Loyal to the Locals

Today’s age is ruled by technology. Practically everyone owns a smartphone and spends countless hours on that device.  Everywhere you go, you are bound to find people focused on the small screen in their hands.  This technology is starting to take over the shopping world, as well.  “Shopping US 2015 Report reveals that over two thirds (69 percent) of US online adults shop online at least monthly, with 33 percent shopping online every week in 2015, up from 24 percent in 2014” (Nearly 70% of Americans).  Amazon, eBay, and craigslist are some of the most popular websites for buying goods, and people can find almost anything they would need on these websites.  Shopping online has its downfalls, though.  Online, you have to pay for shipping and risk having that item lost or late, you hurt small local business owners whose only source of income may come from the store, you don’t get to see the item and know if it’s truly what you want, and you miss out on the random store conversations.

The big difference between online shopping and local shopping is you have to pay for shipping.  This cost for shipping may even cost more than the actual item you want.  Why would anyone do that?  This generation has become lazy, and we justify this purchase in our minds because it saves us time.  The next problem with the whole shipping aspect is your item may be lost or stolen.  An article on Huffington Post reports, “Of the more 6 billion packages shipped yearly, up to 40 percent miss their first delivery window, said Neel Murthy, co-founder of Swapbox, a locker-type system for alternative package delivery (Pinsker).  This whole issue could be avoided by just taking a nice little drive to your local store and buying that item.  This online item may arrive later than you need it, too.  If it’s something you truly need, you don’t want to have the chance of it not arriving on time.  Yes, there may be some objects that you can’t buy in a local store, but there sure are a lot of things that people buy online that can be bought at a local store, and you can be helping out your local business owner, which is my next point.

Many people who own small local businesses receive their only income from that store.  When you shop online for items this business sells, you are hurting them and their business.  These people have likely dedicated their lives to and invested a whole lot of money in this business, only to have it close down because people are buying things online.  ABC News reports, “Research shows that 118,000 estimated jobs will be lost in the next three years, most due to online sales, with 33,000 losses to come from the Federal Government’s refusal to close a GST loophole for imported goods bought online” (Merrillees).  You might have even been able to get the item you are looking for cheaper than online and without the shipping on top of it.  These local businesses also may sell items that you can’t find online.  These items may be handmade or just things that you’ve never heard of.  You are missing out on these items because you might be too lazy to get out of the comfort of your home and go and shop locally.

When you don’t shop locally, you are also missing out on conversations with friends or people you haven’t talked to in a while.  We all know that we hate going shopping with our mom because she always seems to run into someone she knows and spends forever talking to them.  How bad is this, though?  You may run into a friend who is having a hard time; and since you run into them, you are able to talk to them about it or even spark future planned meetings together to help this person.  You can also connect with people you may not have seen in years; but because you run into them at the store, your friendship can be rekindled and turn into what it used to be or even better.  There are even those random conversations with strangers that are sparked by an awkward moment.  That random conversation may be with an elderly person who has no one to talk to all day; and because you had that twenty minute conversation about what soup is better, his or her day has been made.  These are the things you miss out on because you sit at home and shop online.

Shopping online can really hurt this generation and generations to come.  The world is making it so easy to be lazy, and no one even realizes it because it seems so convenient.  Stores are specifically set up to make it easy for this generation to shop, so why not shop local?  Shopping online can cost you more money and time, it can seriously hurt a business owner’s life, you miss out on conversations in stores, and you miss out on the social aspect of shopping locally.

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