Shop Local: Eleven reasons to spend your pounds close to home in St Albans and Harpenden

St Peter's Street, St Albans city centre.

St Peter's Street, St Albans city centre. - Credit: Archant

There are a few special things I really love about shopping in St Albans and Harpenden that I just can’t get from Westfield or ASOS.

St Peter's Street, St Albans city centre.

St Peter's Street, St Albans city centre. - Credit: Archant

Persuaded by my editor to take more of an active role in our #ShopLocal campaign, I’ve come up with this indispensible checklist to getting the most out your local retail experience.

1. Local shopping is extremely satisfying for looking and feeling popular. Fact. Most of the smaller boutiques do - I am proud to say - know me by name. There is no feeling quite like walking into a shop and hearing “Hi, Laura!” shortly followed by “Give us all your money”... No really.

2. No frustrations trying to guess where online items have been mysteriously placed in the immediate vicinity of your property by delivery drivers desperate to make a quick getaway. No horrific “We left it in your non-existent garage” confusion.

I’ve bought it from a shop. It’s in my hand. I know where it is, what it looks and feels like and if I need to return or exchange I don’t have to spend time faffing around at the post office.

St Peter's Street, St Albans city centre.

St Peter's Street, St Albans city centre. - Credit: Archant

3. A friend of mine once bought some sunglasses online for £3 and was so happy with her bargain. Until they arrived...and were baby sunglasses. That would categorically not have happened if she had shopped local.

4. Any shopping experience can be cushioned by the double support of coffee and cake. It’s like a warm comfy hug of caffeine and sugar. Plus, if your credit card is already taking a pounding then you don’t feel so guilty about adding an over-priced oat milk latté and an almond croissant into the equation.

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5. If you head into London most of the day is spent walking - getting to the station, hefting heaving bags through the Underground, going up and down stairs in huge department stores. Stay local and save money on shoes. Then use the money you’ve saved to buy more shoes anyway.

6. Lose weight. Yes, seriously. I mean, there’s no Frankie and Benny’s or McDonald’s to lure you in, so you’re more likely to grab a spinach and feta pastry from Gails, and that’s got to be healthier hasn’t it?

7. Arms killing from being laden down with bags? Shopping locally means you can pop home to drop stuff off and then come back into town for a second burst of rampant capitalism.

8. Every time you shop at New Look a fairy dies but when you go to an independent boutique an orphan gets to go on a pony at Center Parcs. (Note, for legal reasons we have to point out that these statements are not actually true.)

9. Worried about where to leave the people carrier if you head into the Big Smoke? Choose Drovers Way and there’s no risk of a congestion charge or the need to parallel park.

10. You’re much less likely to get The Covids if you don’t jump on a train or tube, and that’s no bad thing.

11. And to wrap things up, there’s a better chance of bumping into that special someone you fancy when shopping at home. Who doesn’t want to feel all Love Actually at Christmas?