Buying local - how important is it?
With THAT time of year very fast approaching, thoughts come to mind about were best to spend our hard earned cash. Even though it's tempting to look online, and buy on ebay, amazon and the like, this will not help our local shops to survive. It's of course not easy to find the latest electro-digital gadget in the nearby high street, or the designer handbag at the independent fashion boutique next door. The handbag might be there, but not at the online price.
The immediate effect of buying locally is that there are less travel costs involved and also no postage to pay. Internet shopping is quite handy, but there are usually a good few pounds added for postage and packing. It's also quite often a bit of a gamble buying something you can't actually see in 'the flesh' or touch. The long term effects are something we do not notice straight away, but are made obvious when we think about what has already happened in a lot of places.
We have a catch 22 situation - the less money people spend in their local shops, the less choice there will be, the more likely it is that customers stay away. And the more likely that good local shops will close, allowing charity shops and coffee outlets to take over the town. So the downward spiral continues. It's a sight that we see duplicated more and more often in more and more towns.
Encouraging people to spend their money locally is not easy in these times when disposable income has generally gone down across the country. And people will make choices that affect them directly. Maybe it's time to see the bigger picture, at least to think about it now and then, how our buying habits affect the world around us.
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