I hope every person reading this will make a comment and weigh in. Whether you are a business owner, employee or just a consumer, I want to hear your thoughts.

Here is my truth: I welcome the potential customers who come into my small, locally owned independent showroom to kick some tires, ask questions about how we do business, get a feel for our products or just wander around.

I do, however, have an issue with those people (yes, lady in the hummer I am talking to you) who come to our showroom with the express purpose of looking at our (expensive) displays, asking questions of my (knowledgable) staff, and requesting (detailed) specs, product numbers and (color) copies of the products they are interested in….only to then go and buy off the internet. Do you think I am running a not-for-profit gig here lady???

I know this post may really tick off some people but this is the beauty of authoring your own blog. I can be controversial and Gawd knows I love controversy!  Let’s face it. We all shop on the internet. I do as well.

But, I do NOT shop on the internet for what I can find locally.

If the price is markedly different, meaning so much so that it precludes my purchase, I discuss this disparity with the owner. Usually this is not the case and it is a small difference in price.  Often, people will reference the “no sales tax” as being the clincher for buying online. News flash: You are required by law to pay sales tax, called a “use” tax if the seller online does not collect it. If you want to cheat the government, that is not my business. However, it amazes me how many people do not realize the law requires you to pay it.The government is remiss in not fixing this problem. Simplifying the issue: it’s understandably tough for online vendors to figure out which tax applys where since many cities and counties not to mention states have varying tax rates.

Why not have a flat tax and then disperse the amount collected from that state to the state in question? Hell, we certainly waste enough tax money doing other silly government endeavors…why not this?

It also amazes me and really perplexes me, why people do not realize how they impact small businesses in their community when they divert their dollars to the internet. Hello??? I am said small business:

**I employ 6 people. Most in their 20’s. I train them and give them business savvy they never get in 4 yrs of college. This is the absolute truth.

**I pay local taxes, intangible taxes, licensure taxes and property taxes. This helps pay for city and county services. Without which, you may not be able to fully enjoy your city. Think about it!

** I support varying community and charitable organizations with my time ( which there is precious little of as any business owner knows),my money and donations. Every church, school and police organization comes to us for donations. They are not soliciting internet sites who work out of their basement somewhere in America or overseas. This is your kids and grandkids who benefit from this!!

** I have given of my time generously, to sit on various boards in our community supporting children’s needs. I encourage my employees to do the same with time off to attend meetings and paying for their dues in local organizations.

Support local business!

There is a wonderful grass roots organization called the 3/50 project. They ask that each individual spend 50.00 of their budget each month in 3 different local businesses. That is 50.00 total. Not to tough for most people. If you are a small independent business, go to their website and register. You can download a flyer explaining the program and then give one to each person who walks into your business. I have done this with amazing results! It makes the lady in the hummer ( I mean really, do people not know how ridiculous they appear to others driving these contraptions?????) not as much of a threat to us.

Many times, people just do not know realize how much of an impact they can make if they are MINDFUL of their purchases. I find my customers and clients are so very, very open to listening to my “spiel” and are appreciative of the effort.I am not suggesting that no one buy off the internet. I am suggesting people support local businesses…and if they do not warrant your support, let the owner know and why. I would welcome this feedback myself even if I did not want to hear it. And, try “catching a business being good” like you would with your child. Let them know if you had great service or enjoyed their product. This goes a long way to being a good person as well making a hard working business owner proud to be in business.

Please do not misunderstand my beef. I love the internet.

I love the news and the speed of which I can get it…although I still support my local newspaper and weekly. I love the people I have met via blogging. I consider the internet one of the most important changes in our culture in the last century. I do not love the uneven”playing field” in relation to sales tax levied on local business owners and not internet companies. It is an unfair advantage and is helping destroy communities. And, If you are someone who likes to buy only on the internet and you go into a local business and “shop” their displays or their knowledge:

SHAME ON YOU.

I welcome all comments as long as they are in good taste. Agree with me or disagree. It is what I do LOVE about the internet. The open exchange of ideas. Please comment. ~~Cheryl

From Time Magazine Excerpt: “Buy Local”—you see the decal in the store window, the sign at the farmer’s market, the bright, cheerful logos for Local First Arizona, Think Boise First, Our Milwaukee, and homegrown versions across the states. The apparent message is “let’s-support-local-business”, a kind of community boosterism. But buying close to home may be more than a feel-good, it’s-worth-paying-more-for-local matter. A number of researchers and organizations are taking a closer look at how money flows, and what they’re finding shows the profound economic impact of keeping money in town—and how the fate of many communities around the nation and the world increasingly depend on it.