Who shops local?

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The numbers from our weekend survey question are still developing – we switch it up late in the afternoon – but already a clear statistic has emerged: Buying local is a priority for 44% of respondents, with 38% saying they’d be willing to spend at least 10%, and a handful saying they’d spend 20%, even 50% more to buy local.

This is heartening news. Look, I’m constantly going on about individual liberty. The last thing I am going to do is tell half our readers they have some kind of moral duty to spend their money here instead of Moncton. It’s your money, you earned it, you’ll spend it how you want to and that’s how it should be. But I hope the 56% who said buying local isn’t a priority aren’t planning to spend their lives in Amherst. Not that I want them to leave. It’s just that, ultimately, the survival of a town is tied to its economic success, and keeping dollars in the local economy is a surefire way to support local business and industry.

I am not one of the hardcore committed to only buying local, or willing to spend 50% more for the same thing in order to get it from a mom and pop shop – really, 50%? – but  all things being equal, yes, I’m usually willing to pay a little more to benefit local owners, employers and workers.

That would not have been the case when I lived other places. I didn’t have a stake in those places. I wasn’t planning to live in Toronto the rest of my life, I didn’t have a home or financial commitments in that city.

Once you do set down roots, however, whether you are self-interested or community-minded, making that place better becomes important.

So, to the 56%, if Amherst is your permanent home, the town could use your dollars. (By the way, I get that for our poorest citizens, price has to be the driving factor. I respect that. At the same time, presumably our very poorest citizens wouldn’t have cars, so would shop local by necessity, albeit probably much of it from national or international chains; it would be a difficult but interesting task to assess whether even the poorest shoppers are further ahead long-term paying 10% more locally, given that it goes back into their community…).

Shoppers has been bought by Loblaw. I wrote the “brief” that’s on our website. It’s kind of a useless little blurb, spouting information every website has declared in their headline: $12.4 billion.

Why isn’t it better? Where’s the interview with local staff or owners? Great questions. The answer is something I harp on about all the time: the silencing of conversation as governments and businesses increasingly narrow media access to a single spokesperson.

I’d like to talk to local staffers. I’d like to talk to the local franchisee. Instead, I’m told they can’t talk, and I should phone Tammy in Toronto. Well, I called Tammy and left her a message, but given there’s more than a thousand Shoppers across Canada, good luck to Tammy even returning my call today, let alone saying something of interest to our local readers.

But the message must be managed. No local flavor can be allowed to seep into media coverage. The last thing we want is someone who hasn’t been drilled full of key messages to open his or her mouth and say something spontaneous and human.

By the way, this isn’t a criticism of our local people. It’s policy, see.

I don’t have a problem with dark humour. This doesn’t sound like a joke: http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/07/14/bang-i-accelerate-quebec-mayor-forced-to-apologize-for-saying-how-much-he-enjoys-killing-kittens-with-his-car/

What is it with Quebec and mayors, anyway?

George Zimmerman was found not guilty: http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/07/15/im-just-disappointed-in-america-thousands-protest-zimmerman-verdict/

It sounds like the right verdict, based on what I’ve read. The known facts just didn’t lead to the level of proof required for a successful prosecution. I can understand a measure of anger over the ruling, though. It seems clear Trayvon Martin would be alive today if Zimmerman hadn’t played citizen-cop.

Of course, citizens taking some ownership for their own communities isn’t a bad thing, so it’s a bit of a grey area. And the fatal shot wouldn’t have rung out – perhaps – if Martin had reacted to Zimmerman with words, not defensive aggression.

But here’s the thing: Martin’s response was understandable, and he was under no obligation to answer any questions from another citizen anyway.  

Zimmerman wasn’t guilty of the things he was being prosecuted for, but may have been guilty of “doing something inadvisable that risks death for someone else,” if there is such a thing. That should have been the case prosecuted. If found guilty, a sentence of two years less a day and five years probation might be right.

Of course, if the prosecution had pushed for something they might have been able to prove, would the broader community have accepted such a comparatively light charge in the wake of a shooting?

It’s an ugly business all around.

Best wedding ever! http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2363234/Brides-sister-left-broken-nose-mass-wedding-brawl-knocked-uncle-following-buffet-scramble-piece-chicken.html

Does it say something bad about me that I’m amused by such dysfunctional idiocy? Oh, it does? Well I’m OK with that.

Smart bird, cool footage: http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/blogs/watch-wild-raven-allows-women-to-pull-porcupine-quills-from-its-neck

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  • Al
    July 17, 2013 - 07:50

    It's not about spending money, it's about making money. Amherst needs to re-focus from a dying down town area to encouraging businesses to locate here. Half of the young people in the province do not know where Amherst is on the map. Forget the Four Fathers and advertise that Amherst wants new business and I'm not talking about more places to spend your money, I'm talking manufacturing businesses. Advertise low natural gas price, affordable housing, low rate of crime, internet speed, your know... those things that working class people want to know about. You need more tax payers in this place to support the drain of non-producing seniors. With all due respect because I'm one too.