I’m not a shopper… I’ve never been much of a shopper. Every year around the holidays, I fight the urge to listen to Christmas music or start doing any of my Christmas/holiday shopping until after Thanksgiving. You’ll never see me at one of the Black Friday sales. And then, after the November holiday, I immediately feel behind. One of my aunts already has her gifts WRAPPED long before Halloween and I won’t even have started brainstorming. Previous years, I’ve found myself wandering the malls in/around Chicago thinking what I could buy this or that person much to my growing dismay. Forget my daydreaming of insane consumerism or why Chicago has so many outdoor malls (when most of us are shopping in the dead of winter!), I’d give anything to be done and drinking hot chocolate in front of a warm fire somewhere.
As a result, this past year, I, like many others, shopped more on-line than ever before. Outside of the gifts I made for others, most of the gifts I bought came from Amazon and other on-line services. Why are web-based retailers’ numbers up so much this past holiday? You can depend on it. You can trust your transaction and the prices are better than many of the brick and mortar stores. It was quick… it was easy and I could stay at home, shopping to my heart’s content drinking, the aforementioned, hot chocolate.
But even buying from Amazon wasn’t ideal. I would have preferred to have done more of my shopping “locally,” but away from the malls. Buying locally has tons of advantages, among them: the ability to support local business in my own neighborhood, it’s better for the environment (less shipping fuel and costs), and I can get my items quickly without waiting for them to arrive on-time from across the country and world.
Sometimes, buying locally isn’t just convenient, it’s necessary. A few months ago after running the Chicago Marathon (I didn’t die!), I wanted to buy a couple of the hats volunteers received from assisting at the run. The buyer I found on a well known web-based service didn’t know me from Adam… I didn’t trust him/her so we ended up meeting at a random Starbucks in Chicago to make the swap, and I was relieved when the transaction was finally complete. This type of transaction would have been so much simpler and calmer with a service like FeelGoodTrader. I could at least have gone into the purchase with some comfort that I was buying from someone from the community, someone that others in the community trusted and had some previous success buying and selling from…and I’ll bet some wonderful, tasty, hot chocolate wouldn’t have hurt either! 🙂