When you buy from a small local shop, a real person does a happy dance. The family-owned mom and pop stores from our youth are slowly disappearing, replaced with the convenience of internet shopping or large chain stores that offer lower prices.
And lower prices are certainly a draw. I know that I’ve fallen for this one before! It’s so tempting to shop at large chain stores where you can get everything under one roof. If you are a busy parent or on a very tight budget, the lure of cheap and convenient is hard to resist.
Buying local does make more sense when you think about it. When you buy online, you don’t get to see the products and we’ve all had bad experiences. Internet purchase fails are so ubiquitous that there are websites dedicated to them. When you factor in the cost of shipping and purchases that don’t cut the mustard, you really aren’t saving that much at all.
Supporting a local business means the money you spend goes right back into your community. Reinvesting in your own village, town, city and country is far more beneficial to you and your children than supporting large, international corporations. One study found that areas with thriving local businesses had higher home prices. That means shopping in your own neighbourhood can add to the value of your house.
Studies show that if every household in the US spent an extra $10 at a local, independently-owned store instead of a national chain, a whopping $9.3 billion would go back into the local economy.
Buying local also means you’re more likely to make an ethical choice. From clothing manufacturers to factories, millions of workers across the world are underpaid and mistreated. When you buy something that is farmed or made locally, you can get to know the producers and can ask questions to ensure that your product was ethically produced.
Knowing who you are buying from also means you get to see what goes into your products. You’ll know the farmers who made your food and how they choose to farm. You’ll know if quality materials were used to make products and you can prevent the kind of offgasing that results in poor air quality in your home. This is especially pertinent in the winter months when we seal up our homes.
Local products haven’t traveled far, so they’ll have a smaller carbon footprint and you’ll have one too since you’re not travelling long distances.
Buying local means you get to support your neighbors and friends. You’ll get personal service from someone who cares about you. This festive season, put down the mouse and go shopping in your neighbourhood instead.