This year has not only been crazy for everyone–that goes without saying, but this year has even been so crazy, for everyone! What with the political climate, the climate, and the amount of Oberlin students gone viral on TikTok, it’s safe to say that 2020 has been a year unlike any other. But the holidays are here, and that always means gifts, good food, and my Jewish grandmother encouraging me to wear blue or white on Christmas <3. As we tap into the consumer culture of gift buying, gift giving, and gift hating, I want to encourage everyone to shop small and shop local. It’s better for carbon footprint, for environment, for climate change, for our natural world, and for outside. So, I’ve compiled a list of ways and places to shop small, and shop local this holiday season.
1. Buy a tape measure! This is important, because you want to measure the dimensions of the store, before you get to shopping. If the store is too big, it’s unethical to buy from it, and you will be contributing to capitalism. I called the CVS on Main Street, and was informed that the store is “pretty small”, according to general manager Shaun. He said “it’s not even big enough to have one of those machines that tells you which Dr. Scholls implant you need to buy. We have a blood pressure squeezy machine, but we had to sacrifice the employee bathroom to fit it in. So, whenever I have to tinkle at work, I have to walk to the antique store across the parking lot, and use their commode while thirty antique dolls stare at my naked body.” Needless to say, this CVS is Grape approved. It’s local (only 0.7 miles from Tappan Square), and out of the 221 CVS stores throughout Ohio, it is probably one of the smallest.
2. Invest in an electric dog collar: This is of paramount importance for making sure that you only shop locally. Just the other day, I was in Elyria, getting my fur baby Pen15 her meds. We both have matching electric dog collars, which I’ve set to have a maximum distance of 3.7 miles from my home address in Oberlin. As we were walking around, I stumbled upon a cute little shoppe, selling knick knacks and homemade tchotchkes. I found a frail old man inside, who introduced himself as Alfred, the store-owner. He said the store had been around for three generations, was the third oldest family-owned store in Ohio, and for as long as he was alive, it donated half of its profits to a local charity. But Covid had struck the store hard, and it was going to have to close down if business didn’t pick up. I was so enamored, I picked out 75 dollars worth of stocking stuffers, and was excited to buy them. However, the desk was just beyond the predetermined distance, and as I approached with my wallet in hand, Pen15 and I were shocked with the combined voltage of a collapsed transformer. No good. After a brief moment of catatonia, and an intense spell of profanity, I had to apologize, through tears and gritted teeth, to Alfred, and put the gifts back on the shelf. I couldn’t simply flout the distance parameters, buy the tchotchkes, and still call myself an ethical consumer. I bought fifty unitaskers I saw on QVC instead. Which brings me to my next point:
3. There’s no store as small as an online one! There’s no store as local as a store on your computer in your home! Amazon, Asos, Overstock,–these are all great places to spend your money this holiday season. There is no physical location for these vendors, so each store is only as big as your computer screen! I myself have a 2011 15 inch Macbook, and that’s markedly smaller than any shop I’ve ever been into, which means that I feel no guilt whatsoever when I buy online. The other advantage to a merchant like Amazon, for example, is that my computer is, in fact, inside my house. It doesn’t get more local than that. I don’t have to exert energy driving to a location. I don’t have to walk, which incurs breathing, which produces carbon dioxide, methane, and wind, all of which adversely affect our Ozone layer.
4. Become an entrepreneur yourself! An entrepreneur is someone who owns their own business, and keeps that business afloat by selling products, making profit. Being an entrepreneur is a surefire way to keep your shopping footprint small and local. Usually, when trying to shop small and local, you are limited to what is around you, and the size of the storefront. But when you’re an entrepreneur, you can just procure any goods you want, and distribute from your home base, while still being an ethical and integral part of the consumer world. A couple weeks ago, I bought out Oberlin’s Ben Franklin store, and boarded up the “Books” side of the shop, using all of the little texts as tinder for our furnace. Heating systems are expensive and inefficient, and no one needs books anyway! Now that the shop is physically small enough, I plan on firing most of the workers, specifically the younger ones, because as we know, when you get old, you shrink, which takes up less space, and their footprints are literally smaller. Now that I own the store, I can take any item I want, and gift it to someone else for free! To offset the cost that incurs (I am a very giving person), I have taken a cue from my mentor J.B. , and diminished the quality of work environment so much that my employees pay for the profit discrepancy in sadness :(. Anyway, all of you should remember to shop as tiny and as close as you can. Oh, and expect something nice and wet in your stockings this year…