When is the last time you thought about your shopping habits? I mean REALLY thought about them?
This was a big year for that kind of thinking in our household. Having started our independent business in January, we’ve had ample opportunity to reflect on our shopping habits, and to take notice of our customers’ habits.
Here’s my conclusion: too many of us (I include my former self in this group) are junk collectors on auto-pilot.
Many of us say that we like to patronize independent business. We like the thought of heterogeneity in our community – things that lack “sameness”. Yet when it comes time to vote with our wallets, where do we go? Target?
I came across an article published by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund about the anti-chain movement of the 1920’s and 30’s. Turns out that ten years before my dad was born, people were railing against Sears and JC Penney, the WalMarts and Targets of their day. Everything old is new again. But as I read the article, I found myself increasingly annoyed. The focus then, and to some extent now, was on the use of legislation to prevent the spread of chain stores. Unsurprisingly, it failed then, and it will fail now. And no good Libertarian can support that approach, anyway 😉
What we should realize is that we have a weapon much more powerful than laws. We have free choice regarding where we spend our money. Every day. Every purchase. Every dollar.
I’m not unrealistic, however. I know that the convenience offered by big box stores is very powerful. I know that franchises are owned by real, local families. I know that some people just don’t care about this issue, or more appropriately, they don’t see it as an issue. Hell, some people may even prefer chain stores to the unabashed quirkiness of some small businesses.
But if you are one of the people who want more independent business in your community, do something about it this holiday season. Buy from them. Yeah, it’s that simple.
I’ll go so far as to propose that you set a goal. How about you satisfy half your gift list with goods from independent businesses?
Make a list. Keep score. Make sure you put your money where your mouth is – I will.
WWJD (What Would Jim Drink today?): Now that the farmers’ market season is over, I get to spend Saturday mornings outdoors making good use of my North Carolina Lifetime Sportsman License. I spent this morning in a 40-degree blind with my “old school” classic green field thermos (yes, I’ve had it since I was a kid, it has dents older than some of the people reading this blog); at 5:15 AM this morning I was sipping a new blend that I’ve been working on just for thermal storage. Have you ever noticed that coffee from a thermos tastes different than freshly brewed? This is the effect of oxidation, manifested as heightened acidity. I worked for months to formulate a blend that would minimize this problem (that’s a lot of thermos coffee, in case you were wondering). Yes, it oxidizes, the trick was to find beans whose flavor profile actually benefits from a little oxidation (if that’s possible!). I’m still tweaking but should release it soon. My working name is Duck Blind Blend. In case you can’t wait, I’ll give you a good alternative – it’s a variation of my Christmas Blend.