Buy local. Buy local. Buy local. You’ve been hearing it for years, and it’s starting to become like the Salvation Army bell ringer, something you ignore politely, with a pang of guilt that doesn’t linger past the first or second traffic light. About the time it takes to get through the rationale that it’s not your problem: We live in a global economy; it’s kind of a pity tax; service isn’t what it used to be; your Amazon one-click works like clockwork; nobody is selling shares of Real Oviedo locally. Besides, the UPS man has to send his kid to college, too. Dammit, it’s the customer reviews (they’re really quite reliable).
Or maybe you do buy local. Maybe you have relationships with your chickens before you kill them. You type your thank you letters on a Corona, brew your own ginger ale, and darn your own socks. Heck, maybe you even started your own local business with a local newsletter and participate in local politics. It’s not your fault you’re not from here.
Goofing aside, the point is that buying presents used to be more about what you could afford than what society could ill-afford. Caught as we are between the Great Recession and the Final Reckoning, with our bad habits from The Bubble still ingrained, our consumer decision-making has never been more fraught. It’s like playing mixed doubles against Ayn Rand and John Lennon. Serve the lefty wide in the deuce court. You should be able to decide where to buy your nephew’s train set without referring to Michel Foucault’s Madness and Civilization, but the fact that our whole world seems to suffer from bipolar disorder doesn’t make it easy. We hope our shopping guide hits your mania right.
I’d also like to offer some reassurance and, in this season of Thanksgiving, some thanks. Locally and globally, you spend your money on two weekly newspapers, a news nonprofit, a daily paper (whose profits lured Warren Buffett), two public radio stations, two television news networks, and two commercial radio groups. I’ve always liked musicians who take the time to ask the audience to tip the bartenders and the wait staff. It shows a certain amount of humility as well as a thirst for a free drink. On behalf of our free weekly newspaper, I’d like to thank our advertisers for keeping us going and our readers for making them think it’s a good idea to buy ads in our paper. You’re buying local, and we appreciate it.