Act 331

Shop local

I’m shocked that I’m 331 days into this blog without having a single entry dedicated to shopping local. If my clients didn’t shop local, I wouldn’t have a job. And if I didn’t buy local, I wouldn’t have a local client base. Seems pretty obvious and yet…

If you’ve hung in this long reading my daily posts, you know that while this blog is mostly about money and debt it’s also about community, equity, income disparity, democracy, politics, economics and well being.

Salmon Arm recently saw the opening of a Walmart. Smart Centres fought like H-E-double hockey sticks to get what they wanted and they won. As they usually do. But we got a few good left hooks in. Pun intended. So it’s fitting on this US Thanksgiving that I do a little WM bashing. It breaks my heart to know that “associates” in the US , most of whom live below the poverty line while working for the richest corporation in America, missed Thanksgiving with their families to usher in an early arrival of Black Friday. Ugh. There’s something seriously wrong with us.

All the same, there’s not much I can do about it now, except to shop local as often as I can. On two separate occasions this week, I found what I needed at a price I could well afford at small, teeny tiny locally owned specialty shops.

Case one – olive oil. I considered buying a 3 litre tin at a big grocery store. We go through quite a bit of olive oil in my house. Then, as fate would have it, I stopped into my favourite gourmet grocers. Better oil. Cheaper. And a much more meaningful purchasing experience.

Case two – running shoes. My kids won’t stop growing. My eldest is now in bigger shoes than my own which means he gets my rarely used court shoes for gym and my skidoo boots for winter. My youngest informed me today that he has holes in his shoes. So off we went to their  local skateboard shop. The owner recognizes us when we came in. She tells me the DCs are half price and they have plenty available in his size. He’s delighted. And I won’t lie, I’m pretty pumped too.

Had I purchased either of these items at a big box  store, I would have paid more for less. Less concern, less care, less meaning and less economic impact on my local economy.

Please remember that local business owners punch above their weight in regards to the health of your community. They employ, they donate, they risk, they care. While big corporate entities come in to earn, to compete and to add coin to their already inflated bank accounts and value to their shareholders’ portfolio. It’s time we started asking what all the profit is really for. Really, it is.

The most important share you will EVER own is a share of the trust of your family and friends and the share you OWN in your own community.

So tomorrow. Buy local and BUY NOTHING at a large big box retailer. Just for a day. I will be eternally thankful for your sacrifice. But if it really does feel like a sacrifice, scroll back to the top and read again until it doesn’t. It’s not a sacrifice. It’s a contribution. It’s an act of economic practivism. And it only works if we all do it. Even if only for a day for which I give thanks.

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