As the holidays approach and we have our attention turned to the economy, I think this is a good time to not only look at international spending habits, but also our own right here at home. A friend of mine recently posted on her facebook page that buying from local businesses would help turn the tables on an otherwise lopsided economical system. I couldn’t agree more. Buying from local merchants not only strengthens the local economy but I would argue that the face-to-face interaction you get from knowing your neighbors creates a feeling of being home and building a community.
Before moving to Chicago from San Francisco a little over two years ago, I managed a small independent coffee shop. I had worked in the business of coffee-making and coffee-bossing for a few years and was working for a large corporate coffee roasting company (who shall remain nameless). I had decided to leave my comfortable job for a tiny mom and pop shop that I had been into a few times and loved. I loved the neighborhood. I loved the coffee. I even kind of liked the way the barista said, “well if you’d open your eyes, you’d see it’s right behind you,” when I asked where the cream was my first time in the shop. Ouch.
It still sounds silly when I consider it, but that employment shift changed my life. My priorities shifted. I finished school and I got to know my neighbors. I learned the names of my customer’s kids and the owner of the shop became like a second Dad to me. We weren’t shooting for perfection because we knew that the humanness in dealing with each other’s quirks, mistakes, and affinities was more interesting than the data analysis that goes on behind multi-million dollar corporations.
“What does this have to do with sex toys,” you ask? I can relate anything to sex—just ask my housemate. But what I am attempting to say here is the impact of shopping locally goes further than the cash-register. And this season some of the changes we are looking for can be achieved through a multitude of tactics. Some of them being by shopping at your local bookstores, hardware stores and, yes, sex toy stores.