That time of year

It’s that time of year again when all the stores try to get us to buy stuff. I hate that the Christmas commercials started well before Halloween, and the Christmas merchandise was in the stores before the Halloween candy was even sold. Now I see where some stores are opening on Thanksgiving Day instead of at least waiting for Black Friday.

I understand that stores need to make money, and I understand that working retail means sometimes having to work on a Holiday. But I, for one, am sick of it. Our culture says buy this, buy that, and somehow makes it seem that we aren’t complete without the biggest, fastest, newest, whatever. 

Corporations are making lots of money; look at how much the top people are paid. So they aren’t hurting for money. The stockholders often determine the fate of a company, so they are the ones the corporations listen to, not the customers, and certainly not its employees. I can still remember a time when companies paid their employees well, and customers were treated like the business depended on them (and it did!)

What companies don’t seem to understand is that if its employees are paid well, they can afford to buy the companies products. If wages fall, and they have been falling for some time now, who can afford to buy the company’s products? Companies are blaming unions for their failures, and while some unions may be greedy and corrupt, it’s because of unions that we have 8-hour workdays, lunch breaks, safety in the workplace, and a whole myriad of things that make workplaces better.

I think what gripes me the most is that companies aren’t placing the blame for their failures where it belongs, on their greed. I know that some companies do pay their workers a living wage and they still manage to make a profit. But when profit comes before the welfare of a company’s workers, our system is broken.

I won’t be shopping any chain stores on Thanksgiving Day, nor on Black Friday. I will support local businesses, because they are the lifeblood of our communities. When you shop at locally-owned businesses, 74% of what you spend stays in the community. When you shop at non-locally-owned businesses, 43% of what you spend stays in the community. For me, the math is simple; shop local and the community benefits.