Do the Right Thing: Buy Local

Buying local does lots of great things for communities and businesses: it boosts the local economy; it’s more friendly to the environment; and it creates more jobs. But until this morning I never considered that it would make me a better person!

I was shopping today at a local business that sells soap and cosmetic supplies. (No, you don’t need to know exactly where I was shopping. Trust me.) Normally, they just take online and phone orders and ship out their products. But today they had a special warehouse sale event for their local customers. So while everyone was very helpful, there were still some kinks to work out, including a new system for checking-out and paying for purchases.

So the lady at the register rang up my order, I paid for my purchase and carried it to my car. It was there, looking at the receipt, that I realized that I had been undercharged for something. By a lot. It wasn’t a large sum of money, but a large percentage. And the supplies were already at a good price for the sale. What to do?

I sat in my car and had a conversation with myself. It was short, but lively. Back and forth I went in my head. Ultimately, I went back inside, explained what happened and paid what I owed.

I can’t really say that this was completely out of character. I’ve been known to be honest before. But what really surprised me was the reasoning that finally got me out of my car and back into that store to shell over more money.

It was because this is a local business, one that I hope will thrive, so that I can continue to buy their supplies, so that my business can thrive. It was because this is a local business, in my community and I know the owner. I felt a tie, a kinship, a sense of empathy for this business owner that meant that I couldn’t just pretend that “they’ll never notice” and go on my merry way.

Buying local made me do the right thing today. Imagine what could happen if we all did a little bit more of that.

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