Attention all Shoppers

It’s Black Friday. Weird tradition. I guess our only equivalent here in the Great White North would be the Boxing Day Sales. The idea of getting up at 3am to go shopping violently conflicts with my plans to spend most of my upcoming Christmas holiday inside in my new jammies or outside in my snow suit.

I always feel bad for the employees who have to work at those sales. Apparently Walmart was open on American Thanksgiving this year. I guess saving more and living better means the employees of the world’s largest company have to go without turkey or worst, turducken. Honestly, couldn’t we save the savings till Saturday?

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, as it turns out, is now Small Business Saturday in the States. I like this concept. I first heard about when I saw this ad this morning: 

This is a big business idea started by American Express. I gotta hand it to them. I especially love the tag line. Shop small. It’s gonna be huge. I sure hope they’re right. It’s this kind of thinking and that kind of support that could very well kick start the new economy. Because, let’s face it,  the old economy is just plain broke – and so are many of us as a result.

Now, if you’ll follow me down this tangent for a moment, I think that shoppers are divided into two groups. People who think about how to spend their money and others who think about what happens to their money after they spend it. At least I think that’s what I think.

Money is funny. It’s a man made concept. It’s not really real, like water or food, yet we trust it, and how it’s managed and where it’s put and how it’s divided up probably more than we should. Try explaining to an eight year old why the $20 he took out of his bank account doesn’t look the same as the one he put in. Try explaining to him that there is no “real” bank account back there behind the wickett with his name on that he can look at. And don’t get me stared on those little pieces of papers mommy calls cheques. What’s that all about and why can’t I just write one whenever I want for whatever I want. Kids get it. We’re the ones who are all messed up about money.

But back to my tangent. Thinking about what happens to money after we spend it. I’m the first to admit that I like a good deal. And that trumps all altruistic feelings about my economy. But if I pay full price and I buy local, I do so knowing that my friendly shop owner is making more than BC’s despicable $6 training wage. (Side note – George, if you win the liberal leadership in BC, could you see about changing that please?) The money I spend locally is circulated in town three times more than the same dollars spent at large chains in larger cities. So when we say spending money is good for the economy, it’s only partly true. It’s not how much money we spend, it’s how we spend our money.

Amex is spending a ton of money helping the USA rethink how it spends its money and I admire that. Besides, I don’t think Walmart takes American Express cards anyway. I’m sure it’s not just altruism at work. It’s good business. And good business is smart, thoughtful and impactful.

Here in Salmon Arm, we have our fair share of smart, thoughtful and impactful businesses. I’ll let you decide who that might be for you. I know who I can count on and they know they can count on me.

Chances are, any of our American neighbours who were crazy enough to get up at 3am to go shopping at Walmart will likely be too tired for Small Business Saturday shopping. And so be it. But for those who aren’t and for those of us just heading into shopping season, let’s make an effort to shop small. Let’s see how huge it really can be. Will it make a difference? I’ll put money on it! I hope you will too.

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2 Responses

  1. Have you noticed the several recent stories re hoarding, complusive shopping and the importance to the U S economy of black Friday etc.
    Ask not why you need still more stuff Ask only what new stuff we must now get to save the Nation
    Bizarre but true

  2. […] Wallace’s post Attention all Shoppers (Nov. 26 2010) looks at “smart, thoughtful and impactful” good business ideas. This is a big […]

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