Supporting My Local Retailers vs. Convenience by Debra H. Goldstein
I believe in supporting local stores and merchants. After all, my family’s quality of life was tied to the fact my father and his father were retailers. I grew up in towns where there were small stores where store owners knew us and where the salespeople and owners of the few large department stores were friends or recognizable faces because of their activism and interaction with the community.
Big box stores and chains destroyed some of this community closeness, but still provided jobs and money tied to the local economy. In the past few years, news reports regularly report the closing of these stores, as well as mom and pop operations. Much of the blame for the demise of these retailers has been placed on a shift to internet sales.
I know I’m guilty of shifting much of my shopping to running my fingers over my keyboard. There are so many advantages. I can shop whenever I want; compare prices and goods in seconds; and find brands and merchandise in stock rather than discovering I’ve missed the store’s one to show and one to go.
Many of you know that between November and the last two or three weeks, I was bedridden/housebound post reconstructive foot surgery. Shopping online became a way of life. Amazon became my best friend.
It started when I wanted a better picker upper than the one we had in the house. No problem, it was here within two days. I ran out of stationary for the thank you notes I needed to write to the many friends who brought dinners and lunches throughout November and December. No problem, delivered within two days. Realizing I wasn’t going to get out to purchase holiday cards, it was no problem. Two styles arrived within two days. Any moment I heard about a book that might be interesting, no problem, I ordered it before I forgot the title. It even reached a point I started doing my grocery shopping online.
Everything became a matter of convenience. I hate to think how much money went to online merchants versus my local shopkeepers. Now that I am a bit more mobile, my intent was to shop in town, but convenience is hard to give up. This was brought home this week when I needed to buy a bag of marbles to use for a physical therapy assigned exercise. Neither the nearby Dollar Store nor our “we have everything” novelty shop nor the big box toy store had any in stock. Frustrated and needing to elevate my foot, I went home and picked up my computer. Within minutes, my computer was powered up, I’d reviewed four pages of marble choices, an order was placed, and I went on to do something else.
As you can guess, the marbles arrived within two days. My shopping habits have changed. How about yours?