Buying Local

I try to buy the media I consume locally. Luckily, that’s pretty easy to do in Philly.

I buy almost all of my books from Headhouse Books. I even order books they don’t have in stock on their website, and then go to the store to pick it up. It’s nominally more expensive and slightly less convenient. I like supporting local bookstores, and I like getting a call letting me know my book is ready to be picked up. They make it easy to support local business.

Contrast that with my recent experience trying to buy the new Sufjan Stevens Christmas album {spotify} for a friend at my local record store. There’s no way to place an order on their site, so I called them up on Friday, asking if they have the CD in stock.

“Let me check… nope, it’s not on the shelf… well, it might be in one of these boxes here, but I’m not allowed to open them up… why don’t you call back Monday,” an employee who sounded like he just woke up informed me.

So I call back on Monday, they check the shelf again, realize it’s not in stock, and tell me that it might be back in stock on Friday. Great.

The point of this story isn’t to bitch about a bad customer service experience. I’m just saying that maybe it’s not just competition from amazon that’s dooming local businesses. For businesses with limited shelf space (which is every place, compared to amazon), find a way around it. It’s not difficult to meet the customer half way.