Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

And now, a word from our sponsors…

Local shoppingAll politics is local.
—  Thomas P. (Tip) O’Neill

As the holiday shopping season kicks into high gear, please consider making as many of your purchases as you can from local merchants and businesses. Sure, going to the big sales at the malls, or online shopping may seem to save you a few dollars, but if you factor in the cost of shipping, time and travel, the savings fizzle quickly. And there are other repercussions to consider.

Shopping locally helps reduce your carbon footprint, transportation emissions, and food miles. And when you shop locally you are helping to build connections that sustain your community’s businesses, and the health of your local economy.

Local stores are more likely to carry locally produced foods and products. Business owners contribute to more local fundraising initiatives; and they provide a majority of jobs.

Local shops usually provide much better, personalized customer service, which creates a more pleasureable shopping experience for you. Money spent locally contributes to supporting the community tax base, which means those dollars that fix our roads, maintain our recreational facilities and fund our schools.

Competition and diversity result in fair prices and more choices. And local business owners invest in the community and have a vested interest in the future of our communities.

It is true that Wal-Mart, Whole Foods, GE, and Macy’s have all recently made some significant green commitments. From Wal-Mart’s push to sell millions of CFL light bulbs and its commitment to purchase only sustainably-caught wild fish to Whole Foods’ elimination of disposable plastic bags and commitment to renewable energy, these companies are leading the way to green in the business world.

With their tremendous purchasing power and their ability to advertise to millions (if not billions) of consumers, the potential for effecting positive change is tremendous. Shopping sprawlYet these large, centralized companies control more and more of the economy. They are no longer connected to any individual community and therefore do not feel any obligation for its health and wellbeing.  When big box stores take the place of small, independently-owned companies, communities lose jobs, cash flow is diverted away from the community, and the local tax base shrinks.

When consumers shop at local stores, on the other hand, more money re-circulates in the community because local businesses often purchase from other local businesses, service providers, etc.  Locally-owned and operated businesses also add character and uniqueness. And where large stores and malls often set up shop on the fringes of town, local businesses thrive in more high-density areas, where consumers can come and go using public transportation, local walking paths, and other low-impact transportation methods.

If you must go to the big chain stores, using some of your holiday shopping dollars to purchase green products will help to send a signal that the market supports their green changes.

But the best choice is to spend money that will stay in your community with local vendors who will keep your local economy diverse,  healthy and strong. Vote with your money to support your local friends and neighbors who are working hard to serve you.

Share this:

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • December 12, 2009, 9:23 am Maggie

    This is a good time of year to mindfully consider how and where we will spend our dollars this month and in 2010. There is a sense of community and connectedness when you shop locally. There are community bullentin boards, people are usually willing to give suggestions for other local services you may need, and they just take time to chat. It’s an excellent way for newcomers to an area meet people in the community. For me it’s the good, calm energy I feel when I shop locally as opposed an overwhelmed feeling at the big box stores.

  • December 12, 2009, 4:02 pm athene noctua

    I do a mix. I live in a semi-rural area, so items like electronics/DVDs I tend to get online, because there is nothing really local I can go to (I refuse to go to Wal-Mart) but also because the biggest online retailer started near where I live, and I know they contribute to the local economy here. Family members urge me to buy from out of state online retailers so I don’t pay sales tax. Considering all the benefits we get from the state and that it’s budget is very dire, I don’t mind them having my tax dollars.

    I am very fortunate that there is a lovely, locally owned grocery store chock full of organic meat, veggies, seafood, along w/ exotic chocolates and wonderful bulk food bins. Our little downtown has an awesome pizza place and used to have a lovely yarn shop, w/ the most helpful staff, but alas they closed shop 2 years ago. 🙁 I now travel to the next town over to another locally owned shop, where the staff will sit down and help me learn the more complicated stitches.

    I love craigslist.org. I furnished 1/2 my house from their ads, and got some beautiful and unique furniture that way. Plus, saved $ and items from the garbage dump. I also love used book stores (snagged some great used out-of-print Tarot books @ 1/2 Price Books) and the Friends of Library sale. I can find brand new books and DVD for gifts for a couple of dollars or less, plus help support the local library. Of course, I use the library too.

    The other big thing I do is for the grown-ups, is buy things I know they will need and use. Yeah, a cast iron pan isn’t the most exciting present ever, but if you use it everyday, it is the most useful and practical. One of my favorite gifts was a knitting bag on a stand.

    The other big thing is hand-me-downs. Every 3 or 4 months, I clean out my kids closets, and pass the clothes, toys, and books along to family and friends w/ kids, then local charities. Friends also reciprocate. The funny thing is my kids love the hand-me-downs more than the new stuff, ’cause it usually came from an older kid they like and/or admire.

    Also, for the women out there I purchased a diva cup from http://www.lunapads.com/ a woman owned and run business.
    It’s one of the best things I ever bought, and I appreciate that I am not supporting some big corporations, that doesn’t care what my body might be exposed to via their products.

    I used to be a mall rat who bought things on a whim or just to have it, but watching Affluenza http://www.pbs.org/kcts/affluenza/ and reading the book really changed my view, and I now think about what I am buying and why I am buying it. It has made me a much more mindful consumer.

    Gosh, I am on a roll today, but this really touched home w/ me. I have only been living this way for about 7 years now, but I do feel better as a person. Though I am sad to see that due to the economy, many of the small business I used to patronize are going out of business, thus further limiting my choices to the big box stores.

    Thanks for letting me type . . .

    Athene Noctua

  • December 13, 2009, 8:40 am Beth

    (Rant mode=on)
    One of MANY problems I have at the big chains, when I rarely do go there for something, is how they dictate consumer taste and what we are supposed to want. I recently had to go to WalMart, which I hate. My excuse: I was shopping for a woman in prison who I am working with. For Christmas every year, they’re allowed to receive big shipments of yarn, etc. She was out of some colors on her old crocheting projects and they only sell those particular skeins at Wal-Mart.)

    Anyway, it seems that all the WalMarts are now being remodeled and they’re doing away with those big sewing and crafts departments they used to have. WalMart has decided that America doesn’t need to knit or sew or have craft hobbies any more. Maybe they’re just leaving it up to Michael’s and A.C. Moore. But in all the little towns where there is only a WalMart, that long ago drove the little sewing and notions shops out of business, that’s it. There is no local choice.
    (Rant mode=off).
    – Beth