More about shopping locally

We used to build civilizations. Now we build shopping malls.
~Bill Bryson

I recently switched from a national bank to a regional credit union. The big bank, of course, didn’t blink an eye when I left. I don’t have much money, and I never used their credit card that they tried so hard to push on me. I got sick of their service, and sick of the pushy nature that was forced upon the employees there by corporate. No, I don’t want a credit card. No, I don’t want your bullshit “rewards” program (that ultimately, I and everyone else end up paying for). I don’t want online bill pay. No, I said I DON’T want the credit card.

Fuck ’em. The credit union I do business with is a lot less crowded, has better service, and is local. And they were playing the Gorillaz the first time I walked in. And I’m sure, being a smaller company, they appreciate my small amount of money a lot more than the old bank ever did.

Because sixty bucks spent or not spent at Wal-Mart doesn’t mean shit to them. But after working for a tiny locally-owned shop, I can tell you that sixty bucks spent there means a lot more. It’s very disproportionate. Wal-Mart won’t notice your missing sixty bucks, but you can be sure that small shop down the road will.

And shopping at Wal-Mart is still more preferable to spending your money online. I like Amazon as much as the next person, but none of that money ever gets seen again in my community. Even some of the sixty bucks spent at Wal-Mart will filter it’s way back in the form of employee paychecks that later get spent on something here. Granted, buying from individual sellers on Amazon is a little different than buying from Amazon itself or one of the many companies that sell there. I’ve sold on Amazon before and prefer to buy from fellow individuals.

I don’t owe Amazon itself (or B&N’s online shop, or Hot Topic’s online shop, or any of those other places) shit. They don’t buy crap in my town…they don’t support my community. Obviously, they have to hire someone, from somewhere, but how do I know they aren’t paying crap wages for even crappier work? How do I know their customer service, or even their warehouse workers, are sourced here in the US? I don’t. There’s even less transparency there than there is with the local Wal-Mart, where I can at least ask the employees, face-to-face, how their bosses treat them.

So next time you buy something, ask yourself how much of that money is in turn going to come back to you? Do they hire people who might eat in the restaurant you work at, or buy stuff at the store your friend owns? Are they individuals who make or sell their products or others’ products out of their own homes, or are you buying from a corporation that outsources their jobs?

One Response to “More about shopping locally”

  1. I like Amazon. They have one of their warehouses not too fr from where I stay and that money does come back to my community. However, that will be the exception that proves the rule.

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