Manners Matter: Prefer to Shop Local

Dear Mary Pat,

We have been staying at home for a month and a half now and go out only when absolutely necessary – so really just to get groceries and supplies and to get some exercise with a quick walk around our neighborhood. 

Our adult children live six hours away and are so worried about us because of our age and because my wife and I are both immunocompromised. They’ve started sending us supplies through Amazon. I get that Amazon is convenient, but we really believe in supporting our local stores and businesses. 

We haven’t set foot in any business during this whole quarantine time, but we are certainly capable of driving to the grocery store, the pharmacy and the hardware store and using curbside pickup. We wear masks, keep our distance and thoroughly clean our hands when we return.

Is it rude to insist to our kids that they stop doing this? My wife and I have lived for eight decades or so and are able to keep safe and help our local community at the same time.


Overly Protected Papa

Sister Bay, Wisconsin

Dear Overly Protected Papa,

Your children are worried about you, just as I’m sure you’re worried about them. My own mom said to me the other day, “We are going to continue to be extremely careful, but we are not going to live in fear.” I think that’s good advice. This virus is serious, but we can be cautious without becoming paranoid.

You can tell your kids that you appreciate them and everything they’ve done to help keep you safe and well stocked, but that you prefer to shop locally. If they are from bigger areas, perhaps they can’t imagine how well a lot of our local businesses have adapted with safety measures. Nothing is ever 100 percent safe, and even receiving packages can present a risk of exposure. 

Amazon has just hired 200,000 employees, so your children aren’t the only ones to use this convenient tool, and Amazon is not selling just “essentials.” People are shopping from home more than ever, and it’s important to think of our surrounding businesses and neighbors and how they help our community thrive way more than Amazon ever could. 

Stay well,

Mary Pat