As writers and consumers of books we're reminded constantly that brick and mortar bookstores are on the decline. Of course this trend isn't only impacting bookstores. Local shops of all kinds are struggling to compete with the large, omnipresent box stores in our communities. I won't name names, but these stores bring the goods to us cheap and that's what we (apparently) like. I shop in those stores too-- I think it's a necessary part of modern life.
But I wish I had the budget to shop other places.
This generally makes me feel helpless.
If I were to shop locally all the time, it would take so much time that I'd never have a chance to work (which would end the shopping pretty quickly). I'd also lose out on spending time with my family, and writing. Not to mention that it costs more.
You might argue that shopping locally or with independently run stores costs the ACTUAL price, and that the prices at a box store are absorbed all along the path of production (by the children making the items in a third world country, all the way to the person working the register without healthcare). For a better argument, see The Story of Stuff.
I saw this project referenced on one of my favorite podcasts How Stuff Works.
The brainchild of Cinda Baxter, The 30/50 project is simple. Pick three independently owned stores you think are important, and patronize them.
For every $100 spent locally, $68 returns to the community (versus $43 in a national chain).
$50 per month IS in my budget right now, and I am going to make a conscious effort to spend more money with independently owned stores, both locally and on places like etsy.
Since I put my own things on etsy, I have a big interest in supporting and enjoying the other artists there. And as I browse the site, I find myself LOVING the gorgeous hand-made items. They have something that mass produced items will never have.
What about you-- do you feel guilty about supporting the stores that are devastating local economies?
Do you think I'm nuts?
Where do you shop and why?