored them. But I am determined to try this year. Who knows, I might find something really cool that I can actually afford!
Something else the PSA said that I had never thought about was gifting certificates to local restaurants and pizza places. I don’t usually give gift certificates because they are no fun to unwrap… but I love locally owned places. They often are amazingly yummy with great ambiance. If you live in the New England area, I would recommend you check out the Phantom Gourmet‘s website – it can help you find new places to try or give you more information. It’s also helpful if you’re trying to find a place to meet someone in an area you don’t typically visit (ie you’re meeting a friend who lives far away at a place equidistant between you…)
Finally, the radio station pointed out that even large chains can help your local economy. Physically shopping at the store is even helpful because that store employs the people in your neighborhood. If they have customers, they need employees, and those people are part of your local community. As opposed to buying something online, where the money goes to a warehouse who knows where… Buying online will help you employ people outside of your community…
The point the radio station was trying to make was that online shopping can be easy but you’re shipping your money into other communities instead of keeping any of it in your own community. That thought really stuck with me.
I’m not trying to preach to you or tell you what to do. But I’m really going to make an effort this year to not buy anything online, to actually visit stores. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to look up prices and sales online, but my wallet will be opening in front of a cashier and not my monitor.
Happy holiday shopping!