Shopping local a costly proposition
I was talking to a friend of mine today about Christmas shopping and how we were trying to save money everywhere we could. I mentioned that I was looking at buying some new slippers online, but I’d also seen them in a local store.
When we were comparing prices, they were pretty close. Then we compared shipping versus parking. Because I have “Amazon.com Prime,” I get free two-day shipping, so for me, it is very enticing to use Amazon.com and avoid the parking or bus headaches in town, including but not limited to, paying $2 an hour. This all adds up, so when I consider driving downvalley or shopping online, it becomes a significant factor and frequently entices me to buy non-local.
While I would love to be as altruistic as to say I don’t mind paying more to shop local, with the economy being what it is, for many of us who are counting our pennies, this is just not a viable option right now. Between prices generally being higher in Aspen, add parking and even valuable cell phone minutes to that, or the hassle of taking a bus, walking in frigid temperatures, extra time spent doing so, it becomes challenging for many of us to justify supporting our fellow locals.
If parking starts at 10 a.m. and most businesses open at 10 a.m., this is not a solution either. In fact, last time I tried to shop at a Sandy’s Office Supply, which opens before 10 a.m., I parked for free but it took a few minutes longer than anticipated. When I got back to my car at 10:05 a.m., I had a parking ticket with a time stamp of 10:03 a.m. Suddenly my attempt to save money and shop local cost me a whole lot more money. As compared to free delivery and sometimes lower prices at Staples, where is the initiative to shop local?
Therefore, I propose there must be a way for true locals, those of us who actually live and work in this valley, to have a few free parking hours each week to do business in town.
I don’t profess to be an economist or parking authority, just a local trying to support my fellow locals, but $2 or more every time I want to park and shop, keeps me from doing so. So hopefully those of you in our city government who are economists and parking authorities can figure out a way to help us locals support our fellow locals and make it worth our while to shop local.
Good luck to you fellow locals this holiday season.
Lisbeth N. Oden
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A recent survey of Aspen residents shows that people are happy here, feel safe but are financially insecure.