It’s beginning to look alot like Christmas and the full-on shopping bonanza has set off like dynamite, which conversely, has also ignited the local shopping movement. Every year, the chatter about local shopping grows louder, and to combat Black Friday and Cyber Monday, American Express created Small Business Saturday, in 2010, which is the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It’s a smart move for American Express, which wins no matter what, as people are using their cards on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, but in reality, I won’t be shopping local this holiday season.

Though shopping local has become the pretty girl at the party, it’s also pretty expensive, especially for the holidays, when lots of people want lots of things. The total commercialization of Christmas has created a thirsty mob of  gift zombies and Santa Claus is the Zombie king. I’m not harking back to another era or getting nostalgic about the true meaning of Christmas, but try bringing your kids or cousins some Myrrh, instead of an x-box and note the reaction. Years of programming and strengthening of our spend muscle, to best exploit the total commercialization and commodification of Christmas and suddenly people are supposed to turn that off?

Shopping locally is a boon to many things, but none of those things involve my pockets! If I buy anything from a local shop, I’m paying extra for it. I’ve boycotted Black Friday before and  all I gained was a loss. I lost out on fighting like a wild animal for cheap electronics and denim jeans at big box stores and because of that, I wanted to purge for the entire year.

Get That Money
Get That Money

Purge like the movie, where one day a year is dedicated to wanton, aggressive behavior. And though my life is nothing like that movie, mainly because I don’t have a blood lust or murderous streak, I still want to wantonly strike a stranger for the mere joy of the holiday season and that is only acceptable during Black Friday.

People should support their neighborhoods and shop locally. There’s real value in shopping locally, though you might not always find that value in your pocket during Christmas. If you’re full of self righteous indignation about what I’m saying, then I suggest you get that shopping local stick out of your butt. The fact is, we’ve become so used to the cheap prices that globalization and slave labor affords, our value systems are screwed. Everybody expects gifts gifts gifts. Kids demand multiple gifts, mothers and wives expect gifts to make them feel special and appreciated and no one cares how you get them.

Do you even care about your Carbon Footprint
Do you even care about your Carbon Footprint

Big ticket items like TVs, computers, gaming consoles, printers, refrigerators and kitchen appliances, and electronics like smartphones are cheaper at a big box store or online, so often it comes down to a choice between saving a whole lot of money or spending more to support the businesses of your local nabe. Shopping local also conserves your tax dollars, nurtures your community, helps the environment and a bunch of other good things. but try leaving someone a positive carbon footprint under the Christmas tree, instead of a android tablet, and see what happens.

Everyone needs to ramp down their expectations and de-commercialize their Christmas minds for shopping local to make sense, and until that time, I might just boycott Christmas shopping altogether. Either that or maybe I’ll DIY my whole gift list this year…but now i gotta figure out where to buy my supplies and if I can make a gaming console from scratch.

Richard Burroughs

It's variations on my name, but it's the same human. I'm Richard Chandler Burroughs, novelist (A Rendezvous With Destiny) and blogger (Uncontrollable Urges). Richard Burroughs as a marketing strategist,...

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  1. Rich, I really think you have missed the mark with your viewpoint on shopping locally. The perspective you’ve shared in your piece is very short sighted and selfishly focused solely on your own wallet and not the economic health and vitality of the local community. “Shopping locally is a boon to many things, but none of those things involve my pockets! If I buy anything from a local shop, Im paying extra for it. Ive boycotted Black Friday before and all I really gained, was a loss.”

    Sorry to disappoint you Rich, but shopping locally can benefit your pocket if you know how and where to look. While you may not get that Black Friday 60″ Smart TV for $99 bucks at your local electronics store, you’re sure to find many other bargains and more personalized customer service. Not to mention the benefit to the economy of the local neighborhood that you more than likely also reside in.

    Do a little research on the subject, broaden your thinking: https://content.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1903632,00.html, and promote the benefits of shopping locally, before just lambasting a Shop Local campaign based on the possibility that you’re not properly managing your shopping budget. There are many great buys to be had right on Fulton Street in the Bedford Stuyvesant Gateway BID as well as the other commercial shopping corridors (Bedford Avenue, Nostrand Avenue, Tompkins Avenue, Marcus Garvey Blvd., Malcolm X. Blvd, Lewis Avenue, etc…)

    Looking forward to seeing you around town helping to keep Bedford Stuyvesant green this Holiday Shopping Season!

    1. Hey Mike, I know it’s value in shopping locally. I say it in the piece. It’s a link next to the image of the carbon footprint that lays out pretty clearly what the value proposition is for consumers, in regards to shopping locally. That’s my most recent column and just my opinion on shopping locally for the holiday, a bit of an indictment on our consumerism culture and the commercialization of Christmas. I shop locally all the time, but personally find it difficult during the holiday season and was writing what I felt.

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