HE SAID: Buying Local

Listen, I get it, buying local is good.  I’m not even talking about food, which is what most people seem to be concerned about.  Overall though, buying anything – whether it be food, furniture, books, clothes, etc etc – it is always best to buy from a local ‘mom and pop’ shop to support local industry.

Now, bear in mind that I am by no means an economist, but it seems to me I got financially screwed here…  When the final installment of the Harry Potter series came out (yes I read Harry Potter, all of them; and as of the end of this weekend will have seen all the movies, I enjoy them, fuck you), I could purchase it at a local bookstore for $29.95…or I could take my ass to the closest Barnes & Noble (not Barnes & Nobles) and buy it for 20% off the cover price.  Even better, or worse, I could have gone for the closest Wal-Mart for $15.99.  Of course, Wal-Mart and B&N were sold out, and despite everything I know and love telling me to wait for the discount, I bought it locally.

Great, I read the book, $15 poorer.  Many might say, “Well good for you, son. You helped out a local business today…and really stuck it to those corporate conglomerates.”  I think my response would be something along the lines of, “Absolutely, I have to run now though…need to go buy some rice  instead of eating out and supporting a locally owned restaurant establishment!”

It all just seems like a big fucking circle to me.  Believe me, I’d much rather support Bear Pond Books all the time, and not Barnes & Noble (or some hand crafted VT furniture store instead of Bernie & Phyls Discount Furniture), but if I did that, I’d probably have to do all my grocery shopping at Shaws instead of local farm stands, and never eat out.  I feel like I’ve found a pretty happy medium with it though to be honest, do my stuff locally when I can…and if not I look elsewhere.

Just please, stop shoving it down my effing throat.  I know – Local good, Wal-Mart bad.  Just some other food for thought…I know there are all these horror stories about places like Wal-Mart and how they treat their employees.  However, if we as a nation rose up and boycotted these types of stores, wouldn’t a lot of people be out of a job? Something tells me that the 1.4 million Wal-Mart employees around the USA would rather deal with a shitty boss than no boss at all.

Reading over this I realize that A. it is longer than I wanted it to be and B. it makes me come across like I’m a huge supporter of big corporations.  I’m not.  I just think it’s a little naive and annoying to get have this Buy Local crap crammed down my throat all the time, when life isn’t nearly that simple.

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2 Responses to HE SAID: Buying Local

  1. DC says:

    Walmart and their ilk spend millions of dollars a year in advertising and you’re complaining about “buy local” being “rammed down my throat all the time?”

    Consider the fact that cheaper means a.) priced lower and b.) of lower quality (generally). You might replace some cheap piece of crap bought at Walmart much more often than something hand-crafted locally by someone whom you actually have to see in town from time to time.

    Relying on the jobs argument is crap. People had jobs before Walmart, before Barnes and Noble and before Home Depot. They worked at local hardware stores and local bookstores and there were more of them to work at. There were also department stores before the Walmart-ization of commerce, and those stores didn’t feel the need to put all of their competition out of business with predatory practices.

    Dude, you’re free to do with your dollar what you want. Just seems a little disingenuous to compare David and Goliath and say that David had the advantage of a slingshot.

  2. Sven says:

    I agree, there’s definitely more to a price tag than the number written on the product. There are so many factors that fall into the category of “externalities” in the way the Wal-Marts of the world do business: Where was it sourced? Who made it under what conditions? How did it get to the store? Etc, etc. But you’re also right that people sometimes get tired of always being lectured on doing the wrong thing, on some level they just turn it off. It’s like constantly seeing images of hunger or war ravages areas, we get desensitized. So I think it’s smart to engage corporations rather than making them into the scapegoats for everything. But we have to change the way the system works, give incentives for things other than chasing the bottom line. In the meantime, buy local whenever you can, and if it’s too expensive, just buy less altogether and just focus on the things you really need.

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