Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Shopping: Good. Cheap. Convenient. Local. Can we have it all?

There is a well-known saying: Fast, cheap or good. Pick two. In my realm of expertise, this is often repeated to describe the website design process. What brings me to this topic today is in thinking of gift buying and shopping locally.

We have family members from coast to coast, and during the holidays it is always a challenge to find the perfect gift that is fun and unique, fits into our budget, and is easy to ship. It would seem that online shopping at Amazon, Best Buy or Toys R Us is the answer. But I'm throwing a wrench into the scenario. Small communities and formerly vibrant downtowns are disappearing all over the country. To do my small part to help preserve the Chelsea community, I have a strong desire to shop locally. But my own personal needs inevitably outrank the needs of the nebulous "community", and sometimes it does come down to taking the easier, cheaper or more convenient option. But then I feel guilty that I didn't try harder, start sooner, or pay a couple bucks more to support a local store owner. So my corollary for holiday shopping is:

Good, cheap, convenient, or local. Pick three.

My question is... do we really have to choose? Admittedly, it is not always easy to accomplish these goals. But I think with some creative thinking and asking around, we will find some excellent options. It will be my goal this holiday season to provide tips and suggestions for how you can find gifts that are good, affordable and convenient to purchase while still supporting local businesses.

COMING UP: Toys and books ... you know where this one is going, don't you?

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