In the interest of transparency, I shop online and I own stock in Amazon, but I also prefer to shop from local merchants whenever I can and am willing to pay a higher price if necessary. But after my experience today at The Tattered Tartan, I may turn in my Amazon Prime membership.

I needed (ok… maybe wanted is a better word) a new hat. A driving cap or some would call it a “cabbie” hat. My first response was to go online and search for one. My options were many. I would click on one and enlarge the picture to try and gain a two dimension feel for the cap. I could rotate the picture and read reviews from others who purchased the hat. I added a couple to my cart while I continued my search. With my Prime membership I could have it delivered to my door in two days at no charge.

I told Deb what I was doing, she said that I should go check out The Tattered Tartan on 6th Street. It was a small shop that specialized in clothing items from Ireland and Scotland. Well, that meant driving down there and trying to find a parking space. What a hassle when I could just click a button and the purchase would be made and my hat on the way. That inner voice that we all have began talking to me about the importance of supporting local businesses whenever we could. After all I, too, am a local small business owner that depends on local folks for my livelihood.

I entered The Tattered Tartan and stepped in to a store about the size of a small living room, filled with colorful clothing items, jewelry and hats – cabbie hats and others. A voice came from the back corner, which I couldn’t see because of all the merchandise. She welcomed me and asked what I was looking for.

“A hat,” I replied. “…and I believe I’ve found them.”

She told me that she had just received a shipment and if I didn’t find one I liked out there, to come back to her and she would pull out anything I wanted from the shipment.

I carefully picked up hat after hat, spun it around on my hand, checked for flaws and moved on to the next one. “Can I put my head in one of these?” I asked. In this day of COVID-19, you never know about trying things on.

“Of course,” she replied, “I’ll wipe it out afterwards with a sanitary wipe, so go ahead.”

I happily tried on a couple and admired myself in the mirror. I muttered to myself that I certainly couldn’t do this on Amazon.

The one I really wanted was a bit large, so I walked back to the back and asked if she might have that cap in a smaller size. She searched through some boxes and came up with the same hat in my size.

“Sold.” I said. “Wait a minute…” I went back to the hat rack and grabbed a second hat as a gift for my brother in law.

She rang up the sale and in our talking, she discovered that the second hat was a gift so she placed it in a nice bag with colored paper and handed me the receipt with instructions that if it didn’t fit he should bring it down and exchange it for one that does.

Then she asked me, “Do you want yours in a bag or would you like to wear it?”

I could think of nothing better than walking out with a new hat on my head, so she cut the tags off and I put it on.

“It looks great on you,” she said.

I walked out with two new hats, wearing one and feeling great.

That whole shopping experience is something I never get on Amazon. Alexa will never tell me how great something I’ve purchased looks on me. That kind of experience is something we will lose if our small businesses don’t survive during this pandemic.

These are the opinions of Legacy Wealth Management, LLC and not necessarily those of Cambridge, are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed or acted upon as individualized investment advice.

Mike Berry is a Registered Representative offering securities through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisor Representative, Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Legacy Wealth Management, LLC and Cambridge are not affiliated. Cambridge does not offer tax advice.

Copyright ©2021 Mike Berry. All Rights reserved. Commercial copying, duplication or reproduction is prohibited.