I wrote a letter to the editor of the Utica O-D. I felt so pleased with it that I thought I would use it as a blog post as well. Full disclosure: Another reason is I could use WordPress’ word-count feature by typing it in here. It is a little more serious than my usual stuff, but it is a subject I feel strongly about.
How would you like it if your boss said to you, “I’m not going to pay you for the last hour you worked.” That is what happens to brick and mortar businesses when customers shop their store but buy on-line.
Take for example an eyeglass shop. People spend up to an hour with the optician looking at glasses. They utilize this person’s time and expertise, cause wear and tear on the premises and merchandise, then go and make their purchases on-line, “because it’s cheaper.”
Brick and mortar businesses cannot compete with the internet on price. They try to compete by offering service and a hands-on experience. I feel it is wrong for people utilize these things but buy elsewhere. In the case of the eyewear shop, they have sometimes paid for an exam, but the profit from that does not make up for taking up the optician’s time and using of the merchandise.
Most businesses, especially small locally-owned shops, are not out to gouge the customer. They merely want to make a fair profit on their time and money invested.
I understand people’s desire to save money. However, spending money on-line sends it out of the community. That hurts everyone. The money you don’t save by spending locally stays here. It is an investment in our towns and villages. Please, let’s keep our local shops in business.