I love my little town and its downtown. I also love the ease and convenience of online shopping. I hate to see a local store go out of business, but purchase decisions are not always easy…How do we balance the desire for a thriving downtown with our need to shop wisely?
* * *
I WAS EAGER TO BUY this book. The price was $15.25 on Amazon with no shipping and handling charges if I bumped my shopping cart up to $25. But it would take a few days to arrive and I didn’t want to wait.
Next day, we were due to go to the Medical Center in Columbus. I popped into a Barnes & Noble there. They had the book! I could take it home with me! For $26. I don’t think so.
Back home, I went to Amazon to make the $15.25 purchase and saw that for $12.99 I could have the Kindle edition and read the book on either my computer or my phone. Now.
I wasn’t sure I’d like the experience, but…..in the interest of research and saving $2.26, I opted for the Kindle edition. I downloaded the free reader onto my computer and the free app onto my phone. That very night I started reading the book.
(This post is not about books vs. e-readers. I’m just using my book purchase as an example.)
I was delighted to acquire what I wanted, but would have preferred some of the profit flowed back to local hands. It didn’t.
* * *
IN MY IDEAL WORLD steeped in nostalgia, I would have gone to my local merchant. He would either have the item on hand or be able to get it the next day. The price might be a few dollars above the online price, but I’m willing to pay that in exchange for knowing a local business continues to thrive.
One initiative that satisfies my desire to support our downtown but also be a penny-wise shopper is the 3/50 project, which encourages consumers to make a habit of visiting 3 local small businesses a month and spending a total of $50 (altogether, over the course of a month, anywhere in town). Visit the website and check out the statistics on the impact this has on the local community.