One of the biggest challenges I face shopping in a rural area is the pressure to do my shopping locally.
If I visit the local shops, I often enjoy great customer service, but I pay a lot more for that experience.
If I shop at a larger chain store or shop online, I often find great deals, but not as nice of an experience.
I’ve lived in my small rural community for long enough to know that a local business with no customers will surely disappear.
But is it my job to save that business by shopping there? Or is it my job to provide for my family while making the most of our hard-earned dollars?
“There are indeed times that I’ll eat or shop at a national chain, but if I have a choice, I’ll almost always opt for local. Yes, there usually is [a price difference]. (Though not always.) But the cost differential isn’t great. Even when I was digging out of debt, I was willing to pay extra to buy local. I considered a sort of “community tax” — a surcharge I paid to keep the local area vibrant and strong. That’s important to me, so I’m willing to pay a little extra to make it happen.”
“I buy local (and I encourage you to do the same), but I’m rather pragmatic about it.I’ll buy local if the business offers a product (and support for that product) that approaches the value I’d get elsewhere. I won’t buy a product simply because it’s local – my decision to buy something is independent of whether or not there are opportunities to spend locally. Local businesses, however, do often add elements of the purchase to the equation that large chains simply can’t add.”
I tend to agree more with Trent. If I can find a value in shopping at my local stores, than I will. And I will share my positive experience with friends and family.
But I get frustrated with local merchants who feel they are entitled to my business and that I am a bad person if I don’t shop at their stores. I’ve had several experiences in which the local shop owners have been more rude to me than nationally-recognized chain stores, and yet I’m frequently told I’m not shopping locally if I visit these chain stores. Consider this: the headquarters of those chain stores may be far away, but they are employing people who live, work, and spend money right here in my community. And all’s fair in love and capitalism, right?
I will shop locally when shops provide me high quality products and great customer service at a reasonable price. Note: I didn’t say the best price. I said “reasonable.” I know that shopping locally is better for not only the local economy, but also for the environment. But I refuse to pay significantly more for an item in a store with only marginal service and will take my business elsewhere.
So what do you think? Do you always buy local? Or are you willing to shop elsewhere?