I let go of $300. Here’s what it got me.

Just like most everyone else, I am sometimes guilty of making it all about the money: constantly trying to score the best deal. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make your resources go as far as they can, but we have to keep in mind that while we’re trying to save every penny we can, businesses are trying to make every penny they can. And for small businesses, that is quite a feat these days.

Giant superstores and online mega conglomerates make it really hard for small businesses to succeed. After all, Walmart can purchase goods in huge quantities at a discount and then pass that discount onto its shoppers. Your local corner camera store doesn’t have that option.

Last month, I purchased a new camera body from a local camera shop in New York. It was already a good price and I was stoked to get it for the price I did. Today, as I was shopping for something else on Amazon, I saw that it was $300 cheaper than what I paid less than a month ago for the same exact camera.

My immediate reaction was to return it and purchase another one at the lower price point. I began the return process and added the less expensive one to my online cart. And then I decided to call the original camera store I purchased from and see if they could offer me the lower price instead.

They couldn’t, but they did offer me something else. Customer service. I got to talk to a real person. I got to hear a little bit about how they do business and why they couldn’t offer to refund me the difference, even if they wanted to. I hung up the phone and cancelled my return request and emptied my shopping cart.

I may not get my $300 back but I take great satisfaction in knowing that my purchase is helping to fund a small American business. Because sometimes, getting the best deal for myself means shortchanging someone else. And that’s definitely not who I want to be.

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