I really like to shop on the internet. Something about that one-click purchasing power really makes me happy. I help out at a local health food store though, and they have really brought to my attention the idea of buying locally. I didn't realize so much of our economy was based on small business owners. Me and my internet shopping self figured that between WalMart, Target, and Amazon, small businesses must make up only a small sliver of the pie. I'm wrong sometimes.
It's fun working for a small business though. There is much less micro-managing, since everything doesn't have to be replicated on a grand scale. Much less bending backwards to accommodate someone that really should have been fired months ago, but wasn't because they might sue. The business can grow and change as needed. And it's fun to shop locally because you matter. Trust me, I worked retail long enough to know that you don't matter there. They will smile and nod and act like you matter when you throw a hissy-fit at the counter, but you don't. There is a long line behind you, metaphorically if not literally. But small businesses don't have the luxury of state or nationwide audiences. They can set their principles, then do what is in their power to help you, the valued customer, while remaining true to those principles.
Why did this come up? I saw an article or ad (can't remember which) talking about joining a local credit union instead of a national bank. I'm not sure if I'm going to do it yet or not. I still haven't given up the dream of moving and it's much less hassle if you're part of a national bank. But it got me thinking. I do a lot of spending through the chains that would probably be better spent on locals, and I think I'll work on that. Any thoughts?