Friday, October 17, 2014

shopping local

One tries to do one's bit for the local economy by supporting businesses in the community, one really does. But it isn't always easy. Truly it is not.

Take the simple chore I engaged in this morning. The battery on my mobile phone has been acting up of late ... or perhaps that should be running down of late? A short text message can take the battery life indicator from full to half. I've had the phone for nearly five years and I know most people would say it's time for a change. But I really only do use it for phone-calls and texts, so unlike those who need their phones for a myriad other important tasks, I don't gain a whole lot by going for an expensive upgrade.

So a new battery it is, was my decision. First stop, a phone shop in a nearby town over the weekend. From the smile on the young man's face when he saw my still very functional piece of technology, you would have thought that I had brought a manual typewriter into a computer store. Maybe even stone tablets and a chisel. 'Oh no,' he said. 'Nothing like that here for years. You might try such-and-such a place.' 

Such-and-such is a rather dingy looking shop on the other side of town that I've noticed when passing on several other occasions. It's hoardings suggest that it could get just about any kind of old phone working, even if they personally have to criss-cross the country with lengths of string between you and your contact list. It was past their closing at this point, so they were left until today when they were the first thing on my to-do list. I looked them up on the internet and called them on the land-line (I didn't trust the mobile not to die half way through the call).

'A what?' said the man on the other end of the line. 'Sure, we don't carry anything for that make of phone.' He mentioned the many other, clearly more popular, makes that he did carry batteries for. I thought of mentioning that my make had been reasonably popular when I purchased it, but there seemed little point. So it was back to Google.

I typed in the serial number of the old battery and then after it, determined to at least keep the purchase within the same country, added after it 'Ireland.' Two sites suggested they had it, but clicking on them revealed they were no longer in stock. Ebay also came up on the same search. But clicking on them revealed the venders were not in Ireland. The 'does not ship to Ireland' on one rather gave the game away for them. Another would have been quite happy to ship to Ireland. But then, they wanted €144 for a new battery. Yes, you read that right: €144. Plus postage and packaging. 

€144 for a battery? I'd rather upgrade.

So, a little sadly, I deleted 'Ireland' from my search parameters. At once Amazon came up with the goods. €11 and no postal charges. I logged in and sealed the deal.

I imagine that even as I write this in some establishment far from these green shores some person employed in the sales department of that business is passing the order on to their shipping department, where soon an individual there will slip my wee battery into a padded envelope, slap on the pre-addressed adhesive label with my details, and bung it in a basket for the person whose job it is to run the day's orders down to the post office to take care of later. Still others do the various tasks necessary to keep this company going - admin staff, security, warehouse workers, the chap who does the purchasing ... perhaps they have a cleaner, and even a lad who makes tea for them all and ensures a ready supply of biscuits to help keep the work force refreshed and alert. At the end of the week they all collect their well-earned wages and head out into the local economy to spend and help support other jobs in their area. 

I don't begrudge them the work. I simply would have liked to see it going to a business a little closer to home to support jobs in my own community and those nearby. And, perhaps, I would have liked to see my efforts to try and make that happen come to some fruition. But what to do? 

Maybe I should phone somebody and complain.

UPDATE: a couple of hours after placing the order I got an email to say it was on the way.

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