Friday, September 10, 2010

Money Buys You Things

To paraphrase playwright David Mamet, "Money is nice to have, because it buys you things." (Or, I would add, experiences.) Unless you are actually operating at a subsistence level, where you really have no options, you get to choose on what, and where, you spend your money. If, like some folks I know, you think that Wally World is the next best thing to sliced bread (an apt analogy, if ever I heard one) then the choice to spend the lion's share of your money there is the right one for you. If you like to have choices, though, then some more thoughtful choices need to be made.

I HATE Wally World! And I shop there twice a year, if not more, for the best prices on commodity items (like strands of 100-light Christmas lights.) But if I (as I do) like to have the option of going there for my stuff or elsewhere where the service is better and the quality is better and the choices certainly are better, then I had better think twice about choosing them as my go-to store for non-commodity items, like groceries or clothing, ...or plants.

Yes, I agree that we're sometimes brought to a standstill by the bewildering number of choices in things like petunias. But do you really want to only have the option of red or white or pink? Because if you spend most of your money at Wally World (and other big boxes), and the small businesses go out of business, then Wally World gets to choose what you will buy. And what you will not buy. Because they choose not to sell it to you.

Especially in this economy, you have enormous power. You have the "thumbs up or thumbs down" vote in the acropolis. Who survives, who dies? Do you want choices, or just low, low prices? The next time you are in your favorite "mom-and-pop" small business, ask yourself what you would miss if they weren't there any more. If this bothers you, then think long and hard before you drive by your local bakery/hardware store/garden center to drop a chunk of change at Wally World. The future is what you choose it to be.

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