The day after Thanksgiving is Black Friday, and we’re supposed to go without sleep so we can get big bargains. Some of the big-box stores are opening at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving night to give people the jump on the bargains.
So, with all these bargains offered to us, I think it’s important to remember that the stores and the manufacturers are still making a profit.
Now it seems we’re supposed to support small businesses the day after Black Friday and shop on the Internet on Monday.
I will do my best to not spend any money on any of those three days.
And when I do shop, it will be at local businesses.
Asheville has a wealth of artists and craftspeople, and most of them offer affordable gifts.
This area also has an incredible array of restaurants where owners aren’t planning to lay off employees or cut their hours to avoid paying anything for their workers’ health care.
The bosses at these businesses don’t get multi-million dollar bonuses. They usually make a modest income, and they feel a sense of loyalty to the people who work for them.
Papa John’s, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Applebee’s and IHOP will lay off employees or cut their hours to avoid paying for health insurance. But Laurey’s Catering here in Asheville pays its employees a living wage AND offers health insurance. And the food is much better than at any corporate chain.
Up to 80 percent of WalMart’s employees qualify for food stamps. Spend your money there and it lines the pockets of the Walton family. Spend your money in the River Arts District and it stays here.
Buy a hand-turned wooden bowl from Mike Robinson at Third Eye Woodworking and it will help pay the rent on his home or it will buy groceries for his family. Buy a small sculpture from Greg Vineyard and he’ll spend it on things he needs here in town. In either case, you’ll have something beautiful and unique.
If someone is telling you when and where to spend your money, it’s because they want a piece of it.
I think for myself. I choose when and where to shop. You can too.
Let’s dedicate this next year to buying local whenever possible. The big corporations need us more than we need them.
Leslie Boyd, a former newspaper reporter, is president of the health care advocacy nonprofit, WNC Health Advocates, founded in memory of her son, who died in 2008 because he couldn't access health care. E-mail her at leslie at lettersfromtheleft dot com or follow her on Twitter @leftyletters1, visit Letters from the Left on Facebook. For more information about WNC Health Advocates or to read Boyd's health care blog, visit wncha.org.