When we go on social media, we’re being urged to stay at home, shop online and have stuff delivered to us. Our government has restricted retail spaces to 25 per cent of fire-code capacity for the next several weeks, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. When we turn on television, we’re told to stay at home.
So, we understand just how tempting it is to binge shop at a big-box or simply turn on the laptop and allow your credit card to run free. And, we get it. We wouldn’t dare to be the person who throws stones from a glass house. We’ve all ventured to the big chains or to the big online retailers to make purchases.
But it’s one thing to augment your Christmas shopping — or, heck, any of your shopping, no matter the time of year — with items you’ve procured from the big boys. It’s another thing to turn to them entirely.
To support your city, we should simply allow our businesses the chance to compete for your business. Can you find a certain item or service in your city, before you feel the need to go to the likes of Amazon?
Here’s an example. I don’t want to spoil anyone’s Christmas gift, but, earlier this week, I ventured on the website of a local distiller, and within about one minute I was able to order a bottle of a unique, made-local spirit, a true flavour of Edmonton, if you will, and arrange to have it shipped to the recipient’s home. The distiller ships to any address in Canada. It was just as easy as Amazon, but the process of gift-giving was more personal, more thoughtful, even though it was done remotely.
Now we get to the part where I discuss how Edify fits into the equation. There’s no real easy or cute transition, here. Just like those shops, local media employs and contracts some talented Edmontonians to do what I think are some pretty neat things. We share stories that are uniquely about Edmonton, in a time when the big media companies, more and more, are filling their pages with stories that are determined from editorial desks in Toronto. The social media sites that so many of us use to promote our sales and specials are based in Silicon Valley or in other places abroad.
Just like we say that we can’t admonish shoppers for choosing Amazon or the big box once in a while, we don’t think anyone should go without promoting their businesses or products on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. But we ask you to remember the people who truly go to bat for this city, including locally owned media.
If there’s one good thing that COVID has done, it has made us realize how much we need each other. How much “community” means to us. How neighbours need to look out for each other.
Happy holidays, everyone. Remember to stay connected while you’re staying safe.