Keep it in Cumbria.  Why buying local is vital to our communities

As we creep towards Christmas we’re going to be bombarded by advertising and hype from big business with a lot of money to spend.  Shop local

In a way it’s an all out war on our senses.  The christmas ads are out and we’re made to feel warm and fuzzy – that is –  as long as we spend our money where they want. It’s not really even our fault we choose convenience when we’re bombarded by online offers and dozens of dirty little tricks to help us hand over our cash.  At home the message to spend is beamed into our heads through every device in our house. TV’s, laptops, tablets and phones are all lining up to grab our attention When ads become events then we really need to be cautious.

As individuals we all need to be mindful of how we spend but also where it goes.  That’s why The Guide has always encouraged it’s readers to shop local – and we always will – because it’s vital to keep our money in the region.  It’s important because if we don’t our high streets will decline and each new boarded-up shop front will only to serve to remind us of the past and the thriving community we once had.  The emphasis on cheapness above everything else leads people to overlook the value local businesses provide us.

 

Shop local is not anti-chain (because they provide employment and often interact positively in our community) it’s an ethical decision we need to promote because it aids our high streets and a healthy economy is better for us all.  When you buy from a small business, you are not lining the pockets of the super-rich. When you buy local you’re helping parents put food on the table, kids get the dance lessons they want or the sports boots they need.

Christmas is the season to spend with our family and friends so spending local does not have to be restricted to buying presents.  Time is the most precious gift you can give. Take your parents out for dinner in a restaurant, your friends for lunch in a family run cafe or create a lasting impression for your kids with a great day out on a local activity.  Memories last a lot longer than imported goods from China.

When you support your local business you’ll help them pay the wages of their staff and your money will stay in town.  Not only that but retailers will use local suppliers, builders, signmakers, accountants, insurance brokers, computer consultants and designers.  Staff will buy their lunch from the cafe’s that surround them and have a drink on Friday evening in a local pub.

On the other hand an internet giant like Amazon will take our money offshore, divide it amongst their shareholders and pay an expensive team of lawyers and accountants to minimize their tax bill that should really be spent by the government back on us.  It’s one way traffic, our money goes out and nothing comes back. Big business refers to us as consumers, when you really think about it it’s not very complementary and it shows we’re nothing more than a walking bank balance that’s only here to buy their products.

It won’t be easy because these guys have spent the money on marketing, they’ve paid people to analyse our brains and crack our thoughts.  They think they know us better than we know ourselves and they’re pretty sure they can tell us exactly where to spend our money.

It’s a callous attitude but we have an alternative because we are more than one click wonders.

When you walk into a store run by a local they could be your neighbours, or friends of your parents, maybe they’re someone your Aunt went to school with or a woman from the labour ward who delivered her child the same day as you.  They could be anyone but they’ll be from the area and they’ll treat you as a person. That’s really important, it unites our community and it keeps our money in the area but it needs a small shift in attitude from all of us.

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