What can you do to help make a difference to your local community?

November 24, 2015

Continuing with the Live Your Legend Start A Blog challenge and the prompt for Day 2 is “What makes you angry?”

The last time I was angry was at 3am this morning, when my toddler seemed to have no intention of going back to sleep! But that is an anger that passes quickly. Its hard to be angry when a face full of wonder and mischief is smiling back at you.

What makes me really angry? I could list so much about what is happening right now in the world and how I am scared of World War 3 starting (or having started) but I will leave that to those more eloquent and clued up on inter geographical politics than me.

So I will focus on something I can hopefully make a difference about in my new life. My frustration at the belief that business has to be cut throat and about making the most profit in the world over all other factors. That bigger is better and you better keep growing, and growing, and growing. That its better to make ever increasing profit at the expense of paying fair taxes globally and paying employees a living wage.

LWW

It really annoys me that consumers are happy to buy on mass from large corporates that not only refuse to pay back (via tax) for the infrastructure they are using but are also, in the UK at least, costing us all more money as tax revenue is needed to top up the poverty wages they pay. Working tax credits are effectively a subsidy for all those big businesses that claim they can’t afford more than minimum wage – Yes NEXT I’m looking at you.

So please join me in thinking about where you shop – especially at Christmas. The ‘must have’ big brands and Black Friday deals may look seductively cheap but what are the hidden costs? How do they treat their staff? Are your taxes helping them make more profits? What damage are they doing overseas (child labour, destroying rainforests…)? What do they believe in and who do they lobby and fund?

I’ve found it hard to #ShopLocal for everyday shopping – an ongoing challenge I want to improve at – but it’s not as hard as you would think at Christmas. And its a time that makes such a difference to the majority of retailers – big and small. So make your money count and your voice heard.

 

Shop-local-baubelLast year I managed about 90% of my gifts from independents. Look out for pop-up shops, arts and craft fairs, local gift shops (many have Christmas shopping nights advertised on Facebook) and online sites promoting independent makers as well as individual sites from designers and makers. I found it really fun to wonder round and met the makers. I also remember getting an unexpected gift and lovely card from one of the online makers I purchased from. I didn’t spend that much more as I tended to have an amount in mind for most people and bought smaller, more personalised gifts rather than bigger mass marketed items.

So I encourage you to buy at least one Christmas present from a local business. And see if it is more fun to meet your neighbour rather than fight with them over a pair of shoes on Black Friday. One way is to check out Small Business Saturday. Its on 28 November in the US and 5 December in the UK and the linked websites have info on how to find out what is happening near you.

As a major UK supermarket would say “Every Little Helps”. So spread the love locally this Christmas. And I would love to hear about your #ShopLocal, #ShopIndie or #ShopSmall experiences and ideas in the comments.

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