What It Means To Buy Local – Letter To The Editors


From DAVE SMITH
Ukiah

August 24, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

To The Editors:

Over the past 50 years, the expansion of national businesses into local domestic markets with Big Box Stores, Chain Stores, Franchises and Monster Malls has diverted and redirected local circulating money to centralized corporate coffers. There it is spent on large capital outlays, national advertising, overseas goods, executive salaries, loan repayments, and dividends to Wall Street investors.

This interception of funds has depleted local towns and cities across our nation of an important source of funds: recirculated income.

To draw attention to this problem and save their small, locally-owned businesses, towns and cities have instituted Buy Local campaigns. They have been somewhat successful, so the giant international corporations are using big buck propaganda campaigns to claim they are “local” businesses.

One of the world’s largest international banks is now claiming to be “The World’s Local Bank” and Lay’s Potato Chips is seizing on citizen’s desire for locally-grown food with a “Lay’s Local” advertising campaign.

And, sure enough, the Masonite Monster Mall folks are also claiming that passing Measure A will be supporting Buy Local. Ha! Because they say it does not make it so! The Monster Mall can mail a million pamphlets, and make a million local phone calls, but the Masonite Monster Mall with Measure A is the antithesis of buying local and will sweep up even more of our money and send it elsewhere.

Buying groceries at Ukiah Natural Foods Cooperative, locally-owned by its members, is buying local. Buying them at the Lucky chain-store, headquartered in Idaho and owned by investors on the New York Stock Exchange, is not buying local.

Buying a beer at the Ukiah Brewpub, owned and operated by the local Cooperrider family, is buying local. Buying a beer at the Applebee’s chain, headquartered in Kansas, and owned by public investors all over the world, is not buying local.

Buying a sack of potatoes from a local organic farmer at the Farmer’s Market is buying local. Buying french fries at McDonald’s, headquartered in Illinois, exports precious dollars to Oak Brook, and then on to parts unknown, and is not buying local.

Buying from locally owned businesses keeps money circulating closer to where we spend it. This creates a ripple effect as our locally-owned businesses and their employees in turn re-spend our money locally. The more local money is spent locally, the more local jobs, local entrepreneurial businesses, and our community’s prosperity are created.

Thank you for voting NO ON MEASURE A to preserve our unique, locally-owned businesses, neighborly small town values, and livable human-scale communities.
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3 Comments

Amen, brotha’!

It’s amazing what propoganda will do and say to warp the concept of Buy Local.

If people realize that the money they spend at big box stores gets sent to a corporate office somewhere and never gets back to the community, they would ‘can’ the big box stores permanently.

Unfortunately most communities look at the short-term ‘benefits’, like more (but lower-paying) jobs and some sort of so-called tax benefits (that are never realized because big-box stores tend to move before they pay any taxes).

Hey folks, buy local because the job you save may be your own.

Roger D.

I can’t cite the source off the top of my head, but I recall when WalMart was trying to get in and the controversy was raging, one of the little gems that came out was the fact that it was then corporate practice to empty out the tills twice a day, deposit the money “locally”, and then immediately transfer it back to headquarters. It didn’t even stay in town overnight.

Pirate capitalism ahoy!

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