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  • Want to Stress Less This Holiday Shopping Season?

    gift cardI don’t know about you, but I avoid big box stores like the plague on Black Friday. The stress, the crowds, the jostling, the overall rudeness of people intent on getting the items they want (even if it means ripping it out of someone else’s hands), not to mention the pure, unadulterated materialism, turns me off. I prefer to shop local on Small Business Saturday (the day after Black Friday) or online on Cyber Monday.

    Here are a few reasons I support local businesses on Small Business Saturday (and every other day of the year as well):

    1. Smaller crowds = less stress for an introvert like me who loses energy when surrounded by lots of people… especially if they’re rude or obnoxious.
    2. Local businesses are the backbone of the economy. Their prices may be higher, but there’s a reason: small businesses can’t afford to give the kinds of deep discounts on products that the big corporations can. They don’t get anywhere near the volume discounts that the big guys get. I mean really, if you’re a manufacturer, who are you going to give the bigger wholesale discount to… the big company buying 5,000 hammers or the little guy buying 5? It’s simple math, with a hefty dose of common sense thrown in for good measure.
    3. Along the same lines as number 2, small, local businesses also can’t afford to have “loss leaders” in the same way that the big guys can. In case you’re not familiar with the term, a loss leader is an item that is discounted so heavily that the store loses money when it sells. It is used to draw you into the store in the hopes that you’ll buy other things that they do make a profit on. The little guy simply can’t afford to take a loss on anything they sell.
    4. Those few extra dollars you spend at a local business are usually returned in the form of individual or personalized service when they greet you by name, remember what your usual purchases are, or that you mentioned an aging or sick pet/relative, etc.
    5. Local businesses return more of their profits to the local economy than the big box stores do.
    6. I own a local business. My massage business is owned and operated by little old me, and me alone. No matter what you may think, the majority of small business owners are NOT wealthy; they live hand to mouth just like the rest of the middle class.

    Why I support Cyber Monday:

    1. Shopping online is about as stress-free as shopping gets.
    2. No need to deal with traffic.
    3. No rude people to get on your nerves.
    4. The online store is always open, so I get to shop when it’s convenient for me.
    5. Shopping in my jammies. Need I say more?
    6. Many local businesses sell products and/or services online, including gift certificates. This is especially handy if the place you want to purchase a GC from is service-based. Many local service-based businesses (massage therapists, consultants, web designers, accountants, etc) work on an appointment only basis because they do not have/can’t afford a receptionist. Shopping online on Cyber Monday (or any other day) for gift certificates is the perfect way to support that business.

    In case you’re wondering, and I know you are, I do sell Gift Certificates online now through my Square Market Store. In case you didn’t know, Square is that little white box (called a reader) that many small businesses swipe your credit card through. It’s usually attached to a tablet (that’s being used as a register) or a smart phone. You may need to create an account to purchase through the market, but once you do it will make transactions at businesses who use a Square reader go a bit faster. Faster checkout is good, right?

    I’m curious, do you shop Black Friday sales? What about Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments below.