Does it matter where you make your purchases, and to whom does it matter?
Nowadays it’s really easy to just go and buy whatever you need from big supermarkets, or what’s becoming more and more popular, ordering from online. And why not? It’s much cheaper and more convenient to go and buy everything you need at the same time. And it’s totally understandable, you get to save time and money. You don’t have to go from shop to shop to find what you need. But exactly why in the end this isn’t such a good thing as it appears to be and why we should pay more attention to the purchases we make?
If we look ten to fifteen years back and remember what kind of shops we used to have, the selection used to be much more varied. There were different kiosks, different kinds of small markets with their own owners, handmade items… Inside of these places, there was more character and a different atmosphere, the people who work there could make the place cozy and welcoming, they could influence the surroundings and the selling products and that way implement their dreams.
Probably many people would rather run their own business, making their own working conditions, and having the opportunity to influence their work, quality, and ethics of the products. But that’s not so convenient anymore. The small businesses are competing with large corporations and usually, the competition is won by the corporations, they have money, they have power and people want to buy cheap products.
Now since the world is changing to more corporation-friendly reality, these kinds of small shops with domestic products have become much rarer because it’s simply not profitable anymore. We, consumers, prefer to do our shopping in bigger markets mostly because the prices might be cheaper and the selection of the products much more varied. So it’s just convenient, right? The main interest is not supporting the businesses, it’s in our personal needs.
Why is it important to think of who you give your money to?
To understand this, we need to understand what money is and how it works. Before we invented money, people used to trade goods. So, for example, if you knew how to make clothes you could trade your product with a person who knows how to bake bread. This way both of you get something that you need, they get something to wear and you get something to eat. But that becomes really complicated because of the variety of things and products, and peoples’ personal needs, so easier are when there is one thing that everyone desires, and that is money. Money simply is the medium of exchange.
To understand how money works, we need a bit of imagination here. So, let’s say you live in a village. You get your salary and you have some purchases to make. First, you need to buy food. You have options, you can go to buy your food from a local farmer who might live in the same village or city. Or you can go to the nearest supermarket to make the purchases, probably from there, you can find everything you need and even more, not only food but also other goods at a lower price. But the decision to make here is: to who you want to give your money to and why does that matter? If you decide to go to your local farmer you are basically giving your money to them, you are supporting their business and making it possible for them to continue. If you decide to go to the supermarket which is owned by possibly a foreign corporation, you give your money to them. Of course, some of the profits are distributed by paying salaries to employees but most of the money goes to the corporation. You can also stop to think about the conditions the employees are facing there, it’s normal that people go to work on these kinds of places because they don’t have other options. They could have if there would be consumer demands for that.
If you got the inspiration to change your shopping habits, you can easily do it. You just need to put a little bit of effort on focusing what you buy and from where. Find out what your local businesses have to offer you. You may just end up changing your habits, eating more fresh food, and consuming more ethical products. Do research online since many of the small local businesses are pushed to sell their products there. You may not be able to change all the habits, but the wonderful thing is that even a small change matters. It matters to small businesses; it gives them an opportunity to continue implementing their dreams.