Shopping Local

Part Three

This series has encouraged re-messaging small business shop local campaigns with better arguments for customer loyalty.  We have pitched the existence of quality, better paying jobs and a wider range of quality choices on store shelves as things consumers actually want and can relate to if they are willing to support those benefits by shopping locally.

A third benefit of shopping locally that a consumer can appreciate is total best value for their dollars.

In teaching and speaking engagements with young people, I have said the following more times than I can count.  If you tracked two people with identical life circumstances, with one always buying the cheapest possible option, and the other always investing in the best total value, the latter would be far cash-wealthier ten, twenty, thirty and forty years into adulthood.  Why is this?

Paying too little for goods does not net-benefit us.  Unlike the marketing of one very famous ‘Mart, it does not help you “live better” — quite the opposite.  Underpaying for our goods and services disincentivizes everyone involved in bringing that product or service to us from doing a good job.  So raw quality gets cut, service before and after the sale gets cut, the instance of breakage or failure increases, the number of times we must replace that item or repurchase that service goes up, and in the long-run we actually pay more for a lower net result.

To top-it-off, we also have also endured a lot more aggravating circumstances and wasted our time duplicating the effort of meeting our wants and needs.

I give more examples of this in a 4-part “Think Local” series for K-State University (full article).  Today, for myself, there are big stores I won’t walk into and whole categories of goods I refuse to consider buying online precisely because I hate wasting money, and I have indeed wasted a lot of money trying to save it by buying inferior-performing products that failed too soon or failed to get a job done as well as I would have liked.

It really is worth it to get knowledgeable, in-store advice and know that the store where you made the purchase is now incentivized to keep your business by supporting their own recommendations.  The problem is, that is getting harder to find as well due to the increasing commoditization of our culture.

So the resounding message for consumers is this: if you are serious and not joking about saving money and living better, then prove it by being willing to invest in better solutions that most discounters cannot help you with.

Jeff Koenig