What you can really do to help this economy

walmart too-big-to-fail enron1

Where did America go and how can I help what’s left of it?  I found out today.  It’s still here and it’s not too late.

My incredibly gorgeous wife Lucy is currently out of town.  She’s a living, breathing guardian angel that is helping a dear friend with her soul.  She left me with the responsibility of caring for our seventeen year old daughter…that includes feeding her.  That’s a tall order as she only eats food that comes in a box and is stored in our pantry that’s lovingly referred to as the “closet of carbs.”  Being tasked with the dinner, I merrily went to the giagantic national grocery chain to buy some very simple items.  Ground sirloin, tomatoes, vidalia onions, hamburger buns and whatever else fell into my cart.

food-lion kroger publix

The ground sirloin was a too-light pink and at $4.49 per pound, it didn’t excite me.  I passed.  I went to the produce department and picked up a too-light pink (read:  unripe) tomatoe for $2.09 per pound.  I got pissed that I was about to spend my money on barely edible food and pay top dollar for it.  Mentally, I’m tired of buying and paying for crappy stuff from giant retailers just because everything is under one roof.  Then the lightbulb went off.

lightbulbShop locally owned. Yep.  That’s the big idea, and let me tell you what happened next.  First, I went to the local butcher shop, Wilkes Meats, that I pass every single day of my friggin’ life on the way to the gym, but never stop to make a purchase.   I went in and saw the best looking ground sirloin I’ve ever seen.  $3.49 a pound.  Less than the giant chain and lower price.  I looked around and everything cost less and looked better.  I bought a few pounds and felt great about my purchase.  I bought directly from the owner.  He tossed a little extra in at no charge and gave me a wink and a grin when he did it.  He wrapped the meat in paper.  It was wonderfully nostalgic.  butcherHe’ll be there next time I shop there.  He’s been there for 32 years.  I made a purchase and I helped a neighbor that cared about my business at the same time.  I impacted my local economy because that money that I spent is going to stay here, not go back to some headquarters hundreds of miles away from where I live.  I need and I want this butcher to thrive.  We don’t need any more empty store fronts around here.  After that, I went to a produce standproduce-stand and purchased locally grown tomatoes–six for $2.50.  Beautiful, fragrant, ripe and worth all my pennies.  Oh yeah, organic too without the premium price.

Here’s my point, and sorry for the long post…we can all make a difference by buying most of what we consume from local owners.  Meat, veggies, restaurants, photography,  bakeries, hardware, yard service….think about it and go local. Sure it takes a little effort, but you’ll get better quality from someone that will get to know your name and personally appreciate your business.

Help keep a job in your neighborhood.  It’s the least you can do.

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