Saving Money at Local Stores versus Big Box Stores

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Shopping at local stores is often a great way to save money and to get excellent service.  Big Box stores are sometimes cheaper, but sometimes they are significantly more expensive (especially for speciality stuff that is not considered ‘mainstream’).  The service at Big Box stores is also notoriously bad.  Shopping at the local store can mean saving money, geting better service, and supporting people that often live in your very own neighbourhood.

Below you will find a guest post written by, Gavin, one of our fellow froogalists.  He does a wonderful job of making the case for shopping locally versus shopping at a Big Box store.  I am very grateful for the time and effort that he has put into his post and wish to thank him wholeheartedly.  I’ll turn it over to Gavin.

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[Gavin writes]

I had my own “froogalism” experience recently. I needed to buy a set of climbing peg dowels (the kind you use in school gyms). Couldn’t find them for sale anywhere in Canada. I did find a few places in the States. The cost would be $14 for 2 peg dowels (measuring 6.5 inches by 1.125 inches). Fair enough. However, the cost of shipping these 2 small peg dowels to Canada was going to be $25 over and above the cost of the pegs (they offered free shipping if you live in the States, by the way).

So, I can’t live with paying that much in shipping.

Then it dawned on me that maybe, just maybe, one of the home reno shops could just cut it for me? So I called Home Depot. Or at least I TRIED to call Home Depot. First I get the robo-system. Then I wait for 3 minutes to speak to someone. Then they don’t know what I’m talking about. Then they transfer me. Then I get someone who knows what I’m talking about but doesn’t know if that store carries wood pegs. So then I get transferred again. Then I get someone who says it is the wrong department. Then I get put on hold. So now I’m waiting. By the time the wait got to another 2 or 3 minutes, I just hung up. So approximately 9 minutes. I’m not saying I’ll never shop at Home Depot again. But they are now at the very bottom of my list.

Then I remembered a store just up the street from me. Danforth Lumber. I called and got a HUMAN right away. He actually was competent. No transfers, no holds. He answers my question in less than a minute, and he was polite! I go by the store after work. He cuts the peg dowel in – are you ready for this – less than a minute! Cuts it to exactly the measurement I need. I get charged — again, I ask you to hold on to your seat — a whopping $6. So, instead of spending approx. $39 and waiting several days (weeks?) to get what I needed, I spent LESS money and got exactly what I needed RIGHT AWAY. And supported a great local business.

But the real point of all this is that we often forget the smaller, local stores and instead have this knee-jerk recall of the big box stores. But with the box stores comes lousy customer service, long waits and wasted time.

I’m glad I remembered this particular business. I’m going to try harder in the future to remember the other small businesses that actually do a better job than the big box stores. Not saying I’ll never shop at a box store. Only that they won’t be my first choice anymore.

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I want to thank Gavin, once again, very much for taking the time to share his experience with us.  I really enjoyed reading his post and I couldn’t agree more.

Please take the time to share this post with others, to subscribe to froogalism.com for all the latest updates, and to write a comment below.  Also, I would be thrilled to post your own ideas if you care to share an experience, or a review, or a whatever with us.  Your ideas and feedback are always welcome.

READ MORE Money Saving Ideas!

Thanks again, Gavin.  I look forward to having the opportunity to publish another one of your posts sometime very soon.

froogalist

Frugal dad – focusing my money and energy towards happiness and the things that matter most since around 1985.

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