We always see commercials about how all the big chains in our county can offer lower prices on the products we use every day, but has anyone ever stopped to see the high cost of low prices? There are many advantages to buying local, in this week’s blog I am going to try to explain a few.
While I am not a proponent of global warming there are disadvantages concerning the environment with the big box stores. For example, fifteen of the world’s largest ships produce the same amount of sulpher oxide as all the cars in the world, I won’t get into all the other modes of transportation that’s involved. Think of all the packaging that is needed to keep food from all over the world fresh during travel time from its source to your home. A lot of that packaging is either difficult or impossible to reuse or recycle.
Some would argue that Wal-Mart brings jobs to the community, in some small part that’s true, but it doesn’t do that without taking higher paying jobs. The average Wal-Mart takes 150 more jobs than it adds from the community it resides in. Most of these jobs are without insurance or other benefits.
What about the money we spend in the big box stores, where does that go? Well, the truth is most of it is never seen by our community again. A study in Austin, Texas found that $100 spent at a local bookstore produced $45 worth of local economic activity, and $100 spent at the chain store Borders brought back only $13.
Take a look at who owns the local businesses. These are people from your church, you probably see them at local high school football games, their kids go to the same schools your kids do. They are YOUR friends. Where does the money go when you buy at national chains? First it goes to their employees and to pay utilities. Then it goes to the people who made the products. Usually these are people outside of our community or even outside of our country. What’s remaining will go to someone you will never met or will ever understand what it’s like to live on a budget.
Ever hear about some company giving a huge sum of money to a charity or non-profit organization. The fact is that non-profit organizations receive an average 250% more support from smaller business owners than they do from large businesses.
As a small business manager, I see the benefits of buying locally every day. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything bad to say about my national competitors, Terminex or Orkin, or the people who work for them. But when you pay them you have to pay for management, some of which the people in the local office will never meet. Without all the overhead, we can usually beat their price, without haggling. Also, their people are trained company wide. We are trained through experience right in our own backyard.
Just a thought…
The Bug’s End