While Walmart puts out press releases with statements saying the rallies and protests didn't effect their business on Black Friday, images of protests are all over social media, (great collection of photos and videos here.) Daily Kos and other blogs are full of posts about Walmart workers whose full-time paychecks make them eligible for government subsidies and how Walmart's profits put the Walton family close to the top of our country's top 1%.
Yes, Black Friday protests and rallies included people who didn't work for Walmart, many Walmart workers were justifiably afraid of losing their jobs. But the real success is that news of Walmart's poor treatment of their employees is spreading and might effect their bottom line in the future and will hopefully put pressure on the corporate officers to consider improving the lives of their loyal employees.
In the mean time, with help from American Express, the idea of supporting small businesses has taken off and hopefully will permanently plant "Small Business Saturday" right in between "Black Friday" and Cyber Monday.
Walmart may offer low prices, but your local merchants give you personal service, employ your neighbors, buy houses in your neighborhoods, send their children to your schools, sponsor local sports teams and pay local taxes. They are the lifeblood of our local communities and as the huge box stores pop up in your area, their businesses suffer.
I like to give gift certificates to local stores. This gets my family and friends into the stores to themselves. After Christmas stores here on Cape Cod see their slowest months and getting customers to jingle that bell on the front door is important.
The website Sustainable Solutions offers the following reasons you should shop your local businesses:
Why Buy Locally Owned?Your holiday shopping dollar will mean so much more locally than dropped into the Walmart profit margin.
There are many well-documented benefits to our communities and to each of us to choosing local, independently owned businesses. We realize it is not always possible to buy what you need locally and so merely ask you to Think Local FIRST!
Top Ten reasons to Think Local - Buy Local - Be Local
Buy Local -- Support yourself: Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned businesses, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers and farms -- continuing to strengthen the economic base of the community.(Click here to see summaries of a variety of economic impact studies; these include case studies showing that locally-owned businesses generate a premium in enhanced economic impact to the community and our tax base.)
Support community groups: Non-profit organizations receive an average 250% more support from smaller business owners than they do from large businesses.
Keep our community unique: Where we shop, where we eat and have fun -- all of it makes our community home. Our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of this place. Our tourism businesses also benefit. “When people go on vacation they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace, not just anyplace.” ~ Richard Moe, President, National Historic Preservation Trust
Reduce environmental impact: Locally owned businesses can make more local purchases requiring less transportation and generally set up shop in town or city centers as opposed to developing on the fringe. This generally means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution.
Create more good jobs: Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally and in our community, provide the most jobs to residents.
Get better service: Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know customers.
Invest in community: Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future.
Put your taxes to good use: Local businesses in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally owned stores entering the community.
Buy what you want, not what someone wants you to buy: A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term. A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.
Encourage local prosperity: A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.
Think local first + Buy local when you can = Being a local!