I have written plenty about buying local before but something happened today that made me want to revisit it… This is a single-topic rant.
A silly story
We source most of our products and services from local businesses, and we always look local first, but once in a while there is a product we need that we get from a bigger company out of state. I’m not going to name names but this particular vendor based 4 states away just sent us a paper statement with a zero balance. With a return envelope. In an envelope. Is this silly or what? Keep in mind that every statement we get from this company will always be a zero balance because we pay at the time we order. Okay fine, so I called them to see if they can just email them to us in the future to avoid the waste and the cost and I was told they do not have the capability to not send those statements.
They literally just told me that they are not able to stop themselves from wasting money and resources.
They have a “system update coming at some point” that may allow them that capability but for now they will continue to spit out empty mountains of paper and mail them across the country for no good reason. So the lesson here is wherever it’s practical – BUY LOCAL!!! Generally speaking it seems the bigger the company the more red tape there is, the more politics, waste, and fat – sometimes big corporations just can’t seem to get out of their own way. Granted this isn’t true of all big corporations, but small independents usually don’t have big automated systems – they typically have real people pouring their personal passion, blood, sweat and tears into their livelihood, and they will give you fewer counterintuitive answers like the one I got today.
Reality check – Local doesn’t get you everything…
Now listen, I understand you can’t buy everything local. You can’t get a Joe Phone from JoeComm on the corner and get a signal from Joe’s towers… you have to get service from a national or regional carrier. I’m not going to say I never shop at Target or Costco – I do. I don’t know any neighbors with their own oil company and refinery who can sell me gas. But if there is a choice and you have the practical option of buying local (or eating at a locally owned restaurant) you should consider it where possible.
Keep the money here
Sure I have a stake in this subject since Frameable Faces is a local independent studio, so I am biased. But keep in mind that as a rule, by buying local you are keeping more money in your local community which helps your local economy, and we Detroiters / Metro Detroiters know a thing or two about the importance of that – especially now with our city in bankruptcy.
You don’t have to agree with me, but at least you know where I stand! 🙂