About three years ago I stopped shopping online completely. This was a fairly big decision on my part, spurred on by discovering that not all online retailers were paying their fair share of corporation tax in the UK.
I ceased my very occasional visits to coffee chain behemoths for the same reason - I now have a policy to just visit independents wherever possible.
I appreciate that my one-woman protest hasn't even put the slightest dent in any of these large corporations' profits, and it has on occasion made life a little awkward as when you can't buy things in high street shops the assistants sometimes cheerfully suggest I try online.
However, I have a very recent example of how I actually saved money by shopping on the high street instead.
My stove-top enamel kettle retired after nearly twenty years' loyal service. Seeking a replacement, husband checked online and informed me that several retailers offered new versions.
I refused to consider this, telling him we should go to a local hardware shop. Our original kettle had been purchased at Burton's in Kettering, and we were given a handwritten receipt and a paper bag to bring it home in.
We headed to Market Harborough and Frank Gilbert Housewares, a veritable cornucopia of all things domestic which makes the Lakeland catalogue look meagre in comparison.
Here the knowledgeable assistant helped us choose the right kettle for our needs, unboxing several so I could test the weight and husband could check the workmanship, spending time and checking in his storeroom to see what alternative colours he could offer.
We made our choice, paid the asking price and returned home. Job done, no messing or waiting for delivery and receiving a annoying card saying you were out for the nanosecond that the driver knocked on the door.
Out of interest, I then checked the online retailers' websites - and in each case, we had paid significantly less than the prices online.
Just goes to show, online isn't always cheaper, and it can't ever compete with good old-fashioned customer service.