It's the week of Thanksgiving here in the US and that means lots of food, family gatherings and shopping. Thanksgiving Thursday is followed by Black Friday – the day retailers hope to “be in the black” – as in, making money. It's to official kick-off of the holiday shopping season.
Then comes Small Business Saturday… Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local. Small Business Saturday is a registered trademark of American Express corporation. There are lots of images floating around Facebook… like this one. (I couldn't find the original creator or source of the image – it isn't mine, no copyright violation is intended)
While I like the basic concept, there is definitely some black-and-white thinking that I feel compelled to address.
Specifically – “Let's make sure our money goes to individual people and not multinational companies.”
Well… multinational companies aren't just nameless, faceless money funnels. They need a lot of people, resources, etc to survive. And many, many small businesses are helped when you shop at places like WalMart, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Lowe's and more…
THIS small business owner, for example. And many of my friends and clients.
I am ONE PERSON, working out of a home office, making a living, paying my bills and taxes and contributing to my community. I do art that goes on products that are primarily sold in large chain stores… so if you boycott “multinational companies” – this artist is going to be in a world of hurt.
Many of my clients, who are vendors to the big stores, are US based small businesses. Their livelihoods are also tied to big stores.
I'm not saying don't go to that craft fair or locally owned hair salon – don't get me wrong. But I think the message is getting a little too cut and dry – David vs. Goliath if you will. Goliath supports a lot of David's in this new world economy.
How about we all “mix it up” this holiday season? Don't ONLY shop at WalMart but don't avoid it out of principle either.
While we are on the subject of WalMart, if you do find yourself in there, look for these cocktail napkins – designed by me. Manufactured by a company in Philadelphia. Moved around to all the locations by trucking companies who bought gas, food and probably coffee, all across country. If your WalMart has canvas wall art for Christmas, you might be supporting my friend Jennifer Pugh – another one-woman artist business out of Utah. Her family thanks you for your support as well.