By Mike Wilcox
Sometimes I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed. I’m a huge proponent of shopping local, but when it came time to buy solar lights for my backyard I was captivated by what I saw on Facebook. So I placed my order with an online company.
After providing my credit card information I was confused to learn the order would come from China. Everything about the ad and the product exuded an American theme. Plus the website gave a California address.
Oh well, I kept the order as is. After all, they told me I’d have my lights in four to five days. After a couple weeks my wife asked, “What happened to the lights you ordered?”
Of course when I asked, the company said they were en route and I should have them in a day or two. Of course that was not the case.
After another week the package arrived. Excitedly my wife and I opened the peculiarly-small package only to find we had received lights, but nothing like the solar ones we had ordered. Our package contained 24 colored light bulbs, ones a dollar store would charge a $1 for.
My excitement quickly turned to anger. I fired off a nasty email to the company and, as with many internet scams, never received a reply. A week later I’m still waiting to hear how I can return this package of cheap light bulbs and get my money back. I’m not expecting much.
I got screwed and it’s my fault. I should have bought my solar lights at the local hardware store. I had failed to practice what I preach: buy locally. Had I done so, I could have inspected the product before I bought it. I could easily have returned it for a full refund if I didn’t like what I’d purchased.
Lesson learned. Pretty pictures on social media will never entice me to buy by internet again. It is more important to view the product you are actually going to purchase than have the dubious convenience of ordering from your easy chair.
Buying local protects your ability to return an item and get a refund if you decide later it’s not for you. It means the product you purchase is typically of much higher quality than a purchase from Amazon.
Buying local means the money you spend will stay in your community providing jobs for local people who work at small businesses that are the backbone of the community.
Amazon, eBay and others have tried mightily to destroy local businesses. Many have bit the dust because they couldn’t compete with pricing and delivery.
As consumers, we have to do all we can to keep local businesses prosperous. It should not be a difficult decision. Shopping local always trumps shopping by internet. You will never get the service and quality from Amazon you get from your local merchant.
I’ve tried both and local businesses and goods are better 99 percent of the time.