Shop Local: Support community by keeping your holiday spending at home

Twenty-eight million.

No, that’s not the number of leaves you still have to rake from your yard.

That’s the amount, nationally, that online spending increased on Thursday, Nov. 22, compared to the same day in 2017. The total amount people spent shopping online on Nov. 22, 2018, was $3.7 billion.

Remember when people spent Thanksgiving Day watching football, digesting their turkey dinner and arguing about religion and politics?

Few will, or should, rail against online shopping, for it is a hard-and-fast fact of American life now. Its appeals are clear; but like any phenomenon, it needs to be kept in perspective.

That $28 million increase may seem slight in the grand scheme of things, but it is firm evidence of Americans’ growing practice of buying on the Internet.

And it needs to be considered in terms of how consumers might or might not support local businesses. Some merchants depend on the practice of online shopping, and it can be a means of sustaining local jobs.

But a sure way of sustaining local jobs is to shop locally; by buying from local stores, you are helping your neighbors.

Also, as “Black Friday” has evolved into a generic name for any “sale” starting in early November, it is becoming more and more evident that those “Black Friday” specials are not always the deals they are cracked up to be. Patience and a bit more research and “caveat emptor” combined with a look at what’s available down the street, could result in savings along with the satisfaction of keeping your money in your community.

What better day to start, or revive, the shop-local practice than Nov. 24, national Small Business Saturday?

As our advertisers regularly demonstrate, wide and affordable choices abound in local stores. Sure, some items might be only available online, but often local merchants can order it for you and the wait might be a whopping 48 or 72 hours. Take your time; there are plenty of shopping days until Christmas.

Simply by stepping foot inside local shops and checking out the merchandise, you create an opportunity for community, even if you don’t end up buying anything at that particular moment.

Standard shopping wisdom is make a list and stick to it. That said, a trip inside any local store might surprise you and provide new ideas, especially if your list includes question marks next to “Hard to Shop For.”

You never know what you’ll find, you might be surprised who you might run into; and you might find that the price is preferable or comparable to what’s online. You also get to try it on, examine the label and hold the product up to the light. These are all irreplaceable factors in the in-person, local shopping experience.

And if downtown Hood River shopping is something you’d like to do but don’t like to pay for parking, remember that the city’s annual parking-fee waiver period returns Nov. 30 to Jan.1 — about a week longer than past years.

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