Editorial: Put the Mouse Down

We have just put our Halloween costumes back in their boxes and the holiday shopping season is upon us. That means it is time for a reminder about the importance of putting down your computer mouse and getting out to support your community the old fashion way—going to the store.

The convenience and instant gratification we’ve come to expect with online shopping has brought a culture shift, but it isn’t necessarily one that helps sustain the high quality of life Loudouners enjoy. It doesn’t support local jobs and, for the most part, it doesn’t bring home the tax revenues that are important to maintaining high-performing schools and other local government services.

Loudoun has celebrated the benefits derived from its worldwide reputation for its data center industry and many (perhaps, most) of those online shopping transactions hit one of our backyard server farms. But acres of concrete computer buildings would be a tragic substitute for local brick-and-mortar retailers that still serve as a barometer of the economic health in any community.

There may be those among us who dread the thought of driving to a store, standing in lines or dealing with cashiers, but worse is being left to lament the closing of a favorite shopping spot and wishing you had visited more frequently.

Those who make the effort to explore what local retailers have to offer are likely to find something unique or unexpected and make a few new neighborhood connections. All along the way, they’ll also be making an important community investment. That’s a shopping experience you can’t buy online.

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