Shopping For the Future

It’s that time of year when corporations everywhere remind people how much stuff they desperately need, and small independent companies struggle to keep up.

There are basically two kinds of sale going on, right now. On the one hand, you have your major, corporate sale, in which merchandise has been purchased (a year in advance!) for the sole purpose of selling it off at a discount when the holidays roll around.

And then, you have the old-school year-end clearance in which the stuff that didn’t sell during the year winds up being marked down for a quick sale.

There are variations, of course. A few cottage industries which make their products to order, and give you a good bargain for ordering right now. (It’s the slow season, somewhere.)

Along with the usual deluge of advertisements… (You definitely need a new pressure cooker, right?) I got a letter on the subject of how to help small businesses. Number one on the list? Well, obviously… Shop at small businesses.

Quilt made by real Amish grandmothers? Yes, please. Bookseller who doesn’t skip a beat when you ask for a picture book to explain sperm donation to small children? Priceless.

During the pandemic, in particular, it seems important to remember that the company you buy from is the company that will still exist at the end of it.

It really gets down to two questions. Which of these companies would you miss, if it wasn’t there? And… Which of these companies would you like to work for?

Always nice, when you can save the world by eating mushroom cheeseburgers.


  1. Lita


    Agreed. We support small local shops. It took them only a short time to master their safety protocols for staff and customers, now it feels like the norm. It will feel strange when these protocols are removed. Am I alone in preferring the way shops are run now? The care of customers and staff has never been so high as it is now.

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