Anyone familiar with Amazon knows the drill: Free Super-Saver shipping takes about a week; Amazon Prime delivers most items in two days. Spend an extra $4 and you can get it overnight.
OK, but what if there's an item you need right now? Does that mean paying a hefty premium at a retail store?
Not necessarily. PriceLocal is a free service that aims to help you find local shops that will match Amazon's prices. That's a win-win, as it not only eliminates the wait for delivery, but also allows you to support neighborhood businesses.
How to go local
That's the idea, anyway. PriceLocal is a browser plug-in for Chrome, Firefox and Safari. Once installed, just shop at Amazon like you normally would.
When you find a product you'd prefer to buy locally, you simply click the PriceLocal button on your toolbar. From there, the service delivers your request to a participating store. If it stocks the item and is willing to match Amazon's price, you'll receive a coupon via email -- usually within an hour, according to the developer.
When PriceLocal launched in late 2015, it had only a few hundred participating retailers -- mostly hardware, pet, sporting goods and appliance stores. I had a hard time finding any matches for the things I wanted to buy.
However, the service recently added a whopping 10,000 stores, including Target, Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, Office Depot, Fry's, Toys R Us and more. Those are in addition to the smaller local stores that were already part of the network.
I used PriceLocal to check a variety of products, including Amazon's own Echo, the Orbi Home Wi-Fi mesh network and the Ring doorbell -- all of which were on sale. The service found all those products for me locally, though it turned out the big retailers had already matched Amazon's prices, so there was no coupon necessary. But at least it gave me a quick overview of which stores had it in stock, so I could quickly plan where to go.
I think this is the kind of thing you use in an emergency, like when you need a last-minute gift but don't want to pay a premium for it. PriceLocal can help you get a price-match and support a local business -- chain or otherwise -- in the process.
Editors' note: This article was originally published on December 8, 2015, and has since been updated.