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How can we minimize the negatives in shopping today? Even ‘born-to-shop’ aficionados get jaded by stop-start traffic, difficult parking, crowds of jostling strangers, bewildering choices of similar goods and anonymous shop assistants with limited knowledge or communication skills!
By contrast, here in Castlecrag some 70 per cent of residents live within a health-giving 10-minute stroll of our boutique shopping cluster. The range of eateries is excellent, specialist meat and fruit & vegetables providores, couturieres, delicatessens, travel, quality books, pharmaceuticals, etc, and backed up by a mid-size Coles Express.

Sometimes individual price tags are a little higher than at mega-stores. Sometimes a particular item isn’t available immediately, but can be ordered in. But all the business-owners want to work harder to retain YOUR custom, because a local resident is more likely to be a repeat or spontaneous customer, and an advertiser to their neighbours.

Finally, do the quantitative and qualitative sums for your household: dollars, hours, travel style and time, and ease of item selection. You may find you are valuing your ‘free’ time at less than a dollar an hour!

The huge success of Castlecrag Fair was guaranteed by generous donations from all (except three) of our local businesses giving several hundred dollars each – and three being $1000 Sponsors: Roger Page Real Estate, Romanos and Yours Beautifully. All of them deserve our custom, -and a word of thanks when you shop there.

When you (eventually) reach the traffic lights at Eastern Valley Way, look up and read the (invisible) banner: “Abandon hope all ye who exit here!” Why drive out into Willoughby gridlock towards joyless consumption? Why not shoulder the backpack, or dust off the shopping stroller, and enjoy a healthy walk to the shops. Buy all the essentials, -and a few non-essentials just to surprise your household. Check out the surprising range of goods and services right here in your front-yard. Bump into friends and catch up with news; relax with some refreshment. Rediscover the joys of local shopping. (Oh, did we mention a small contribution to saving Planet Earth? ‘Think globally, Act locally’.)

Bruce Wilson