Economy makes shopping uncomfortable

The increase in gloom and decrease in money have sabotaged my efforts to enjoy shopping. But things got really bad yesterday when I purposely avoided shopping at a smaller store opting instead for a faceless giant. Generally, I like to support unique boutiques and family-owned businesses; however, a few recent uncomfortable encounters have made me a little gun-shy.

Here are a few examples of what I’ve experienced:

-Dad and I stopped in a local store that was going out of business. Dad tried on a sweater that was just okay. The store’s owner told him that it was an additional 50% off. When he said he would take it, the woman’s face melted with relief as she profusely and repeatedly thanked him saying “this means a lot to me.” We left the store feeling oddly emotional.

-The owner of a touristy souvenir shop was incredibly welcoming and we chit-chatted as I browsed her store. I liked one item in particular, but wanted to shop around since we had just started our vacation. As I was leaving, she ran out the door and called after me saying, “don’t think you’ll find this cheaper anywhere else!” She may have been right, but that didn’t make me want to come back.

-A man working at an outdoor mall’s kiosk called out to see what kind of finger nails I have (at least I think that’s what he asked…) I kept walking, but did turn to say “thank you, but I’m running short on time today.” His response was to huff loudly, and commence muttering and waving. In my defense, I was actually running short on time.

Please do not take me wrong. I will never stop shopping at small businesses; I value everything about them. And I know that everyone is just trying to do their best to make it through this tough economic time. I just needed a minute to feel like I wasn’t solely responsible for someone's success.

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.