The internet has changed the world in many ways. I am old enough to have used Buliltin Board Systems (BBS) over a dial-in connection! It was a slow and painful experience.

Global email I doubted would ever be a realistic goal, there were too many disperate email systems and protocols to ever form a cohesive system. I was wrong!

I was and am an avid book reader, the joy of books was partially just in visiting the Book Store, big and small, new and used, I loved them. Along came Amazon, they won’t last, I silently thought to myself, no one would buy books online. I was wrong! I was oh so wrong! They have extended far from books, they have become the 21st Century version of The Whole Earth Catalog. The repository of all knowledge and wisdom.

The Internet was not to be a tool locked up at home, it wanted to be free, and the Smart Phone was the enabling force.

Everyone wants a bargain and the internet provided the perfect platform for bargain hunting. Ebay and Amazon led the pack, but almost every retail outlet, both big and small developed a web presence.

For decades the retail world had relied of local newspapers to be the vehicle for ‘inserts. The weekly specials that the store had on sale. The customer simply clipped the coupon and presented at the checkout and voila, the discount was applied.

The internet and Cell Phones have disrupted that model. The local newspaper is rapidly becoming like the Dodo, extinct.

Coupons, like most of life, have moved online, paper coupons have given way to coupon codes. Shop online, add the coupon code when you are done and you are off to the races.

I know little about the world of couponing other than a TV series where some ‘shopaholics’ would buy a life times supply of Toilet Paper, Depends and Tomato soup for $2. They seemed to like it, so who am I to say otherwise?

I asked my wife to take a look at the site I was looking at and give me her thoughts. I prepped her with “Pretend that we don’t live at the very end of the world, is this a site you would use’?

A little later I got her answer, “yes”. She qualifies her answer with this very astute observation.

None of the brands I looked at have a local store (I refer you to my end of the earth comment!). I think that if they added some regional appeal they could be on to something.

I think she has a point, but becoming regional and then local, has some real challenges. Here at the ‘end of the earth’, 20,000 lost souls, we have a few local businesses and a weekly farmers market. All would be willing to offer a discount for patronage. But they fly under the radar of the big guys.

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