Readers’ Scoop: Keeping It Local

Readers-Scoop-Logo smallTo my fellow esteemed members of the Lakewood community, I wanted to bring up for discussion an issue that has been nagging me for a couple of years. I have been contemplating over the years whether I am on target with my feelings on this matter or just being overly sensitive. Let me just begin by mentioning that I myself do not stand to gain or lose financially either way here.

Over the years and especially in the recent past there is a phenomenon in Lakewood of out of town vendors coming into town before Yom Tov, renting a space somewhere and having some kind of blowout sale. Actually, more recently, it has turned more into advertising in one of the weekly magazines and offering cheap prices to be delivered to Lakewood once or twice a week. Now, anyone who shops in the retail stores of Lakewood knows that there are some very quiet times of the year for every business. During those times, employees must still be paid, utilities are still billing and merchandise must be ordered and paid for. I believe that the stores in Lakewood count on these few weeks that surround Yamim Tovim during the year to carry them through. Is it really fair that someone can advertise from out of town, have no overhead and just set up here during Yom Tov time? I am not sure why, but it bothers me every time that I see this happening. So many people in our own town need Parnassah. So many people need work. Do we not have at least that responsibility to pump the funds into our own economy? I am not even really discussing the next step of us residents of Lakewood trying to do our purchases here. That should be an obvious thing do to. Shouldn’t it? You really can’t buy your suit, hat or shoes here? There are so many vendors selling so many things. There has to be somewhere that will satisfy you. Even for bessere mentschen, no?

I’d like to try to stick to this point though. Do I have a point? Is there something wrong with someone struggling all year and someone else pulling into town during busy season with little or no overhead? We can talk all we want about the “Economic Situation” of today. We could collect for Tomchei Shabbos and all the other wonderful organizations that step in to help in times of crisis. But why not do something basic economically by shopping at our own, purchasing from ourbusinesses and giving our LOCAL stores and suppliers the boost they wait for and need during the busy seasons? I would love to hear your opinions. Actually, I’d like very much to see us all make a difference this last week before Pesach. I wish everyone a Chag Kasher Vesameach, Parnassah and Gezunt.

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  1. I am very hesitant before shopping by one of our local vendors. I do so for things unavailable in the department sores. The reason for this is, the return policy. Let me go home and try something on, see if I like it. I can’t decide in the packed store with no lighting.

  2. dear letter writer, if it bothers you please sign your name and back up your letter. secondly do you shop at walmart? shoprite? cosctco? old navy? childrens place? you get the point, when its good for you and you save $$$ you’ll shop in those stores allthough you could buy all those items at local frum stores. don’t blame out of town stores for coming blame yourself.

  3. As with all matters pertaining to serious Choshen Mishpat Shailos it’s best to consult with a Rov or a Beis Din. These matters should not be decided based on feelings rather based on the complex halachos of Choshen Mishpat.
    Obviously there are many sides to this issue, the customers are also struggling financially, they also live in Lakewood.
    The sellers often live in Lakewood too.

  4. If out of town vendors keep coming – it means people are buying from them. That could be for a number of reasons. The first reason is price. Can someone explain to me why Nick’s sells stuff cheaper than the yiddishe stores ? The same goes for these successful vendors. Second reason could be slection. Perhaps they offer more choices or what customers want. True, some of it could be because people want to buy what the upscale Boro Parkers are buying.
    Lakewood stores & services used to try to be the low-price discount marketers. But alas, life in Lakewood has changed. Too many stores here cater to high-end trade & apparently sell

  5. well said.
    One more point is that even our local stores have to know that its not right to open many branches here in lakewood. Its not fair to a grocery or seforim store when other bigger stores come to that area to open another branch. They are putting me out of business.

  6. Besides, your argument that this will improve the local economy is very very faulty. A: The majority of local residents are not store owners, cheaper prices put more money in their pockets. B: competition is generally good for business.

  7. I an NOT a store owner but just like we complain when people come collecting from out of town we can’t be hypocrites and we have to support or own stores. That is not to say the one can’t shop on WM or target..

  8. Thes vendors pump money into our economy by offering low prices. If not for them I would not be able to afford Yom Tov. No one is stopping our vendors from going to other towns and doing the same.

  9. Those occasional vendors visiting Lakewood usually rent space – thus bringing in rent revenue to those LW folks who own the space. Also, would one venture to say that the majority of LW businesses are run out of homes, basements, etc.. thereby possibly avoiding chas v’sholom, paying appropriate taxes, etc and also undermining the store-front businesses? Just another point of view.

  10. Uh… it actually is a Shulchan Aruch Sailah… in fact I remember about 20 years ago the Rabbanim in town declared that out-of-town stores where not allowed to sell in Lakewood as it was Hasagas G’Vul. I know this because a relative of mine came from out-of-town to sell and was shown this P’sak, she never came back to sell. As with everything else in Lakewood, it is now a free-for-all… what a shame.

  11. There is no sane reason in the world that my 3 year old’s Shabbos dress costs $120. I will buy from the cheapest vendor, no questions asked. If it means a $20 outfit from Target, or a nicer $35 outfit from out of town, so be it.

  12. I feel really bad for the owners but if you want to pull out the economy card, you have to consider that the buyers are also suffering from the economy. Lost jobs, lowered wages, higher prices… we too have limited funds. Don’t we have a right to try to have that dollar go as far as we can stretch it?
    Dont get me wrong, before I bought an appliance I called a local frum business. Their price was more expensive than appliance stores and that was even after the mail in rebate (which I have to wait months for) and they also charge a ton of money for delivery and removal!
    Unfortunately, for $50.00 (or even more if you include the rebate that we have to wait for) I cant afford to suport local businesses.

  13. The lakewood stores all are “upscale” , “brand name only” they all cost a pretty penny. i need maternity clothes and i went to a normal store in lakewood, i spent over 1300 dollars! on basics like shells and skirts and shabbos outfit and a few tops! who ever heard of buying a weekday top for 130 dollars?
    It seems like thats whats out there… i usually shop in non frum stores for clothing and i can’t do that for maternity so i was duly shocked!
    If i feel i get real value for my money i shop there!

  14. I hate to break news to you but I feel worse for myself than i do for the store owners…. so i will keep shopping by the person that offers it cheapest!!!! Please keep coming back!!!

  15. to writer & everyone
    UNFORTUNATELY this is all a case of being tested in Bitachon & Emunah (faith & trust) in Hashem. As we all know every person makes the same amount of money that Hashem says on Rosh Hashana-no matter what happens (from robberies to bankrupcy etc…)- now its UP TO YOU to have bitachon & emuna in Hashem that everything is for the good & that I’M STILL MAKING THE SAME AMOUNT OF MONEY although my business is quiet now. (a person can sell 500 machines at $100 each or Hashem can make have him sell a different $1000 machine to only 50 people & he makes the same much money at %10 of the time & work) HATZLACHA RABBA

  16. 1. The fly by night vendors have no return policy either and generally do not take credit cards.
    2. Your local store fronts pay taxes and also send their Maaser monies to Local Mosdos. Don’t scoff at that!
    3.It is really unfair to try skim the profit off the vendors who struggle to provide your Simcha needs, camp needs and other strange time of year contingencies.
    4. Put Tomchei Shabbos out of business by patronising frum, local business. Give them an opportunity to make smashing fly-by-night one day sales also. If it makes you feel good, they will go to Esther Gerber Auditorium to look cheap.
    5. Plainly put, the Walmart Gemach is a source of Chilul H-shem. Before making any returns, anywhere, remember that if you sport the Tzura of a Yid, you are a spokesman for All Klal Yisroel and your conduct determines how the outside world views Yidden.

  17. Not all local stores are so expensive. I found moderately priced dresses in Shoopper’s Paradise. I remember some of the cheap stuff I bought from the temporatry sales – were not worth it because of the poor quality.

  18. This is such a complicated issue. I really do try so hard to support the local frum stores. But, how far does it go? What do you do when the return policy is lousy? (And I’m not referring to how people abuse the Wal Mart return policy). You need some way of fair returns at least if something does not work! What do you do when the flowers you buy in the frum stores each week die on Shabbos? Should I not buy from Costco if they last me two weeks? Where do you draw the line? Like I said, it’s complicated.

  19. I believe this point goes for the business owners and organizations that don’t use local vendors. If they keep the money in lakewood the money will make it back their way!!

  20. crazy return policies rip off prices other vendors have every reason to come sell in lakewood they make plenty of money all year and if they dont let them lower their prices

  21. the local stores that are accomodating and try to give the consumer the best prices with out making them feel like paupers (which you dont have to be just because you have enough pride not to waste 125 dollars on your two year old shoes!!!! — It makes me throw up to watch so many people spend that money when some of our local neighbors cant put food on thier table) have business!!!!

  22. I look for 3 simple things:
    custmer service
    If you don’t give me what I want, You don’t get my money. it’s that simple. Many stores feel they can treat their customers like dirt and have the attitude “you don’t like it, shop elswhere”. I do just that. I once had a store owner give me a real nasty attittude so I figured he had a bad day. it happened a second time. end result is he lost $10,000 a year of my business. Give a bad attitude and you’lle get one back. There’s no din in shulchan oruch that says I have to shop where the store gives the customers a bad atttitude.

  23. There is a point here that alot of money would be pumped into our economy if people shopped here (yes, YOU CAN find a store that does not give you attitude!) and also if the stores bought their merchandise from local frum vendors. It drives me crazy when I see the frum person selling eggs struggling so while the stores keep purchasing from nisht unzere. And those same store owners coplain and whine when people go shopping in Boro Park! Go figure.

  24. I decided to go local one year , spent $70 on a dress for a 3yr old. I haven’t gone back! ( by the way the she wore that dress for a awhile so the quality was obviously good but….its too expensive!)
    I now go to the other stores pay $20 to $30 on clothing. I think some stores realize you need them for tznius clothing and are abusing the system.

    I struggle to pay my bills every month , i cant afford to pay double or triple to support my local stores when i can barely support myself!

  25. I think these should be addressed by our talmidei chachomim – None of these questions are simple… People that try to help people with g’machs – giving food and clothing so cheaply or free to a large part of the population are doing an amazing thing on one hand, but on the other hand they are making storekeepers that sell that merchandise suffer, people that band together and set prices-which we know that they do, so that nobody sells ‘robe’s cheaper because after all they can only make their money at ‘robe’ time-like yomtov, are making it very hard for working people to buy a new robe. Party planners who are making their money, upping the scale and style of every simcha, are also only trying to make a living, Do you get the picture? There are two sides to every story, and we are hitting people where it really hurts, their pockets. Hearts race with aggravation, worry and stress. In a town full of amazing talmidei chachamim, somebody should be able to shed light and appease people, so that they can live b’simcha!

  26. The return policy at the local stores are not even decent. A number of local stores have a one day return policy, no further explanation needed.

  27. Not only are some frum stores more expensive, no customer service or decent return policy, but if the outfit gets ruined the first time its worn or washed- sorry tough luck! So why on earth should we shop there? Let the frum stores change their ways, and lower the prices and ppl will come!

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