The UPS driver just left a large box at our door and when I picked it up I couldn’t believe it was so light.   When my wife opened it and showed me the three small envelopes inside (see photo) with all the plastic bubble protection, I wondered why the environmentalists aren’t screaming about this waste.

There’s been a lot of discussion the last several years about the pros and cons of shopping online versus in-store and this got me thinking of reasons why “bricks are better than clicks”. Here are 6 of them:

  1. Environmental: As stated above, it seems so wasteful for UPS (or other delivery services) to be leaving cardboard boxes filled with packaging at people’s homes that then needs to be picked up by a recycler (assuming the person puts it in a recycling bin VS in the trash). As a proud dad of three young adults, I believe one of the great ironies of today’s millennial generation is that they are more prone to shop online, while they also tend to be more environmentally conscious. Hey, I’m not a tree hugger, but I don’t believe in intentional waste either.Obviously, this is my observation and I haven’t researched the carbon footprint of the two methods of acquiring goods, but when combined with the following factors, there is certainly a strong case favoring shopping at brick and mortar stores VS online.
  1. Spontaneity: When shopping online, you generally need to know what you want so you can put it into the search bar. Walking around a store or mall allows for the spontaneity and excitement of discovering new items.  For me the bookstore is one of those places where I might see something I never thought about purchasing but all of a sudden it’s a “must have”.  The same holds true for lots of other types of stores including electronics, soft goods (especially fashion) and even the grocery store.
  1. Price: There is a perception that online is cheaper. I just tested this out on a few products and found that the price for some items was better at my local store than on Amazon and other sites. I believe that people have been lulled into an illusion that online is cheaper. While this may be true for certain products, I’m confident that for many it’s not, especially when you factor in the knowledge the store provided, the convenience of walking out with the product and the comfort of knowing you can easily return it if there is a problem.
  1. Keeps Revenue in Your Community: I don’t know how it works all over the country, but in California a percentage of each sale made within any given city stays in that city and helps fund police, fire, public works, parks and everything else that makes your community work. This is a huge incentive to shop local.
  1. Camaraderie, Exercise & Sunshine: Many of us spend our entire day sitting inside staring at a computer screen. These days most communities have lifestyle centers that allow for a great environment to walk around, shop, sit outside, dine and relax. There are several centers like this where I live including the Claremont Village in Claremont, Colonies Crossroads in Upland and Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga.  Shopping is one of America’s favorite pastimes and the social experience is a big part of the attraction.
  1. Financial Self-Control: This is good for the consumer, but maybe not as much for the retailer. Popular opinion is that it’s much easier to purchase items online since all you have to do is click a button and “poof” the item gets charged to your credit card. When shopping at a store, not only do you have to physically select an item you want, you then have to take the cash or credit/debit card out of your pocketbook and know that the money will be spent once you walk away from the register.  More time to think about the purchase enables consumers to better stick to their budgets.

For my part, I’m making a conscious effort this holiday season (& beyond) to shop in-store and make it a fun recreational experience, keep our tax dollars local, support brick and mortar retailers and maybe even help save a tree or two.