Opinion

Braving the masses to shop | Editorial

Those of us who live out here in Covington, Maple Valley and Black Diamond or even Hobart or Ravensdale, surely at times feel like we live out on the edge of civilization especially this time of year when we’re trying to get our holiday shopping done.

OK, maybe it’s just me.

Still, while there are some great shopping options around such as Costco, Kohl’s, Fred Meyer, several dollar stores, just to name a few examples, there are simply some options that you have to drive to Southcenter or Bellevue or possibly Federal Way in order to complete one’s holiday gift acquisition missions.

There are, however, some things many residents of this area do to avoid the 40 minute drive to any of those bastions of consumerism.

What I did was take a week off earlier this month to get as much as I possibly could on weekdays to avoid the crush of shoppers at Southcenter or Bellevue Square.

Another option which is particularly popular is to shop online. Amazon can cover those gifts, though if you’re still shopping online this close to Christmas you’re probably paying quite a bit extra for shipping, but given that you’re likely a procrastinator as it is you’re probably used to paying for the convenience of putting things off.

Speaking of the famous online retailer, Amazon Fresh also delivers in this area now, a recent development which could make last-minute holiday gathering grocery shopping easier.

There are other options for that, too, such as delivery by Full Circle Farms or Smith Brothers Dairy — a personal favorite — to offer a couple of other examples.

And for you brave souls who commute to the Eastside, the Kent Valley or even Seattle for work, there is always the option of getting shopping done during lunch hour or leaving work early to knock it out.

Or, you could get crafty and make gifts for family as well as friends. There’s something special about a handmade item that shows a certain kind of thought and love went into it that perhaps other gifts may not. A great photo in a nice frame can fall into this category, maybe will a decorated, personalized matting to make it extra special. That way you’re spending time working on the gift, not stuck in traffic in the pouring rain trying to get home or in a line with other harried shoppers who are barely hanging onto their sanity.

Another option, which I would be remiss not to mention as well as would draw the ire of our local chambers of commerce, is to shop at all the awesome local businesses we have in the area. I would suggest going to the websites of the Covington Chamber or the Maple Valley-Black Diamond Chamber to look at their listings because you could definitely find just what you’re looking for without having to leave town.

Of course, if you’re really, truly pressed for time all of the grocery stores around here have expansive gift card selections. You can’t go wrong with that because then your loved ones will be able to pick out the gift you didn’t get a chance to buy and you know they’ll like it.

And gift cards are welcome, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2012 holiday consumer spending survey, which shows that 81.1 percent of shoppers will buy at least one gift card and will spend an average of $156.86 on them, the highest amount in the survey’s 10-year history.

Additionally, nearly 60 percent of those polled said they’d like to receive gift cards this year, up from 57.7 percent in 2011, according to the NRF’s website, www.nrf.com.

The survey, by the way, polled 9,383 consumers from Nov. 1-6 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1 percent.

Ultimately, the extra work folks who live out here have to do this time of year is worth it considering the trade offs that come along with it. This is a great place to live and it gets better every year. And someday it won’t feel like the edge of civilization at all.

 

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