Friday, April 15, 2011

Support Your Local Merchant

I've always tended to shop for the cheapest deal, even if that meant buying a larger quantity than needed. (That's why a 10-pound bag of potatoes, mostly untouched, from Costco has been sitting in the refrigerator for about a month.) I used to shop exclusively at the megastores, but in recent years I've been frequenting the locals more and more.

When buying food we now make a conscious effort to purchase smaller quantities. We end up spending more per pound, but we waste less and eat fresher. The smaller stores also seem to care more about the community; they often give teens their first job. Their older employees stick around longer, and we've gotten to know quite a few.

I wouldn't want to see a marketplace consisting exclusively of big-box warehouses and online vendors. Despite their deeper pockets, I've found them to be less responsive to community requests, always routing charity questions to a corporate office thousands of miles away.

This week I'm helping to organize the church's booth at the Earth Day Fair. We'll be selling books, records, CD's and related paraphernalia to support the Heifer Project and other charities. When I explained what we were doing to the manager at Lucky supermarkets he immediately gave me fifty reusable shopping bags to help our effort. Lucky will be seeing more of our business.

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