Think Globally, Buy Locally (and Independently, too…)

I’m trying to get across to the kids this holiday season that it’s best for us to support the stores in our community, because those stores are the ones that employ their friend’s parents, and other friend’s parents work at businesses that are supported by the local stores.

We’re very lucky that we live in the Twin Cities – home of Target and Best Buy – which makes them local, in a sense.

Although having said that, I’m stressing to the kids that it’s best to get their toys at Creative Kids Stuff (around the corner from our home), their other clothes and gifts from Bibelot (also around the corner) and their book gifts at Red Balloon (down the street)

Yes, it may cost a few $$ more, but it’s an investment in our local economy that’s more than worth the small cost.

I get sick to death of people thinking that the $1.44 – or even the $150 – that they save on a pair of socks or a wide screen TV is going to improve their own lives to such an extent that it’s worth the cost to the larger community. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be smart shoppers, I try to be as frugal and cautious in my purchasing decisions as I can.

But being clever is different from being wise. I’d rather be a WISE shopper.

WalMart has a VERY effective ad campaign – “Save Money, Live Better” (which is suspiciously similar to Target’s long-time tagline, “Eat well, pay less”, I’m just sayin’) – and it kind of makes me ill whenever I hear it. But they are very appealing ads, there’s no doubt about it.

Ask yourself though, WHO exactly lives better?

  • Are the families whose jobs have been shipped to China (hello, Wooster, OH!) because WalMart insists on such a teensy-tiny practically non-existent profit margin for their suppliers living better?
  • Are the local small shops that have been run out of business by Super Wal Marts living better?
  • Are the folks in the Chinese government-run prison/factories/sweatshops living better when they crank out another 1,000 sets of incredibly cheap holiday lights for WalMart?
  • Are the families of employees who can’t make ends meet because WalMart cuts their hours to just under full-time so they’re not eligible for health benefits (and they have to go on Medicaid) living better?

I’ll tell you who IS living better – the Walton family.

Yes, I know, I’m picking on WalMart. They deserve it.

So before you rush off to the big “W” for some extra cheap tinsel and popcorn-in-a-can, ask yourself if a local shop may offer the same thing (yes, it’s true, for $1.99 more).

Then ask yourself if the $1.99 isn’t a very good investment in your community. Fighting our way out of this current economic nightmare means we all have to be concerned about our own communities.

Btw, Frontline did an amazing documentary a few years ago about just this. It’s really worth watching this shopping season…

News Flash
Gerry just got home from the dentist. THREE extractions. His mouth is full of gauze, he has a dazed, very pained look (not unlike a mass murderer. Have I been watching too much Forensic Files?)

This disease is merciless. He’s been off the Zometa (a bisphosphonate he takes monthly to strengthen his bones so they don’t break as easily) for a few months in preparation for this, but we still worry about the long term effects of an extractionn with residual traces of Zometa.

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