Support your hometown; buy locally

Many of us get a little crazy during the holidays. Sometimes we just don’t use our heads.

Clearly, the person who wrote a recommendation for one of those national consumer organizations wasn’t using his or hers. In deciding what model of a particular product to buy, shoppers should inspect various types, the adviser suggested. One strategy is to go to a local store to do that — then buy it online, it was noted.

That’s terrible.

Saturday was Small Business Saturday, an annual event held every November. It falls after the big “Black Friday” sales many retailers use to get the Christmas shopping season off to a good start.

Not so many years ago, shoppers did not need to be reminded of the importance — not to mention the common sense — of patronizing local businesses. There was no internet.

Now, many people insist they’re just too busy to make the trip to local stores for Christmas shopping. It’s just so much easier to do it online, from the comfort of home.

Some people say it’s too expensive to shop locally. Sure, on some things you can find better deals online, but often, the internet retailers’ prices are no bargains, especially when you include shipping charges or membership fees for things such as Amazon Prime. Many gifts can be purchased for less at local stores. Overall, the savings are largely a matter of perception and rationalization.

Some complain that there are no stores in their hometowns. Sure, most small Adirondack hamlets have limited options, but each of the Tri-Lakes villages has numerous places to buy gifts. They don’t have every kind of shop, of course — there used to be more before people started shopping online — but don’t punish those we do have, business that work hard to serve us. To think your hometown’s businesses deserve to lose your business because they don’t have everything you want makes no sense.

Thousands of your neighbors here in the Adirondacks rely on local stores, directly or indirectly, for their jobs. Isn’t it worth going just a bit out of your way to support them?

Their employers pay local taxes, by the way. They support our schools, our towns and our counties. No one at the online retailers in California, New York City or even other countries pays a dime to ensure our children and grandchildren have good schools.

Nor do the online retailers support the many worthy causes in our area. How many needy families enjoyed bountiful Thanksgiving repasts Thursday because of the generosity of local businesses? How many children will find toys they didn’t expect Santa to bring because of the same kind local store owners? How many youth hockey, soccer and baseball teams are sponsored by them?

And today we learned that this Monday, “Cyber Monday,” was the biggest shopping day in Amazon’s history, with more than 100 million products sold worldwide. We hope people reconsider their shopping options and keep more of their hard-earned money circulating here at home instead of feeding wealthy companies that already have much more than they need.

And there’s no substitute for actually examining an item in person to decide whether it’s the best gift for that hard-to-please recipient. Can you touch, operate, smell, taste and really listen to gifts bought online? Of course not.

Any way you look at it, shopping at local stores makes sense.

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