Black Friday is all about the corporate America pumping up their bottom line for the calendar year. Corporations have made record profits yet now threaten to lay off employees rather than cut into their 4000+% increase (compared to just 20 years ago) in pay for executives. Reducing those wages to a mere 7 figures to give their employees a fair wage or reasonable benefits is not an option for them. For those profits they sell products regardless of safety that were made in places were regulations are lax, humanity is not valued, and reasonable inspections on their import would be physically impossible.
Yet somehow some people still prefer to spend their hard earned dollars with these businesses. Regardless of how many studies show buying local is better. Regardless of the data about the pillaging. Regardless of the impact on their neighbors, community, family.
So what can we do? We can partner with a marketing campaign started by one of these giants. American Express. In 2010 AMEX started a “Small Business Saturday” ad campaign with millions of dollars behind it. They were rewarding their credit card holders with cash for shopping at small businesses that accepted American Express cards. It became so much more. The campaign was wildly successful, beyond what AMEX could have planned. The idea resonated with small businesses, individuals in small communities and people in touch with what it takes to turn this economy around.
People began staying home on “Black Friday” and heading out for their holiday shopping on Small Business Saturday.
As you enjoy your turkey sandwiches and football and family, keep in mind that hard working community members could use your help. Vote with your dollars. Keep it local. Support local artisans, butchers, bakers, candlestick-makers (and cheesemakers too, of course!).
A place you can find some opportunities to do all that? Whidbey Life Magazine – has a directory and a calendar of events to direct you. Bayview Farmers Market has a holiday market Dec 1, 8, 15 and 22 (10am-2pm) in Bayview Hall. Many local small businesses specialize in carrying local products – Useless Bay Wine’s Tasting Room on 1st in Langley is just one example. There are so many ways you can support local. Give a gift certificate to a local restaurant (or Farm!). Buy something adorable from Sassy Siren for your daughter. Buy something beautiful from the Chocolate Flower Farm. Buy some gardening tools from Bayview Farm and Garden. Buy a custom made gift basket from bayleaf.
Please join me in buying local, for the holidays, for everyday, for your/our community.