I like small shops, personal and personable.
Today the two Gs: Gazebo & Goulet proves why it still pays to buy local or as local as you can, and by that I mean the small business, not the mega-stores.
I haven't lived in the Pioneer Valley since 1996, yet when I phoned Gazebo today they had all my previous sales on record, walked me through some purchases, and will send my order by regular mail, not for a fortune, but at cost.
If you are ever near Northampton, take yourself off the Main Street and walk down Center Street, visit the shop & get excited about women's undergarments. Always pleasant, always helpful, never overpriced and in business for as long as I visited or lived nearby over twenty years now. In fact, for quite awhile my office was above the shop when I worked for FP.
Then there is Goulet, pens that is.
The married couple, young, energetic, learning and now experienced, who run a small business that is accessible also offers choices in merchandise & shipping. You don't suffer the pangs of buying an ink sample and paying more for the postage than that itty bitty vial. I placed an order for a bottle of the De Atramentis Document Black & three samples around 2pm, and received notice at around 3pm DST that it had shipped USPS 1st Class.
I also talked to Askew & Taylor today, and as always received the best service although I ultimately did not place an order.
I don't want to live in a mall, go paperless and stop using a pen.