In case you haven’t picked up on this in previous posts, or even from the none-too-subtle choice of blog name, I’m a bit of a localvist and try, where possible, to shop local and buy locally. Occasionally the internet does have its benefits, I fully admit it, but more often than not it can be overrated.
For instance, if I want to buy a book I could order it off Amazon and receive it in the next 3-5 working days, or pay an annual premium for it to arrive the next day. Or I could pop to my lovely local bookshop, engage in a conversation with real people and, if the book in question isn’t in stock, they can order it in for the next day at no additional charge to me. They also have the added bonus of being very knowledgeable and passionate about books and can help me find a winning present for a difficult relative. No online store can do that!
One of the biggest positives that people state in favour of internet shopping is that it’s cost effective: it saves you money. Recently I wanted to buy a green Duplo base board for the smalls to use to try and boost their creative options by giving them something to build on.
I looked on Amazon, on toy shops, on supermarkets and everywhere I looked charged about £12 or it would cost that much once you added in the delivery charge, plus we’d have to wait a few days for it to arrive and I wanted them to have something to do as SOON as possible. Just on the off chance we thought we’d try to shop local and popped into Wallingford, our nearest high street, to check out the toy department of the independent department store, Petits.
Not only did they have a base board in stock, but it was only £9.99. That was a win on every front – cheaper, local, available immediately.
This is without starting on a euphoric description of the boutique and independent shops, the butchers, the farm shops, the market stalls and work-at-home-mum options available to someone who wants to support their local economy and community. To use Wallingford as an example, since I’ve mentioned it already and it is the largest selection of shops near me, there are a growing number of empty storefronts in town and a high preponderance of charity shops and hairdressers. Thanks to an inspired decision to encourage pop-up shops and short-term shop lets the high street in Wallingford is undergoing a lovely revival, focused especially around crafty and retro/vintage shops.
Whilst fabric and yarn may be cheaper online, you won’t get advice on how to do the binding on your quilt, the best yarn for that cardigan, how much fabric you need to make that pattern or any of the other expert advice you only get from a retailer who knows their stuff.
For those wanting a unique and interesting shopping experience would you rather go online, to your nearest large mall or shop local in a small town filled with hand-crafted items, home-grown food and retailers who really care about what they’re selling?
Surely it’s a no-brainer!
Even as I write this I am comfortably ensconced in my favourite independent coffee-shop because here I can write un-bothered by the towering mountains of laundry needing putting away and the screeching of my children. The scent of freshly brewed coffee wafts around me, I am surrounded by happy muted chatter, if I need inspiration I can people-watch out of the window and I am supporting other members of my community to make a living.