Why “Shop Local” is nonsense – Why I don’t shop local

It is the most used buzz-word by most chamber of commerce members is to “Shop Local”.

There are several products that my family and I will buy only from local merchants (mainly high quality food).

We like nice cheese where we can go to the farm for a tour Saltspring Island Cheese, or organic teas where we go for tea tastings, Silk Road.

The main reason that I do not shop local for all my needs is the cost. Honestly, the price difference is incredible for some locally made products and I can’t justify to spend extra money out of my budget to make another business more successful.

I will give an example. We have a popular chocolatier close to Vancouver Island called Denman Island Chocolates. For a small bar (46g), they retail for  $2-$3. I understand it is organic but the raw cocoa doesn’t come from there so you are basically paying for their marketing and is it priced right?

In the days of daily deals, consumers should be aware of the ridiculous markups of some merchants and what they charge.

Example, I have a friend that worked overseas for a software company that sold Point of Sale software. He did the implementation (similar to my day-job) and trained the merchants. This one merchant that he was helping one day (a store similar to Pier-One Imports), did not want to reveal how high their margins were. This merchant always promoted themselves as a local business.

I don’t buy this argument that local business supports the local economy more than any other business. 

[quote]“Just a small shift in spending at locally owned businesses can have a compounding effect keeping dollars in our community, creating jobs and so much more,” says founding member Gayle Robinson of Robinson’s Outdoor Store.[/quote]

If local business was more transparent with their earnings and how they support community groups and showing how many living-wage (not minimum wage) jobs they support with their business, then I would be more likely to support local business.

Do you shop local when you can?

5 thoughts on “Why “Shop Local” is nonsense – Why I don’t shop local”

  1. I like to buy from local companies when I can, but I only do so when the price is right. If the price is significantly higher, I’d rather just buy from the chain stores. Really, the chain stores often employ more local people anyway. I do like the friendlier service that you usually get at a local business.

  2. We have a local farmers market that runs during the summer.

    They have fresh fruits and vegetables which they charge considerably more for just about double in come cases.

    Since the fruit and vegetables are grown locally you would think they would not have the freight , overhead etc.

    I do buy some product from the local merchants but for the most part if the goods are not priced competitively I walk.

  3. I’m more likely to support the businesses in my immediate neighbourhood if they provide a level of service and quality I can’t get elsewhere.

    For example, I continue to purchase glasses and contacts from the same business even though their prices are higher than online stores because they give me great service. I can come in every 6 months and they still know me by name. When I have a problem with contact lenses, they give me a free pair, no questions asked.

    I also like to support the coffee shops and restaurants in my immediate neighborhood

    because they make the area so muchmore vibrant and interesting. I’d hate for the local market to leave just because people were saving 50 cents on milk at the Safeway.

  4. I like to shop locally whenever I can but sometimes the price difference is just to great. I do not like to cross boarder shop but I purchased material to renovate my kitchen for a quarter of the cost. Ironically most of the material was manufactured less than 150km from me and was Canadian.

    The difference paid for my fuel, hotels and meals with cash to spare.

    At least TRY to be competitive.

  5. You are bang on….worth noting that the uber-expensive Denman Island Chocolate is, as you suggest, priced to take advantage of its organic, vegan cachet. After all, the guy who makes it pays his workers less than minimum wage, while boasting that he is the ‘hippy millionaire’. So your skepticism is, in this case, well founded. With such a purchase, one is not achieving anything in the way of social, ecological or economic justice, simply lining the pockets of an already rich man who cannot apply the notion of fair trade (ie. fair wage) in his own endeavour.

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