Buy local whenever possible!
But sometimes you just can't. Either the prices are double or more. The service is unsatisfactory. The return policies are onerous or no returns are accepted at all. And the list goes on!
I was a local service provider for many years and really appreciated the support I received. However, I did not expect people to support me whenever I was unable to compete (for whatever reason). See more details under "General Info"
Since gas prices shot up, the "Never pay retail" movement has really taken off. Helped along mostly by the internet. Just type 'never pay retail' in your search engine, and you will find hundreds of ways to save money when shopping locally and online.
Here are a couple of links as examples:
Never Pay Retail For These 7 Expenses + misc. tips
The sad part is that many small to medium retailers simply refuse to recognize how fast their market is changing. Not only do they refuse to give a modest discount, but their refusal is usually done in a surly manner.
Having been a merchant and/or service provider most of my life, I recognize that every merchant has the right to set their own policies. I also quickly realize when they are forgoing thousands in lost profits. Worse yet, when they have to shut down, they place blame anywhere's, but their own doorstep.
I believe in giving the local merchant every break I can. On small items, I don't mind even paying 10 - 15% extra if it is justified. However, I will not be ripped off, nor will I listen to rude or surly staff.
Fortunately, we have a number of exemplary businesses in this town. Over time, I will list my experiences with some of them.
WORX hand cleaner
There are lots of good industrial grade hand cleaners available, but none that preserve healthy hands the way WORX does. Outdoor mechanics and workers that work in the harsh north swear by it. Lordco handles it in BC.
Firms that come highly recommended
Note 1: I assume no responsibility for these recommendations. Please do your own due diligence! If you have a complaint on any of these firms, contact me at bobhack(at)outlook.com. I will then interview the firm. If the complaint is valid, I will consider removing the listing.
Note 2: My experience (and many others - especially seniors) with local trades has not been good. An example: I paid have a water well drilled. It later turned out to be poorly done. I requested a refund for work not done. He refused to rebate anything. I was awarded by the court a sum over three times greater than what I had requested.
Note 3: I have not received any compensation from the firms below, nor will I accept any.
Vision Overhead Doors - 250-838-0472, cell 250-938-0472
Triumph Wiring Services (David Farquhar) Days: 250-804-7993 Evenings: 250-832-8710
Bootsma Plumbing (John) 250-833-2727
Care Computers (Carlo Dusconi) 250-832-4990 (only computer firm with no complaints)
MSF Industries - wood, gas and WETT Inspections (Mickey Fuller) 250-832-3206 cell 250-253-2965
Shepherd's Home Hardware Building Centre Ltd, Armstrong. Toll Free (888) 546-3002
........more will be added as I receive outstanding recommendations.
A few years back, when I was still on the occasional prescription, I found huge savings shopping at Costco. More information can be found here: http://www.snopes.com/medical/drugs/generic.asp
Electronic Cables and Adapters
A fairly typical cable costs -
Avoid buying "digital" cables. These are ordinary cables, just priced higher.
China - free shipping http://bit.ly/LhQwtT Tomtop
http://www.aliexpress.com/ Aliexpress is a subsidiary of Alibaba, China's largest wholesale suppier. Think of it as China's eBay.
Two other Chinese suppliers that are very popular (although I not tried neither).
Online eye-ware purchases have really taken off in the last few years. Prescription glasses can be had for as little as $10. I have bought a few pair between $40 and $50 (bi-focals and memory titanium frames). All have exceeded my expectations. Most people I talk to are happy as well. I know of only one instance that didn't work out. The last pair I bought at a local dispensary didn't work out either and I was out over $700. That's when I went looking online and ended up buying at Zenni Optical.
Char buys hers with name brand designer frames from Clearly Contacts.ca for around $100 to $200.
Eyebuydirect.com also comes highly recommended by a friend.
Many more are available. For Canada only try googling "online eyeglasses canada"
Dental Implants for Denture Stabilization
Click here to see post http://www.bobhack.com/dental-implants-for-denture-stabilization.html
LED bulbs - the best, but be careful!
Brightness is no longer measured by watts, rather "lumens".
LED's must run cool. Do not put in enclosures.