This past weekend, I stopped into a small jewelry store to get the lobster clasp on my chain repaired. In reality, these things are never “repaired”, they are replaced and, being gold, it’s actually a pretty penny.
It’s a chain passed down from my maternal Grandpa and the only jewelry I wear, so I didn’t blink about the price. I had only one decision to make: where to go for the repair.
Because of my Mom’s history as a flower shop operator and my own past running a used book store, I have an affinity for individually owned non-chain stores. I prefer to support the single proprietor operation whenever I can.
Many of them have been killed off by big box retailers. Ironic, then, that the big bog retailers now face their own slow, inexorable deaths at the hands of the virtual shops of the internet.
I experience no guilt or shame in making full use of the internet to find items I can no longer purchase through the Mom & Pop stores of my youth. Indeed, I am likely to find items that might only be discovered by chance at a garage sale or flea market.
For example, I thoroughly enjoy any Danny Kaye movies. Only a couple of them hit the “regular” market (most notably, Inspector General and White Christmas). So, when I wanted personal copies of The Court Jester and Wonder Man, I had to invoke the vast resources of Amazon and eBay, respectively.
Similar results have followed my trying to track down old paperbacks and tough to find household items (like a specific color match soap dispenser). The breadth of product available through the online community is as staggering as it is rewarding.
For services and repair work, I still maintain my faithfulness to local small businesses, where at all possible. But, increasingly, when it comes to filling in the blanks of those things that are just plain hard to find, I spend my time online sorting through the plethora of goodies and trying to separate the tchotchke from the chazerai.