A few more thoughts on shopping local

Few people really enjoy the Christmas shopping routine of trudging from store to store, often battling crowds of others seeking the perfect gifts at good prices. Some conclude it would be better to buy online or through catalogs.

They are mistaken, having failed to wonder whether those crowds of shoppers have good reasons for patronizing local stores.

In fact, they have lots of good reasons.

First and foremost is that those with the most success in finding those perfect gifts often find them at local stores – where they can look at, touch, try out and perhaps even taste or smell the merchandise. There is no disappointment in learning that online picture was not quite accurate or that the color is not quite right or the “super, gigantic, king-size” description was, shall we say, just a bit exaggerated.

Need help? A second opinion, perhaps? Local stores are full of salespeople eager to assist with the most honest assessments they can provide. They hope you’ll come back, after all.

And though “Black Friday” is over for this year, excellent pricing on many holiday must-haves is not. Local stores will be running specials right up until Dec. 24, and we’ll let you know about them through advertisements and inserts in the Daily Freeman-Journal. Even their regular prices are competitive.

Your gift wasn’t quite right for the recipient and needs to be returned, perhaps exchanged? No problem at local stores.

But there are other reasons to visit local stores that, whether you know it or not, patronize you in a big way.

They pay taxes to our communities, counties and states, helping to ensure our schools stay open, our streets are maintained and a host of other government services are funded. Online retailers pay no property taxes here. Many do not collect sales taxes for our cities and states.

And there is the matter of supporting worthy causes. In one way or another – often more generously than their customers know – most local stores contribute. It may be to sponsor the local youth soccer team, to provide door prizes for a benefit to help a sick child, or assist the volunteer fire department. It may be to provide a discount to organizations buying gifts or food for the needy. Or it may be in direct cash donations to charities.

Try calling an online retailer and asking for a donation.

There is another very important reason to do your Christmas shopping locally. How many of your neighbors work at the Internet-only store in California?

Many – the number may surprise you – depend on local stores for employment.

So yes, there are excellent reasons why so many of your neighbors, friends and family members do their Christmas shopping locally – and why you should, too.