Real Cost of Free Shipping (Guest Post by Michael O’Rourke)

This is a guest post written by my husband, Michael O’Rourke, who is passionate about supporting our local businesses. He has many great points and I hope you will consider supporting local businesses more, as they support us in return. He actually wrote this on his cell phone, which I thought was especially impressive. 
As a member of a small community and an employee of UPS, I have some serious concerns. *
People have developed a habit of looking for the very best deals to stretch their money the furthest. While this is natural and it is being a good steward of the funds available to them, many people in this day and age are taking it too far.
The businesses in your communities have put themselves out there to provide goods, services, and to provide employment for other people in your community. When you need tires mounted and repaired you can’t order that online. When you need a gallon of milk, you don’t  want to wait for it to be shipped to you;  you go to the local grocery store. When a local family has a disaster and people cry out for donations, where do they go? Local small businesses first, because the larger businesses cooperate donations are harder to get.
When your children look for after school or summer work, do they look for work in the online industries? Most do not; most of the kids go to the grocery stores and small businesses located in the communities in which we live.
Why then are many people, in increasing numbers, sending their money away from those same communities.  With a few dollars saved here and a couple dollars saved there, combined with free shipping, it seems that the individual savings do add up.  However, can we as  a community, afford the real cost of free shipping and sending our money to some corporation in an entirely different state? Are those corporations giving the donations for the local disasters that happen? Are they employing your kids and your neighbors? Are they paying sales tax and property taxes in your communities that pay for emergencies services and road maintenance? Are they fixing your tires or providing you the hardware supplies you need that day to fix your water heater right now? We all know the answer. They are not. Aside from the slight savings and convenience that an individual has personally there is no benefit whatsoever to online shopping. Some may argue that as a driver for UPS, online stores provide me with work. While this may seem true, I would also have work if the local businesses were ordering goods to restock their shelves from the sales that members of their community purchase. Shopping locally shows local small businesses how much people appreciate that they have supported the communities they live in.
Because  of the cost of building space, business licenses, fees, taxes,  insurance, advertising, and employees are all reasons why it may cost a few dollars more for goods purchased locally, however the money put into the local economy far outweighs the small increase (and many times, I have found that the costs locally are identical to online prices).
Please stop looking at the small picture and at the few dollars you seem to save and start to see the “for sale” signs and “business  closed” signs that are showing up all over our country from lack of support from people who live in the communities around these businesses.
*all opinions are my own and in no way meant to represent those of my employer

4 thoughts on “Real Cost of Free Shipping (Guest Post by Michael O’Rourke)

  1. Yeah, read this and decided to buy some colloidal silver locally. Paid $45 for 8oz. and could have gotten it online for $28 plus free shipping. Good thing the local business will thrive because I’ll be needing a second job soon!

    • Shalee, thanks for reading and spending your hard earned money locally. When small businesses buy a product, they have to decide how much of that product they can sell before it expires/goes out of style/sits on their shelves taking up space another high selling product could be placed. The smaller the batch that the owner buys, the more expensive the item will be. When we all buy locally, the small business owners can buy larger amounts of products and the prices go down. Remember also that the business owner is paying for rent, electricity, employees, every product that you purchase, insurance, and often is funding local charities and families. Often times, the small business owner themselves has to get a second job to make it. Everyone needs to make choices about what is best for their family and their community. Sometimes, if a family can’t afford food, they may have to make the choice to buy things they really need less ethically. However, one must ask why the local economy is so poor that working families cannot afford necessities. Much of the reason is that we are sending our money out of our community instead of letting it grow here. I am hopeful that you will continue to shop locally. I have found that many products are the same or occasionally even less than online. If you ever find yourself in a position where you do need a second job, ask yourself, who is more likely to hire me? The local business down the street or the huge internet corporation.

    • If there is a large enough gap between what you can find the product for online and what it is at the local store, talk to the store see if they would compromise if you still feel that uncomfortable buying locally do whatever you feel is right or works for you and your family.

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