"Shop Around"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, November 17, 2018

Ready, set, shop! Yes, the minute the election was over, (in some states) our attention was directed to the yearly endurance race of the holidays. The main feature is non-stop shopping.

Do you price shop? To do so, many of us “shop around.” I mean that literally. Some call stores to get prices before heading out. Some will drive a long distance without even knowing if the product they seek is available at the destination. An ad seen on TV with a great price offered will often get people in their vehicles heading down the highway.

Newspapers and magazines may offer coupons for items we are looking for. I’m sure the coupons could save a few dollars here and there but unless you compare the price at a competitive store, you may find out the coupon is not such a deal. A store advertising a great sale on an item is no guarantee the price is the best to be found. It’s necessary to “shop around” not just take the stores word for it.

I was looking for a kitchen appliance that was quite expensive. I decided to check a few stores and told my sidekick to make her list for what she needed. I planned to drive to Saginaw and shop at a big box store in the mall area because I expected them to have the best price. Waiting while my spouse was cutting out coupons, I made a few calls. I was really surprised to learn how high the big box stores prices were.

While phone shopping, I compared the same make and model. The first major store that I believed to be the largest in the area had just what I wanted and gave me a price. I had credit from a prior purchase at another major outlet just a block away, so I also called them. I fully expected their price to match or maybe be lower. Surprise — their price was much higher and I thought a mistake had been made so I asked the person on the phone to re-check the model number. The price remained the same, no mistake.

While my wife, Pat, finished her list and ended the search for an elusive special coupon, the time had slipped away and Mother Nature had turned on the rain. We elected to re-consider the long drive and at least wait for a better day. Pat’s grocery list was ready though so we headed for Bad Axe to get that done. I parked in front of the local hardware store while Pat headed off to the market.

Because I knew I had a long wait, I decided to step inside the store and inquire about the appliance I was shopping for. Was I amazed — and pleased — to learn they had the exact make and model I was looking for and it was priced much lower than the stores in Saginaw. I sure was happy not to burn all that gas heading out of the area. When Pat returned with her haul, she too was delighted to learn of my discovery. She told me she found the item she was looking for on sale at a much better price, without using a coupon, than other competitor stores.

As I see it — and as I noted at the beginning of my column — it’s a good idea to “shop around.” An even better idea is to shop local, at locally owned stores.

Both of our experiences absolutely proved prices are very competitive in the smaller stores. We truly enjoy the opportunity to see owners and familiar managers and chat with them. We also have been pleased when we asked a local store owner if they could carry a brand we use and soon after find it in the store.

While you are considering shopping local, remember: Thanksgiving is next week and it would be a good idea to be grateful that we have so many great local businesses to shop at. Why go anywhere else?

Thinking about Thanksgiving, I wish to express thanks that we live in a country where we are free to express our very diverse opinions, vote with confidence someone will count it up right and share what we have with others. Most of all this year, as our neighbors to the west are suffering extreme conditions, I wish to express gratitude for all those selfless individuals who protect and serve.

There are many, they appear in various uniforms: a fireman, police officer, or military uniform. They may be your next-door neighbor or someone just a few doors away who serves as a first responder. We pass them on the street and often fail to recognize what a large part of our community they are. In our rural area we all live together, helping one another in times of need.

As the holiday season approaches, a smile, handshake and big thank you would be a great gift to provide to all those who so richly deserve our appreciation.

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