Buying local for the holidays: An ethical dilemma?

Trust me, I’m not normally the sort of person who is waking up at 4 a.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving to go crash down the doors of the local big box store to save a few bucks.  I try to sleep until sunrise every chance that I get.  That said, I’m finding that as I age I get increasingly excited about finding sweet deals during this time of year. 

In the last couple years websites that direct readers to unbelievable Black Friday deals have enjoyed exponentially increasing popularity.  Initially, the sites would publish leaked sales or newspaper circulars so those people who are aggressive Black Friday shoppers would be able to strategize beforehand.   As these sites evolved, the people running them realized that they needed to capitalize on their seasonal exposure, so now they’re looking for ways to keep people coming back beyond the week of Thanksgiving.  Websites like Dealnews and Brad’s Deals track online (and some in-store) Black Friday-like bargains during the entire year (but still get the majority of their traffic during the holiday season).  I don’t fancy myself a big online shopper, but I’ve never been as tempted to take care of a large portion of my Christmas list from the comfort of my office chair since discovering these sites.  Seriously, look at some of those deals. 

So, I admit it, last Christmas I got my wife some boots (fine, they were Ugg knockoffs, but she liked them) and I purchased them online rather than at my local retailer.  That was probably the only thing I bought online all year, but as I start to see more of these online deals pop up, I’m having a battle of conscience.  Should I feel guilty for buying stuff like this online, even when it’s a great deal, rather than keeping that money in our community?  Or are we at the point where everyone’s so concerned about their finances that saving money should be the ultimate goal for any family, regardless of how it affects local businesses.  Uggh, just what  I needed, something else to stress me out during the holiday season.  We’re going to talk about this and take your calls on the issue tomorrow during the 7:00 hour.

Also, for those of you who do shop online from national retailers, I assume you all always fill out a form and pay your consumer’s use taxes into the Dept. of Revenue when those retailers don’t collect Nebraska sales tax, right?


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