It’s time once again for us to mount our soapbox and point out all the reasons that you should give our local merchants the first crack at filling your Christmas shopping list. If you are a regular reader, the message may seem redundant, but good news bears repeating and some of us have short memories.
For starters, it’s a no-brainer that driving to shop in San Antonio, Del Rio, Laredo or anywhere else in Southwest Texas is not an inexpensive proposition. Even if you don’t value your time, the fuel and wear and tear on your vehicle (or your friend’s) is quantifiable. Especially when contrasted with a two minute drive time in Uvalde.
There is also the annoying inconvenience of trying to exchange something that either doesn’t fit, does not work properly or just isn’t right upon inspection at home. In that scenario, you probably just bought yourself another long-distance road trip. Ka-ching.
But let’s say you’ve wised up to unnecessary travel and plan to order online. We can’t argue as there is a certain amount of convenience to punching a few buttons and then waiting for the thud of a package at the front door. But once again, how many times have you opened that gift box to find that the item inside bears no resemblance to the article that attracted your attention on your phone’s screen? And if the match is no good, what are the odds of it fitting?
The fact is that ordering online is far less satisfactory in almost every respect to visiting one of our merchants, where you can hold, eyeball and probe your prospective gift to your heart’s content. There is another downside to the online ordering craze and that is the sheer volume of cardboard and plastic that must be generated for packaging. Add in the fuel for delivery and the environmental costs are staggering.
Finally and perhaps most importantly is the multiplier effect of spending money where we live. Every dollar that you tender to a local merchant turns over seven times in our economy. Think of it as a chain reaction that ends up helping everyone. The store owner uses your dollars to pay his employees who in turn buy clothes, groceries, gasoline and pay the people who perform services for them.
With that money in circulation, our residents can also pay their taxes, which fund the services that we all require: first responders, roads, parks, water and sewer. It also allows us to support the charitable organizations that add immensely to our quality of life.
Should you draw a vertical line down a blank page and list the pros on one side and the cons on the other, there is no contest. Shopping at home is a win/win for all of us.