by Darin Lowery
My hat is off to the Arizona Silver Belt for initiating a ‘Shop Local’ campaign. With the high cost of gas, maintenance and time involved in a run to the Valley, shopping locally isn’t only a loyalty pledge- it makes sense. There are independent shops in our area that sell everything from cars to cosmetics, from soap to knickknacks. With the exception of the little Nob Hill Grocery in Globe, the days of the small neighborhood market is over. Picking up beer and coldcuts at Fry’s or Safeway is a necessity (a man’s gotta eat) but shopping at a Wal-Mart, for example, isn’t shopping locally- it’s feeding the coffers in Arkansas.
That said, a trip to Wal-Mart was on my to-do list last week- my annual trek for socks, tees and underpants (I love that word- underpants. It makes me laugh). I rarely go to Wal-Mart, the Big Box behemoths such as this being the primary reason for leaving the Valley. Too big, too bright and waaay too noisy for my taste, and the air always smells funny from the coughing, sneezing, farting crowds. I prefer the small shops of downtown Globe to get most of my goods. Think of it as ‘shopping Globally’.
Besides- I’m not your typical American consumer, throwing anything and everything shiny into a cart and yanking a credit card from an accordion file. My needs are simple, my tastes complex: I am a junker. Junkers like old stuff- flotsam from another era- sturdy, reliable, and noble. Wal-Mart sells new stuff, most of it made overseas- gimcracks and gewgaws which sometimes break before I can even get out of the parking lot. If I could find my tightie-whities downtown, folks, I’d get them on Broad Street.
Alas, Wal-Mart has changed the face of small town America, and I accepted this some time ago. Mom & Pops are so last century. The issue I had last week with them was not only moving the socks, tees and underpants, but that they opened a flippin’ grocery store where the Fruit of the Looms used to be. Their press releases whooped a lot of hoopla about the remodeling, making it sound like a gut rehab of the Sistine Chapel, as though there wasn’t a crumb of bread to be found in this town until Wal-Mart stepped up to the plate.
This, of course, is not the case, since there is an overstocked Safeway store not a hundred yards away, which also went through a major remodeling. (There are two Safeway stores in Globe; the ‘Baby Safeway’ on Hill Street and the ‘Glamour Safeway’, on US 60, where I pretend I’m in Sedona, shopping for prosciutto and melon).
I don’t know if Safeway buys products assembled in China by ten year old children working twelve hour shifts, and I don’t know if Safeway bullies wholesalers into cutting their prices. Safeway employee benefit plans and pay scales aren’t my business, though I do know they’ve not been excoriated in the press over these issues. And yes, I realize business is business, and we could have seven different grocery stores in that location because this is America, dammit, and it’s our God-given right to have unlimited choices at deeply discounted prices. That’s all fine and good, but Wal-Mart deliberately going to toe to toe with Safeway? It’s just plain tacky.
Perhaps Wal-Mart is planning an antiques department next- shelves of vintage pottery and petite figurines, rows of railroad clocks and old oil paintings on the wall, reams of toile and retro Fortuny fabrics in a bin? With that one fell swoop, downtown Globe can pack it up and when the last shopkeeper leaves he can turn off the light.
Napoleon Hill once said, “Lack of loyalty is one of the major causes of failure in every walk of life.” A ‘Global’ economy begins at home. When we patronize our local retailers, we all grow and prosper. This is called loyalty, and this is acting ‘Globally’.