You will notice that at the end of every product review, I have a link to the item on Amazon. This is an affiliate link. I use these for two reasons. First, it makes me giddy to think that a small blog dedicated to a hobby I share with lots of people has the prospect, however unlikely, of earning some cash. Second, I think it is handy to provide people with a simple way to purchase whatever has been written about.
But before you click those links, take a moment to consider purchasing the item locally. I cannot think of a town that does not have at least one stationary shop. Even if you have to go to a big box store, the employees could be your friends and neighbors and your purchase helps provide their paychecks.
I know “think globally, act locally” is generally a slogan for conservation, but it works well for economics, too.
In Fairbanks, Alaska, where I live, we have a number of excellent resources for all items related to writing. Aside from the big box stores, like Fred Meyer and Office Max, we have a really amazing store called If Only. Many, if not most, of the pens and inks I review will have been purchased there.
Aside from the local economy aspect, there are a number of different bonuses to shopping local.
- Hands On: You get a chance to see and feel the item. Is this pen heavy or light? Will the texture of this paper work for a given project? Nothing beats the opportunity to closely examine an item you are thinking of purchasing.
- Personal: The knowledge a shopkeeper has can be invaluable. They can suggest alternatives and make suggestions based on your needs.
- Community: When out shopping, you are bound to run into others who share your interests. Get to know them. Maybe there are writer’s groups, or clubs in your area that might prove interesting.
So take a weekend and learn where these places are in your town. Bust out the phone book, or just go for a drive. Get out and have fun and if you can, shop local!