Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Support your local businesses

It's wonderful to talk about starting a small business but the other side of the coin is that we need to support them by shopping there.  It has become so easy to shop the import businesses like Walmart where we can find everything we need under one roof at low prices.  As we try to save money it's a logical choice.  So the dilemma begins.  Shop the small businesses that support our economy or choose immediate convenience at the cost of long term decline.  After all, Walmart is a very large employer. Sigh.  Nothing seems easy does it? 

So, what can we do?  I'm thinking that the answer comes from stretching ourselves to find a balance.  Awareness of the issue is the first step.  Most strip malls have one major store and many little nook size stores.  Do we even know what is in them?  I'm asking myself this question here.  I have to admit that I tend to seek out the major retailers because I believe there is an innate sense of trust for companies that have been in business for a long time and have achieved a level of success that allowed them to grow into a regional or national company.  It's actually rather scary to think how easily we make these choices without thinking of the long term effect on the economy and then are up in arms that small business is floundering.  It's just so easy.

The following article was in Get Rich Slowly, a blog I located and have found good information.  Although I have always ascribed to supporting small business the article challenged me to take another look at my own actions and attitudes and I found that I need an adjustment.

We love the slogan "Buy American" but it is so easy to compromise our position to save a dollar.  I am as guilty as the next person in this. 

Where do we go from here?  Here's a couple of thoughts and I'm sure there are more:
1.  Be aware.  Did you know that asparagus is grown in Washington state and also imported from Mexico.  And, I have to admit that I like the imported product better.  Where do the products and services we use come from?
2.  Make local and American choices when it makes sense to do so. 
3.  Support legislation that promotes American products and services and removes the tax breaks for the imports.  This applies to not only products but services.  Major financial institutions are famous for out sourcing customer service issues.

I acknowledge that some of my recent posts sound somewhat political.  But, maybe that's where the rubber meets the road when you get right down to it.  It is beginning to seem that no matter what the subject it ultimately comes down to policies that provide financial incentives to big business and provide obstacles to the locals.  Are we our own worst enemies?  I still cannot understand why it is cheaper to buy a complete dress made in Sri Lanka than to purchase the material to make it from a local fabric store.
Awareness.  That is the first step.

Hope you will check out the post from Get Rich Slowly.


Olivia said...

Sadly I've only been able to find kid's Chinese made sneakers for years now. Even European brand shoes are being outsourced to China. Rubbermaid used to be all American made, but no longer. Even frozen food comes from other places and the quality is not always that great. This really hits hard because I live in mid- state Pennsylvania (that had some of the most fertile farmland the in nation). Years ago the Rodale Institute figured Pennsylvania alone could produce almost all the produce needed for our country. Now we have developments in their place. We live in strange times.

Carol said...

Yes we do and it's nice to hear from you, Olivia. As we contemplate the economic crisis it is evident that a whole can of worms is opened and major changes are needed in many areas. The developments have happened quietly over a period of many years and now they are so entrenched that it will take time to get things turned around. Personally, I think that the blogs are providing the best information out there right now. Most bloggers spend far more time than is economically justified because of a committment to helping people where they live.

Carol said...

I located this American made products list and will add it to the blog links also. I'm sure there are many more sites of it's kind.