Shallots are milder than onions, and even milder than green onions/scallions. And they have a slight garlic flavor. You will get MUCH better results if you use shallots. And yes, most food stores DO carry them.
Fresh parsley can make a huge difference .. especially in something like risotto. The problem with dried parsley is that unless there is long slow cooking (and risotto isn't long enough), it remains papery and doesn't soften up nicely.
Yes, parsley goes bad pretty quickly.
I take SOME of the left-over parsley and wrap it up in a damp paper towel, seal in a plastic bag, and refrigerate it. It will keep for up to 2 weeks that way.
For the stuff I'm not going to use within 2 weeks, I remove the stems and chop up the leaves ... sealing a Tablespoon with a bit of olive oil in a "snack baggie" and freezing it. It is great for adding to soups and stews, or any dish where you would use liquid in the cooking process.
As for chicken stock ... few of us simmer up chicken bones to make stock from scratch. It is a 2-day process. I have done it and it is MARVELOUS ... but rarely worth it.
You can buy cans or cartons of stock ... but I usually just use liquid concentrated chicken bouillon and add water ... and skip the salt, since it is salty-enough.