Why I started to buy most products locally again

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 3, 2014

Much of what I have bought in the past couple of years, maybe even the last ten years, has been bought on Internet shopping sites and not local stores.

While I'm probably not an extreme example when it comes to that, as I prefer to buy select items such as clothing or groceries locally, I have bought most items online.

I bought computer hardware online, books and media on Amazon, games on sites such as Steam, select household items and even furniture online as well.

I sat down one day and analyzed the behavior. Buying online has many advantages:

  1. It is very convenient. Just a couple of mouse clicks and you can purchase nearly every item on sale online. I do not have to leave the house for that, and the items get delivered to my door step so no carrying around either.
  2. I can compare prices. Price comparison engines and extensions help me find the best price for an item. It is possible to save a lot of money by comparing prices as they can differ a lot.
  3. It is usually cheaper. While not always the case, it is usually true that items are cheaper online, especially when you use price comparison engines.
  4. Availability may be better. There are so many online shopping sites that it is easy to find one that has the item available that you want to purchase. Locally, it may be just one or few stores that offer the item and if it is not available, it needs to be ordered before it can be bought.

These are strong incentives to buy online. There are however reasons against buying (most) items online as well.

  1. You support the local economy. This is especially true if you buy from independent local stores and not national chains, but both employee people of the community you are living in. If those people get unemployed, it is a burden for the whole community.
  2. You build a relationship with a real human being. Online support may be good or terrible, but all forms of online support have in common that you communicate with different representatives. Locally, especially in independent stores, you can form relationships with the owner and staff that go a lot deeper.
  3. Support is often better. While not always the case, it has been my experience that dedicated local businesses are usually well informed about their products while it is usually left to you to find the right product online. This includes returns as well which are often handled in a better way.
  4. More money re-circulates locally. Studies have shown that money spend on local businesses re-circulates more locally than money spend on non-locally owned businesses.
  5. May reduce environmental impact. Depending on what you buy, transportation may impact the environment in a lesser way. This is especially true for produce and food that is made available by local farmers.
  6. Limits impulsive purchases. Since it is so easy to buy products online, it is much easier to buy something impulsively.
via xkcd

I made the decision to buy most products locally based on the advantages of buying locally. There are some products that cannot be bought locally, or that have such a great price divide between local prices and online prices that I cannot justify buying them locally. This is for instance true for computer hardware.

Would I pay $50 more for a 3TB hard drive because it is offered by a local computer shop? I would not, but it may make sense for others to do. This can for instance be the case if you need help setting it up correctly as you may be able to phone the owner or one of the employees of the store to get that help. That is of course if they are proficient enough to help you out.

I shop online when it comes to unavailable products as well. If something is not available locally anymore, I may still get it online either on retail shopping sites or marketplaces like eBay.

What about you? Have your shopping habits changed in the past couple of years?

Why I started to buy most products locally again
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Why I started to buy most products locally again
Online shopping has many advantages, but there are also disadvantages that need to be taken into account.

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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between name.com domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

  10. Anonymous said on September 28, 2023 at 8:19 am

    When will you put an end to the mess in the comments?

  11. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 9:36 am

    Ghacks comments have been broken for too long. What article did you see this comment on? Reply below. If we get to 20 different articles we should all stop using the site in protest.

    I posted this on [https://www.ghacks.net/2023/09/28/reddit-enforces-user-activity-tracking-on-site-to-push-advertising-revenue/] so please reply if you see it on a different article.

    1. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 11:01 am

      Comment redirected me to [https://www.ghacks.net/2012/08/04/add-search-the-internet-to-the-windows-start-menu/] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  12. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 10:48 am

    Comment redirected me to [https://www.ghacks.net/2012/08/04/add-search-the-internet-to-the-windows-start-menu/] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  13. Mystique said on September 28, 2023 at 12:13 pm

    Article Title: Reddit enforces user activity tracking on site to push advertising revenue
    Article URL: https://www.ghacks.net/2023/09/28/reddit-enforces-user-activity-tracking-on-site-to-push-advertising-revenue/

    No surprises here. This is just the beginning really. I cannot see a valid reason as to why anyone would continue to use the platform anymore when there are enough alternatives fill that void.

  14. justputthispostanywhere said on September 29, 2023 at 3:59 am

    I’m not sure if there is a point in commenting given that comments seem to appear under random posts now, but I’ll try… this comment is for https://www.ghacks.net/2023/09/28/reddit-enforces-user-activity-tracking-on-site-to-push-advertising-revenue/

    My temporary “solution”, if you can call it that, is to use a VPN (Mullvad in my case) to sign up for and access Reddit via a European connection. I’m doing that with pretty much everything now, at least until the rest of the world catches up with GDPR. I don’t think GDPR is a magical privacy solution but it’s at least a first step.

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