Shop local, support area

Ever ordered something online only to discover once it arrived that it wasn’t at all what you expected? Or that the merchant was out of the color you ordered and shipped you something different?

That would not have happened if you had made your purchase in a local store.

Or, have you ever bought an item online only to see it a few days later in a store — at a lower price?

The Christmas shopping season kicked off officially on Thanksgiving evening. Then and on Black Friday, the stores were packed with people searching for the perfect gifts at good prices.

There is an excellent reason they were thronging to local retail outlets instead of doing their shopping online.

Patronizing local stores is the smart thing to do, for any number of reasons.

Many offer super-low prices on some items for Black Friday sales — but keep up the good work throughout the days leading up to Christmas. Store owners and managers understand price is a big consideration, and they are determined to be competitive.

As we have pointed out previously, there is nothing like Christmas shopping in person. Helpful clerks are available to assist you in finding the size and color you need. If they don’t have what you want, chances are they can get it quickly.

You can see, touch, hear, even, sometimes, smell and taste the item you are considering.

Try that with your laptop or smartphone.

Shopping at local stores is a gift to neighbors you don’t even know. Retailers in our area provide thousands of jobs, many of them temporary positions during the holidays. Without your business, those jobs — and perhaps the stores themselves — go away.

Plus, consider this: Raising money for your local Girl Scout troop or baseball league? Don’t even think of calling one of the online retailers who want your business at Christmas. They don’t care.

Your local merchants do. Each year they give hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of dollars to good, local causes.

“Small Business Saturday” is a great idea, too. It is a reminder of both the importance of supporting local stores and the benefits of doing so.

Don’t make it a one-day-a-year event.

Looking for the perfect gift? It’s out there — or, rather, right here at home — and there is an excellent chance it is something you would never have spotted online.

By Chad Fleck

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