First, truth in advertising: (1) I am not
a SAHM...as I'm pretty sure all of you know; (2) I am a fanatical recycler and consumption-reducer...as some of you may know--I am the one who even reuses AND then recycles the wires that close the bread bags
; and (3) I am fortunate enough to live in New York City where, although we are getting a HUGE amount of chains, there still are mom-and-pop places. And, (4) I have a partner who really picks up his share of the parenting and working-to-keep-the-household-running tasks. Like, we really split domestic chores and try to organize so no one gets totally run into the ground. (This does fall apart occasionally. On both sides.
All that said, I do spend a lot of time in other places. I am not one of these "urban provincials", OK?
There ARE places with nothing more than a Mall Wart. Really. I've been there. There are places that even have nothing more than one really, really expensive "general store" -- like some towns in South Dakota with high aboriginal populations. Or even some places in upstate NY. And, even if they don't have a Wall-Mart, they've probably already gotten rid of the local mom-and-pop withthe help of OTHER chain stores.
Yeah, in some of these places, if the shopper is willing to drive an extra half hour, maybe
there is another store available. Wanna do that in February with probably-should-be-replaced 4-season tires? Nope, me neither. And there is no guarantee that the other place will (a) have what you want or (b) be cheaper ... and now a whole lot of fuel has been used up...not to mention that you better have brought a picnic lunch for yourself and the little one(s).
And, if it were me, well, I am really well-organized. And I lived "out-back" when I was young and the idea of only going shopping once a month or less frequently and doing that
with a pickup or a small trailer attached to the ball hitch on the car is not totally foreign. And, I've inherited my father's ability to be totally anal about keeping the car in working order and being prepared for emergencies. [
T Talk to me about what to always keep in your
BUT, not everyone is as well-organized. It is a skill, not a moral failing.SO,
what to do?
Well, I agree with fourgrtkiddos about the sweatshop problem. I try not to buy products made in countries with lousy worker-protection laws and no enforcement. BUT, there are sweatshops here, too. Lots of those illegal immigrants are brought in to indentured servitude here. It is hard to keep track of this.
I do my best. (Which is all anyone can do.) For example, I buy t-shirts from http://www.americanapparel.net/
... which, at their store in NY, the prices ARE the same (and on the less-expensive side) as stuff made in Bangladesh and Nicaragua. Makes me wonder who is getting the profits.
. $10 - 12 for a snap-crotch undershirt, for example. Of course, I haven't visited the factory myself, so I guess I don't know
And I think that no one here really LIKES going to the Wall-Mart. I mean, it's not like it has red plush "fainting couches" in the Women's Room and soft music piped in while you shop. :LOL
Once a Wall-Mart (And, yes, they are worse than other on this, Costco and so forth are not so universally pushy about how they compete. Really. Even though they are pretty bad.) has moved in, frequently everyone else gets pushed out because of the loss-leaders and their quantity buying. Wall-Mart OWNS factories abroad. In some cases, there is no "direct" competition for price comparison. They've put a lot of energy and resources into getting rid of the competition, not just competing against them. Then, Wall-Mart effectively owns the town, and can set the rules...INCLUDING LOCAL ZONING & PLANNING RULES AND TAX CODES. This affects your local democracy.
Keeping small business alive in your locality means you keep more local control. They are removing
the profits made off of you. With the exception of the low wages they pay, those profits go OUTSIDE OF YOUR AREA. They are not spending their money at your local shoe-repair place, your local garage, your 5 & 10, your diner, restaurant, gas station, flooring store, well-driller, builder, hardware store, lawyer, accountant, etc.
You may think "Well, the employees are still local"....but, think about it, the BOSS isn't. The PROFITS are going elsewhere.
Just food for thought.