Monday, December 12, 2011

Is Shopping Local a Joke?

Okay so what's the deal with shopping local and it never working out for me? I try and I try, I want to support the local shop trying to make it work. Trying to offer something to my community that is unique and fresh. But here is what usually happens.

1. Lets visit Halloween:
I found out our local food coop was having a Halloween celebration. Being the crunchy-support your community-buy local gal that I am I wanted to go and support their efforts. Well let me just say, efforts is a stretch. I got there towards the beginning of the event but not right away, with two kids dressed up, with treat baggies, and ready for some fun. I was also thinking that this place would offer something different than the normal pass out a gob of candy events offered for small children. After arriving and milling about for about 15 minutes and wondering if I was at the wrong place I took my oldest to the potty and then milled about for a little longer wondering what the heck was going on. Let me also say that during this time not a single person working in the store came up to me and said anything, like, "Hey are you here for the party? Its over there... or we canceled it last minute... or we were just joking there really isn't anything going on." In fact everyone seemed to ignore me. Finally I bought us a little snack and asked the cashier, "Did I misunderstand the poster on the door? Are you all not having a Halloween event?" and the reply went something like this, "The person who is running it has not shown up yet and we don't have the stuff..." Oh awesome so were you going to just let me wander around the store for hours or tell me that this was happening? (is what I was thinking). Finally the "person" arrived, unorganized and she had not set up for the event ahead of time so guess who helped her set up the event so that all the kids waiting around could get their face painted? ME that's who! I set up for the stupid event. Because I'm nice and I told my child there was face painting. We left as soon as we got our faces painted and went on the the local grocery story where there was music, people dressed up, people greeting us and acting happy to see us, and excited that we were dressed up, and talking to my kids. "Hey! Happy Halloween! Oh are you Pippi Longstockings? You look awesome! Guess what I am?"

I came home and felt horrible. Here I am trying and trying to teach my kids about supporting our local businesses, about supporting our neighbors, about buying things that come from places as close to home as we can get and all my kids got out of it was that the little food coop was boring. I mean this was their chance to really do something fun in the community, to bring in some business. But in the time that I stood there waiting for the show to start (an hour and a half late) four other moms walked in and walked out.

2. Lets visit today:
So its raining and I wanted to be home so I'll admit I was already a little crabby. But I wanted to start the search for Todd's gift from the kids. We have been thinking about it for a while, and so we decided after school today that we would try to locate it. So on the way home we ran into a little store up the road from our house. I get both kids in, wet, cold, and needing a snack. There is only one other customer in the store, but somehow it took the two guys working 15 minutes to notice that a mom and her two kids were in the store, even after we knocked down a display and threw an item in the fountain. **Side note, if I owned a store I would quickly help out any mother with children as fast a possible, so they could also get out as quick as possible.

Anyways, finally I just shouted, "Do you all have blah blah blah?" And the guy at the counter said, "Oh no we don't carry those in the store, we can order them though, but it might take a while with the Christmas season." Grrrrr! Are you kidding I can order it on Amazon and have it shipped to my house for free in two days! But I wanted to support you. But if you are going to order it I would have to come in here again and deal with all the breakable stuff you put on the floor and the fountain (with two children).

Here's the deal, I really want to support local businesses, I want to buy from my neighbor, but they sure are making it difficult. So what is a mom supposed to do? I would love to hear ways you support local without getting frustrated and going home and just ordering on line. Or is that the phase I am in? Sure I could get a sitter, but then my kids aren't going with me to get their dad's gift, from them!

So there ya have it, real parenting, real shopping with kids, the real tension of trying to teach your kids about how valuable your local shops are. Okay I gotta go pick up my veggies from my local farmer, who might I say makes picking up my veggies very kid friendly. Thanks Kathy and Marvin for making it kid friendly and easy to buy from your beautiful farm. And we now know what a Dikon or Japanese Radish is too.

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