Stop! Don’t buy that present online, shop local

26November 2020

A friend — who loves her trendy urban neighborhood where she can step out her door and walk to a favorite restaurant or boutique — laughed the other day during a phone call about how many packages she gets from Amazon to her front door, sometimes as many as five deliveries in one week.

I didn’t laugh with her.

“If you keep that up,” I said, “pretty soon you won’t have any nice shops to browse through in your neighborhood, just boarded up storefronts, and that’s going to cause your home price to plunge,” I said.

She stopped chuckling. She blamed COVID-19 for her “new” online purchasing habit but, in reality, she’s been buying online for years, it’s just ramped up of late. What’s more, the carbon footprint of two-day delivery is bad for the environment.

During his Wednesday news conference where he announced a new state of local emergency for Calgary, Mayor Naheed Nenshi implored Calgarians to buy local.

“I want to remind people of the importance of being connected to your community,” said Nenshi.

“I want to really encourage everyone to support our local businesses.

“They’re having a tough time. We launched Support Local YYC again to remind people of ways in which they can support businesses and shop local.

“Seek a local retailer when you’re doing your Christmas shopping or your regular shopping. People who pay property taxes, hire local people, and sponsor your kid’s softball team,” said Nenshi.

Right. Our local shop owners are often our neighbors. They are invested in our neighborhoods and enhance our community. Proximity to retail stores and restaurants increases the livability and value of our homes.

Nenshi has advice for those who want to shop online during this pandemic but also want to support local business rather than the bottom line of Amazon’s billionaire owner Jeff Bezos. He looks for an item on Amazon, then copies and pastes the name and brand of what he wants, and Googles it to see if a local retailer is selling the same thing.

“Sometimes I even get a better price when I do that,” said Nenshi.

Sadly, often the opposite happens. One store owner I know said she has women come into her store, try on a bunch of merchandise, see what looks good, and then go online to buy it, sometimes saving just a few dollars.

“I’ve seen them wearing the dress that they tried on in my shop, using my staff’s time, in pleasant surroundings, being waited on and catered to, and then buying it online. Now, because of COVID we steam everything everyone tries on and set those clothes aside for two days,” taking those items off the market for purchase by another customer, said this retailer, who asked not to be named for fear of offending customers.


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