A story on the front page Monday showed how local shoppers avoided the Black Friday craze by sticking around, leisurely enjoying the day in Placerville. We were happy to showcase that as an option people should consider every year. As the “day to shop” keeps being pushed back even earlier — many big box stores had their sales on Thanksgiving evening this year — the stress of fighting over shiny new things got even more intense.
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Consumers are being told now they have to get their family dinners finished early and skip the conversations over dessert to rush to get deals for Christmas time before they run out. If you missed those deals, you were coerced into making the “door buster” deals on Black Friday, and if you still didn’t get what you needed then, Cyber Monday had just what you were looking for online. Lost in all the madness was the simplest form of shopping altogether … going down to your local store.
El Dorado County doesn’t boast many big-market retailers. But that’s part of its beauty. For the most part, shoppers can find everything they need here, and in the process, help others along the way. A dollar earned here and then spent here carries a lot of meaning. The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors is constantly looking for ways to keep people from “going down the hill” to shop. But it can really start with shoppers individually asking themselves, “Is this really worth the drive? Do I really want to stand in line amongst crowds of people I’ve never met, to only possibly save a buck here and there?”
Shopping has become an experience, like going to the movies or meeting for dinner. It has actual entertainment value for people now, and is no longer due to necessity. But why does this change in perception on the practice have to mean the act of shopping must be completely stressful and overwhelming? The silver lining is that it doesn’t have to be.
Our reporter Cole Mayer found plenty of people on Black Friday strolling around Main Street, not for “amazing deals you can’t find anywhere else,” but for fun. These folks wanted something fun to do with their day, and in doing so they supported local businesses and helped the local economy. A day out on the town meant local business owners get to keep employees — possibly your friend, relative, co-worker or acquaintance — working, which in turn helps them feed their families this holiday season.
The money didn’t go back to “corporate,” headquarters somewhere in the midwest or the east coast. It went to owners we’ve met personally and whose kids went or are going to school with ours. They’re in the stands with us at local events, waving to Santa in the parade and cheering at the lighting of the big tree during the Festival of Lights.
There was a beautiful sight on Highway 50 on Sunday after the Hangtown Christmas Parade. Traffic piled up on the highway from Canal Street to the Broadway exit and a majority of the cars were seemingly returning from Apple Hill with a family Christmas tree, ready to start the season at home. People drove up the hill instead to do some Christmas shopping.
El Dorado County has plenty to offer shoppers, and it’s all available every day, in person, with a smile. Good luck finding that in a “door buster.”