Why You Should Think Global, Act Local
(Or What I Wish I'd Said)
We all know the slogan "Think Global, Act Local", but trying to explain it on the fly...well, that a little harder.
My husband and I went to a locally-owned camera store the other day to look at used lenses. We chatted with the man as he explained the intricacies of diopters and macro lens and lens tubes.
As we stood in line to pay, an angry shopper obviously unhappy that the owner couldn't do what he wanted him to do, turned to us and said something along the lines of "not shopping at these shitty stores". Instead he told us we should "shop online, it's cheaper".
I responded in a friendly manner, "But shopping online doesn't support our local economy."
He said he didn't "give a s***" about the local economy, since he was from New York.
To which I quipped something that sounded a lot like, "Then maybe you should go back to New York."
It shocked him, but it's not what I wanted to say. I wanted to explain why "Think Global, Act Local" matters. I wanted to say something along these lines:
Small businesses are crucial to the local economy - any local economy. They represent a long-term stability in the community, and offer more stable jobs to well-qualified, knowledgeable workers than do corporations who send jobs overseas while your neighbor faces a layoff. They pay a living wage to happy employees, thus creating a lower turnover rate and building relationships with long-term customers.
Locally-owned businesses are more likely to donate to community charities. They minimize urban sprawl. And they are more likely to support other locally-owned businesses. Since company owners live within the community, they care about the impact their business has on both the surrounding environment and society and conduct business is a responsible manner.
This interconnectedness means less pollution, less waste, and more involvement in local politics.
Small businesses care more about your experience than your dollar. They understand their livelihood relies on our trust and they work to earn it and our referrals. This means they won't sell us crap we don't need and will provide us with honest feedback of a product.
Think Global, Act Local ensures a unique experience, far from the homogenized one offered from chain stores with the same layout and cookie cutter offerings. It means meeting interesting people willing to chat amicably without looking at their watch and wishing for a lunch break.
Supporting small businesses - whether within your own hometown or not - means supporting community, families, local economy, connection, creativity, entrepreneurship, independence, lower taxes, the environment, and our selves in a variety of ways.
By all means support the corporate sellouts of America for no more reason than an extra $5 in your wallet. Send your hard-earned cash to an arrogant fat cat in a pin-striped suit who robs families of opportunities without so much as a nod. But when you have a locally-owned alternative, do so with your tail between your legs because being a miser doesn't constitute the haughty attitude you're flinging at your neighbor on the other side of that counter. And it certainly isn't convincing any of us to follow suit.
Le sigh. Why do I always think of these responses too late? ;)