After my comment about mom-and-pop stores having trouble competing with cut-throat online sellers with little overhead, a friend of mine just shrugged and said, “Online shopping is the way of the future.” I couldn’t believe my ears at such casual abandonment of our local economy.
I suddenly felt like I was back in my college Econ 101 class, which was when the light bulb went on for me. I got it! Mom-and-pop stores, like our local sporting goods (and other) stores, are the heart of our local economy because money spent by the community in those stores tends to stay in the community.
When you shop online, all of the money leaves our community. That’s bad for all of us. Shopping at the big chain stores is only a little better than shopping online. All the profit goes away to wherever company headquarters happens to be. But a handful of our community workers have jobs (generally low-paying) at the chain stores, so at least a little of the money stays local.
If you care about your community, shop at neighborhood mom-and-pop stores to keep our local economy vibrant and self-contained.
Shopping at mom-and-pops is good for all of us. I’ve always operated under this guiding rule: I will not buy anything online that I can buy at or order through a local mom-and-pop shop. So, I do very little online shopping. Please consider living by that guiding rule for the sake of our community.
The anatomy of an online sale is often something like this. You find something online for less than what you saw it on sale for at a local store, so you are tempted to buy it. After adding shipping, the difference pretty much goes away (as does your money — right out of the community). Then perhaps you notice that if your order is over a certain threshold, shipping is waived, so you look at what else you might buy to pad your order. Those other items are often priced for considerable profit, and the small savings you might have realized evaporates.
So, you abandoned your community for a pitifully small savings — if any savings at all. If that looks attractive, you need some community spirit. Our community is what we put into it. So, please, shop at mom-and-pop shops.
— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help.