When I was younger my shopping values focused with a laser beam on “cheap, cheaper, cheapest.” Some of this I attribute to my dear darling mother, raised during the Great Depression, and her clear message that if it hung on the sales rack it fit better, looked better, and was the right color for you, as compared with all those things that hadn’t yet been marked down. The rest I attribute to a severely constrained wallet and my desire to have more of everything than I could afford.
Things have and haven’t changed. The severely constrained wallet? Still there, really, although at a different level than what it was when I worked as a Kelly temp and walked or bused to work because I had no choice. Now I make more money and have more commitments and my relative purchasing ability may have actually declined.
My shopping values? Well, I read recently that we spend the first half of our lives acquiring things and the second half getting rid of things; I’m more in the getting-rid-of mode than in the acquiring mode. I appreciate the things my mother taught me to look for in order to recognize whether I was buying good quality (on sale). Today, I recognize that, as Benjamin Franklin said, “The bitterness of low quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”
You do get what you pay for. You get it where you pay for it, too, meaning that if you ship your dollars away, tempted by the chance to save a buck or two, your money is exported to some other community. That’s where it circulates, buying legal and accounting services, paying taxes for schools and streets, and employing someone else—not you, not your kid, not your neighbor.
Consider that when you head out to shop, and support Small Business Saturday. If you need to buy online because getting out is difficult, are you able to buy from a business in your town, or at least in your state? (For those of us in Washington, Amazon is headquartered in our state’s economy.)
If you’re heading out in Spokane, check out the wonderful shops we explored in this year’s Bikespeditions along with other great local businesses:
- Bikespedition #1: Carnegie Square
- SoDo Is So Terrific! Bikespedition #2 a Must-Shop (Part I)
- Bikespedition #2 Part II: Exploring SoDo Some More
- Thoughts on Shopping
- Shopping for a Better World
- Why Buy Locally Owned? A great list of reasons
- Green Is the Color of Money: Growing a Sustainable Local Business Approach
- If You Really Love your Neighbor, You’ll Eat Local Food
- Christmas 2011: Birth of a New Tradition
- Do you still shop the same way you did when you were younger?