Tuesday, December 1, 2009
thoughts on shopping locally
I stumbled upon the 3/50 project this morning in an email from Zeff Photo in Belmont (as a side note, I love Zeff Photo). I don't know a whole lot about it, but I looked at the website a bit this morning. More than anything, it made me think about shopping and eating locally and buying from independently-owned businesses.
Over the weekend, while at my parents' house for Thanksgiving, my mom was giving me a hard time for spending more on Christmas trees at a local garden store (Bonny's in Cambridge), and said that I should just buy a tree at a certain highly irritating home improvement store that may or may not rhyme with Dome Meepot. The conversation got me thinking. Is it really overspending? Or is it spending closer to the true price for things, rather than a price that means that Dome Meepot gets to put more small, local stores out of business? And that also means that you get to have a pleasant interaction with the owner of Bonny's as he cuts the bottom off the trunk of the tree rather than aimlessly wandering the aisles of the Meepot? The 3/50 project also tells me that for every $100 spent in independently-owned stores, $68 goes back to the community, compared with $43 through chains, and $0 online.
Given the choice, I am much happier buying produce from a farmers' market than a grocery store. I can find what I need at my neighborhood hardware store much easier than I can at the above-mentioned Meepot. And I would much rather support my favorite local yarn store (before it went out of business, that is) than buying synthetic fiber yarn at a giant, unnamed craft store that is often staffed with unfriendly and unhelpful employees. Having said all of that, I'm not a millionaire. It certainly is difficult not to order things from Amazon when they make it so easy and so inexpensive.