Why YOU Should Shop Local This Holiday Season

Beautiful downtown Columbus, Indiana
Downtown Columbus, Indiana

The holidays are right around the corner and so is everyone else as they line up outside the big box stores in a rush to complete their Christmas shopping. Of course we’re talking about Black Friday here and you know what that means: super savings and darn good deals! Well, sort of. Many people don’t know this but the best shopping deals you can get almost never occur on Black Friday. In fact, a study commissioned by The Wall Street Journal found that better deals on products pop-up throughout the year and in extremely limited quantities. So, if we’re not getting the promised deals why do we continue to support Black Friday and its participating retailers?

This question can be answered by four simple factors marketers use to manipulate us into believing we’re really saving big when we’re really not. According to a study by Gareth English, a consumer psychologist and former professor at London Metropolitan University, and Gary Pheiffer, Head of Work and Business Psychology at London Metropolitan University, these four factors are:

1) Is the percentage saving big?
2) Is there a sense of urgency created around the deal?
3) Is the item popular?
4) Is the item exclusive?

Now we could go into an infinite number of ways marketers create the illusion of savings with these factors. But at Zeller Insurance we’re doers – and what we want to do is call attention to both the detriments of Black Friday and the benefits of shopping within your community. Never mind that marketers are trying to manipulate us into spending more and saving less (as if we really could, or even should, ignore that), but did you know that shopping within your community can bring benefits to your family, friends and loved ones within that community? And since your local store owners are busy spending their holidays with their own family that means that by shopping local you will be too! Not to mention these hard-working members of your community are also likely to be more honest with you as well.

A significant number of studies has shown that for every $100 spent at a local retailer, $68 stays within the community compared to the $48 that would stay were that money to go to a big box store. This money gets cycled back into the local economy by the local retailers and leads to better community improvement in the form of infrastructure and community programs. Logistically speaking, shopping local also helps to reduce environmental pollution. This is because local retailers are more likely to buy raw materials from other local retailers as well as outsource business activities (marketing, accounting, payroll, taxes, etc.) to other local businesses.

To make the matter more personal, here are some hard truths about why shopping local is a better alternative to shopping at larger chain stores:

• Non-profit organizations receive 250% more on average from small business owners than from large businesses.
• Local businesses generate 70% more local economic activity per square foot than big box stores.
• The U.S. transports and ships $2.2 trillion worth of products from over 150 countries each year, generating 1.1 billion gallons of used per year internationally.

Black Friday deals seem too good to be true. That’s because they are. So, what are you really saving when you decide to opt of the not-so biggest sale of the year? Since the deals are an illusion anyway, you’re only saving time and money by choosing to stay indoors this Friday, November 24th. You’re helping the environment and you’re building a better community. Ultimately you’re spending your Thanksgiving as we all should – making memories with loved ones and feeling grateful we have so many wonderful people in our lives to shop for in the first place. So this Friday, don’t waste your time chasing fake savings. Do better for yourself and your community by choosing to shop local today. Or at least when your local retailers open for regular business hours.

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