A good bargain

Published 7:58 pm Friday, November 21, 2008

It’s predicted to be “chippy” this Sunday, clear and cool, somewhere between 65-70 degrees.

Perfect South Georgia weather to get into the mood for the holiday season.

It’s been a Bainbridge tradition for Holiday Open House to kick off the Christmas shopping season. Merchants are looking forward to Sunday afternoon when traditionally lots of folks come out to see what’s new and to sample the refreshments.

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Nationally, things aren’t so hot this year with uncertainty in investments in real estate, banking and the stock market. It could get even more unsettling. Yet these things generally work their way through, and as the preacher says, when times are tough, the tough get going.

So that’s where we are. It’s time to get tough and get going.

Holiday spending is expected to be somewhat lighter this year, with shoppers looking for top value for their money. Bainbridge merchants certainly can fill that bill. Bainbridge merchants know that in small-town economies, it’s important to serve customers’ needs first and foremost. Local merchants too are on a first-name basis with customers.

There doubtfully isn’t a merchant in Bainbridge that hasn’t been solicited not once, but many times recently to help all kinds of non-profit projects, gifts for door prizes or cash donations for drawings, turkey shoots, fund-raising raffles and a host of similar solicitations for help.

And it’s a good bet every wish has been granted, even though merchants’ budgets for these community requests are also tight.

So as you visit the stores on Sunday and for the rest of the season, please remember we are all in this together, customer and merchant, both feeling the toughness of the times. You can do your part by purchasing your goods locally. Stay off the Internet. If you can’t find what you want, negotiate with your merchant. Tell him what you are looking for, and in most cases, through his suppliers, he can get it delivered within a few days.

With the efficiency of the national delivery organizations, most goods can get here from almost anywhere in the United States in less than three days, depending more often than not in the efficiency of the supplier in moving it out of his warehouse.

There was a Holiday Open House our family attended many years ago in Grand Junction, Colo. We had just moved there, actually traveling on our way on Thanksgiving Day that was topped with a forgettable late evening meal somewhere in remote Oklahoma.

A few Sundays later, and being November in this part of the world, it was far from being a clear, balmy South Georgia day. It was a town without malls or big box retailers, a delightful restored and refurbished downtown. As we were waiting in front of the JC Penney store to open, it began to snow. Perfect timing. And for the rest of the day and into the evening, down it came, dropping about eight inches total. It certainly changed the mood of three young kids, who were not particularly happy about traveling two-thirds across the country right before Christmas.

So please come out this Sunday. Enjoy the afternoon. Sign up for the grand shopping spree. Skip lunch so you can sample all the goodies merchants are preparing for you.

OK, I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse.

Shop locally this year. Stay off the Internet. Let your local merchants help you with your holiday shopping plans.

And I’ll see what I can do about the snow.