In Defense of Shopping

By Andrea H. Reay CEO/President Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce Today is Cyber Monday. Launched in 2005, Cyber Monday was a way for online retailers to compete with instore deals, previously only available on Black Friday. It’s hard to believe there was a time, not too long ago when shoppers were a little dubious about making purchases online, sight unseen. We’ve certainly come a long way from those early days of ecommerce. The first Cyber Monday brought in a little over 500 Million. Today, online retailers are expecting to bring in over 6 Billion. Shopping for everything from cars to groceries online has certainly offered conveniences for today’s shoppers. But, has it offered a better experience? I may be somewhat biased-after all my first sentence was “Mommy, see the mall!”. However, I challenge you on this Cyber Monday to fold up that lap top, get outside and go shopping (in person). Here are my top three reasons you won’t find me shopping online this Holiday Season.
  1. Shopping is good for your health. It’s true! Sitting is the new smoking. As we have developed more and more ways to add greater conveniences to our lives, we spend less time being active, and more time being sedentary. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that men and women who sat more than six hours a day died earlier than those that sat 3 hours a day or less. I just got back from the mall. Quick trip- stopped at 3 stores and I logged 5,812 steps. That’s 5,812 more than I would have gotten sitting at home. With the recommendation for most people to get 10,000 steps a day. I highly recommend shopping the old-fashioned way.
  2. Buying local matters. Studies have shown that only 1 cent of every dollar spent online benefits our local community. When you make a purchase in person, at a locally owned business, our community benefit can go up to 48 cents for every dollar. When businesses succeed, the local economy thrives and when the local economy thrives the community prospers.
  3. Time is valuable. Yes, you might think you are “saving time” by doing most of your purchasing online. However, what if you focused on making shopping more of an experience than a chore? Make a date to shop with a few friends. Plan an outing with lunch. Take the time to enjoy your relationships with your family and friends by spending time with them in person. Shopping is an activity that everyone can do together. It’s also a great way to experience your community. Explore a new shop, or area, try a new restaurant, and enjoy the time you invest and spend with the people you love. I’m willing to bet that those memories you make will mean more than anything you could ever buy- online or in store.
This Holiday Season, shopping in person has never been easier. Westfield Southcenter has valet parking to ensure getting in and out of the mall is a cinch. More restaurants have found a home at the shopping center as well, and you won’t feel guilty ordering that favorite treat because of all those steps you got it! Pina Coladas at Bahama Breeze to celebrate a successful shopping trip with friends sounds a lot more fun than hitting that refresh button over and over waiting for the next deal to download. Happy shopping and Happy Holidays from us at the Chamber. From our family to yours, we wish you the very best this Holiday Season and always.
Andrea H. Reay is the President/CEO of Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce – “A voice for business, a leader in the community”. Seattle Southside Chamber has served the communities of Burien, Des Moines, Normandy Park, SeaTac and Tukwila since 1988. For more information on Chamber benefits, opportunities and partnerships, please visit our website