Shopping Locally and Succeeding

Almost three months later, it’s the right time to give an update on my resolution to shop locally and stop relying on Amazon.

To recap, I decided in 2014 that I want my money to stay within my community. I’d like mom-and-pop businesses to be able to survive and thrive. They’re the ones who care most about the places and people around them, and money they earn doesn’t enrich financiers and the 1%. They’re also much more likely to pay their employees fairly and treat them with the respect all people deserve, which is an issue I continue to become more and more passionate about.

Three months later I’m happy to report I’ve been mostly successful. That is, I haven’t ordered any physical goods from Amazon, and I’ve much more often made the decision to patronize local shops. Some examples:

  • Haven’t ordered any books from Amazon, either digital or physical.
  • In fact, I haven’t ordered anything physical from Amazon.
  • Got plumbing supplies at the local hardware store, spending a good bit more than I would have otherwise.
  • Joined the Brooklyn Public Library. While I’ve only visited once because I have a backlog of books to read, I know I’ll be back more often later this year.
  • Ordered flowers by walking around the corner and into a florist! Crazy, I know.
  • Visited the Brooklyn Flea to check out furniture options for our new apartment.

And now for the bad, or maybe bad. I can’t decide, so they’re certainly up for discussion:

  • Ordered a pair of boots from Zappos (and yes I realize Amazon owns them). In my defense, I needed snow boots for this wretched winter and there aren’t any stores near me in Brooklyn who sell them. I probably could have worked harder to find something local – but it was snowing and gross!
  • I still frequently order digital video from Amazon. Digital video wasn’t part of my original resolution, but it was a questionable area. I stand by these purchases. It’s just not a thing to buy physical copies of video anymore, and I personally don’t see the difference between vendors.
  • Bought a sweater from J. Crew’s website. I could have gone to the store, but I didn’t.
  • I haven’t bought any Kindle books, but mostly out of consciously trying to work through my current backlog and spend less on books.

What does the future look like for this resolution? I can’t see myself becoming an Amazon Prime member again and I’m going to continue to endeavor not to order goods online that I can get locally. That said, next week I’m moving to a neighborhood with a lot less local options, which presents an interesting challenge. In Fort Greene, the lack of chain stores means it’s easy to shop local. In my new neighborhood, it will be much harder.

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