The other day I did something out of the ordinary: I shopped locally and I liked it!
There was no need to drive for over an hour for groceries that day. I didn’t have to be taken away from my chores or from my studies. I hopped in my car and drove down the hill to the grocery store on Main Street. As I walked in, I was pleasantly greeted from behind the till by a young woman I used to teach. I grabbed a cart and made a quick sweep of the store.
Sometimes you have to shop somewhere else.
Living so rurally, it is unarguably necessary to shop elsewhere for some of the things we need. If you came over to my house right now, you’d see that I still haven’t caulked the tub. It’s ready to go, but I discovered that the caulk I had handy was too old. I need new caulk and the tub will have to wait until I drive somewhere to get it.
But if I require a dozen eggs, six bananas, a block of cheddar cheese, a bottle of Windex, a couple of onions and some whipping cream, what’s the point of making the incredible journey to a larger centre? There’s a whisper deep in my mind that asks me this: If you shopped around here more often, would tub’n’tile caulk suddenly be available?
Saving time? Nope.
That particular Saturday, I was feeling that I had to focus on my online studies. My editing courses can be heavy and this brain isn’t as quick as it once was. It takes longer now, and a bit of extra review, to really succeed in my classes. I didn’t want to drive somewhere else for the groceries I needed.
At the local store, I got everything on my list, had a good visit with my former student and I was back home in less than 25 minutes. Returning to my house at the top of the hill, I felt reconnected with a corner of my community and I felt efficient. Now I had the whole day to get other stuff done.
Saving money? Not so much.
Sure, it costs more to shop here. However, when I can get all I want here – or a good bunch of it – I’m not spending money on fuel or putting extra kilometres on my car. It’s not necessary to stop to eat somewhere and I’m not tempted to buy any extra junk that catches my eye. I get what I came for and I get out. That’s my kind of shopping and in the long run, I bet I’d spend less money if I shopped here more often.
Saving my community? I could do more.
Of course, one person’s shopping habits don’t hold the power to revive a local economy. That’s obvious. It’s also obvious that when I shop more at home I help my community more than if I didn’t shop here at all.
Every purchase I make in this village makes a difference and every dollar that I don’t spend here makes a difference in the opposite direction. Spending some money here lets me show that I care about my community and gives me a chance to help sustain it. And Walmart isn’t going to notice when I don’t walk through its sliding doors.
That Saturday, I didn’t have to drive for over an hour for groceries or to find someone to visit with. This easy, at-home shopping experience made me question exactly what I’m saving when I shop away from home.