Say you wake up one morning and decided that your life lacks completion. After much contemplation, you conclude that the void in your heart can be filled by one thing and one thing only. With your sights set on fulfillment, you decide to set off in search of paracord, but where to begin? There are many of outlets available for paracord perusal and purchase. The most obvious is your local Army Navy store, which frequently keeps a plentiful stock of an array of colors. Another option is the online marketplace, which is bound to bring even more options conveniently to your fingertips. Both have advantages, as well as disadvantages, so weighing options and deciding what is best for you is essential. By shopping in a traditional store in your area, you are helping a local small business by buying locally, which is always good. A benefit of shopping here is that you can usually feel the product before you buy. In most cases, a paracord bundle has a label around the center that leaves the cord exposed on the ends. This allows you to touch and feel the cord, familiarizing yourself with the quality. However, there is paracord that comes sealed in a clear, plastic bag with no brand marking, making it untouchable although highly visible. This particular cord has some drawbacks; in addition to not being accessible to touch, the lack of branding makes it unapparent from where it came. Sadly this variety more often than not has also exhibited some discrepancies in length, regardless of the amount promised on the package. There is nothing worse than starting a large project and coming up short because you did not get the full 100 feet of cord you expected. The online marketplace is vast and full of options. You can find any color in any length and on a good day it will come with free shipping to boot! The downside of the online marketplace is that you don't get to experience the quality of the product until it is bought, paid for, and in your hot little hands at home. There is, of course, potential for a good outcome if you love what you bought, but if not, now you have return shipping fees with which to contend, not to mention the delay in starting over with another outlet in hopes of having better luck next time. Shopping with a known retailer and exploring feedback options are essential. Doing a bit of research and purchasing items from a reputable business, be it online or storefront, is ultimately the only way to go. Remember: brand names bring accountability as no respectable retailer wants displeased customers or negative word of mouth circulating! Once you've found a product with which you are comfortable, stick to that brand so you always know what to expect and there are no surprises. Then, get busy surprising yourself with self-made paracord projects that will not only cater to many different uses but will also give you the satisfaction of having applied your own awesome, personal touch.