I’m trying…

Ok…so the otter is reading a book caller…er…OK, so I don’t remember what it’s called or who wrote it. Something like The Big-Box Swindle. Anyway, it’s all about how places like WalMart destroy the economy. Nothing I hadn’t already known about, but it does bring it back out of my peripheral vision.

So…I’ve decided to try to support locally owned businesses. I’ve come up with a 4 phase plan to live a life that is more morally acceptable to me; I’m in phase one of this right now: no more Wal Mart. Yesterday, I went to Marc’s, a local grocery store that I hate because I used to work there, and bought a lunch bag (as I’m also trying to produce less trash…no more plastic bags!).

Phase 2 will involve things like no more Best Buy. Phase 3 will include fast food restaraunts, and phase 4 will be…n-n-no more Borders. *wheeze* *weeze*

Sorry. Still having trouble wrapping my head around that one. We’ll see.

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19 Responses to “I’m trying…”

  1. quicksilverthor Says:

    Oh come on Mr. Novak. You live in the USA. These “evil” corporations dominate because they’ve won the heart of the consumer. Try to do what you suggest for long and you’ll end up on the bottom line of broke instead of the edge. Wal-Mart has killed off a lot of small business because it’s good at what it does. It was once a small business as well but now it provides low cost goods for the people you claim to be inline with. I have nothing against reducing waste. However consider that many of these companies have grown to the size they are because they’re relatively efficient. Buying from the little guy exculsively may actually increase wastefulness.

  2. But places like WalMart come in, shut down local businesses, then move just outside of town to avoid the taxes, meanwhile the entire local economy has been destroyed. They know that this happens, but they do it anyway because it makes a few people at the top richer while they can pay the people, who by-the-way, used to sometimes own those other businesses, minimum wage with no benefits. The poor get poorer, the middle class gets poorer, the goods become cheap (and therefore, as they break, wasteful), and the country hurts.

    Hitler was also good at what he did. But I’ll let the otter chime in when she reads this.

  3. quicksilverthor Says:

    Do you have to drop a Hilter bomb? That’s a little extreme. I know these companies destroy but they also create. As for avoiding taxes it’s hard to truly remove you’re money from the system. One way or another it’s coming back. There are few actual dark overlords. Most of the rich fall back into the lower ranks in a few generations. If I could give you fifty million I wonder how long it would last. Most of these little companies try very hard to get bigger. In a way there is a big envy component to what they say.

  4. You guys both make interesting points; big box stores are efficient and consumers flock to them, but if you have an affinity for mom-and-pop stores, you can appreciate the threat that the conglomerates pose.
    My main concern with big-box stores deals with environmental issues; their massive size requires so much energy to sustain them, and they’re almost always situated in locations that require you to drive to them.
    Anyhow, the book is called “Big-Box Swindle” and it’s by Stacy Mitchell. I recommend it to of both of you, of course. 🙂

  5. Hi, otter!

    Zach,

    OK, I should not have used the H-bomb. The stores are nothing like that, and it was extreme.

    However, I do not think that it is extreme to compare Wal-Mart to a plague of locusts, so that’s what I’ll do. I will direct you here: http://www.larouchepub.com/other/2003/3045walmart_iowa.html

    It’s an article about what Wal-Mart does to communities, including the effects on the tax base. And yes, I realize that LaRouche is kind of a controversial source, but most of this article matches up with what I’ve heard from other sources, so I’m going with it.

    Not to change the subject, but have you seen Death Note? The otter and I have started watching it. Good stuff so far!

  6. quicksilverthor Says:

    You have to understand that I’m not against the environment or mom-and pop-stores. I very much like Brewed Awakenings, a local coffee shop (just one example). But places like Wal-Mart (not a conglomerate by the way, it essentially operates in only one line of business) also offer benefits. Wal-Mart recently iniciated a recyling program that will reduce costs and cut down on a huge amount of waste. As for it paying people minimum wage that is what most mom-and-pop stores pay for the same type of work. A true entrepreneur won’t end up working there for minimum wage after one failed attempt. I haven’t seen Death Note but my friend Matt also raves about it. He didn’t like the ending though.

  7. quicksilverthor Says:

    The article you have a link to has some truth in it but it is an extremely distorted truth with spin from the mouth of an ambitious man. Kelly, these stores are massive and they do require a large amount of energy but they also serve more people than any mom-and-pop store could.

  8. Chris always talks about Brewed Awakenings…do you drink coffee now Zach? 🙂

  9. quicksilverthor Says:

    No, but they have Jones Soda and rock candy there and I do consume both of those.

  10. Doesn’t that doom you never to buy a video game, cd or book in Canton?

  11. Oh man, this just shows that I don’t read your blog as often as I should!!

    I am a HUGE supporter of local business!! I think you should always support your community or you will, absolutely WILL, lose it. And even the supporters of big business would be very unhappy then. I think people like quicksilverthor would have a very rude awakening if that were truly to happen. No local coffee shops, no interesting clothing, no hand made good, no delis, no one to know your usual order, no mom or pop to say “hello how are you?” and really want to know the answer, no variety…the list goes on and on and those are just the “little things” the niceties.

    And if we are going to talk about Wal Mart, it is the most EVIL of EVIL corporations!!! Wal Mart who targets and slaughters the mom and pops, who takes out life insurance policies on it’s workers with out their knowledge or consent, who sues workers who were injured on the job for their health insurance settlements, who uses overseas and sweatshop labor almost exclusively, who purposely makes sub par products to keep the consumer coming back and buying more whether they can afford it or not, is one of the worst offenders of it’s kind.

    And I think that you can totally equate these kind of big corporations with hitler. What big corporations are doing to mom and pops, to local businesses, to US manufacturers, can but compared to genecide.

    If people like their local coffee shop, bc it carries the soda you like, bc it is a comfortable place to hang out, bc you know your server, bc it has a community, or for what ever reason, it’s imperative that people stop shopping at big corporations and start supporting local business, bc they are all connected. and every person who shops local makes a difference.

    end rant, for now.
    -m

  12. quicksilverthor Says:

    Mo, give me a break. I just said I’m not against mom-and-pop. I like those types of places. I worship at all temples equally.

  13. Kelly Says:

    I can vouch for my cousin Z (aka quicksilverthor) that he’s not entirely against locally owned businesses. I remember several instances where I reluctantly accompanied him to Toledo’s Glass City games to revel in local geekiness. 🙂

  14. No, man, I know… no hard feelings or anything? I mean, I don’t know you and it’s hard to get someone’s political standpoint from a few paragraphs accurately. But as a future small business owner this matter is close to my heart and I tend to get a bit ruffled.

    I just think complacency towards bigger companies and not fighting for local indie stores that really dangerous. It def leads to using big corps more and the little guys less. I think you need to mindfully vote with your dollar and be aware what you are doing when you spend. Bc you are making a choice, big decisions, whether you realize it or not. You are shaping our country. Everyone is. And maybe if everyone thought more about what they were doing (instead of just doing what’s easy) this counrty could start edging towards being a better place, that’s better for everyone who lives here.

    like I said, I get ruffled!
    -m

  15. quicksilverthor Says:

    Yeah, we’re cool. I just don’t see things as a total zero sum game. I also think living the way the post suggests is extremly difficult. Even if you buy from a small business there are hundreds of big businesses behind it. I’m not saying to avoid what is hard either. If Mr. Novak can pull it off I would commend him.

  16. Remember, too, that this is a 4 phase plan for me…I’m still eating at Taco bell and shopping at Borders for now…(though all the small, independent bookstores are out of business around here… )

  17. No, no, it’s an extremely hard way to live, I know. and it’s got to be done in steps and degrees. But I think it’s an important thing to move towards and to think about

    Personally, I try to shop as much as I can at my health food stores, but I also shop at Shop Rite near my house.
    I try to only buy from indie bookstores but I occasionally can only get some thing at barnes and nobels (that’s what’s near us, or I’d do borders).
    But I always try to swing the little guy the money first. If that means I have to order it and wait, that’s OK. I try to think every time I buy something. Think about what’s behind the company/store and think about where else I might get it. Really think about what I’m supporting with my money.

  18. PS thanks for giving me a colorful little icon!! it’s nice!
    -m

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