We hear a lot about how we should “buy local”. And it is good advice, but for most of us it is like flossing before bedtime and testing the smoke detector in your house monthly. We support it in theory, but don’t really do it. Depending on what we want, there isn’t even a local alternative available most of the time. But I’ve recently had a couple of opportunities to disengage from Big Box World and have found them truly satisfying.
I recently de-banked, from the large soulless regional conglomerate bank to a smaller credit union. Changing banks is kind of a minor pain in the ass for most of us, and it is designed to be that way. My new credit union is filled with real people who say hello to me when I walk in, and not a revolving wheel of fresh-out-of-college new hires who are having to simultaneously work 3 drive-in lanes, the teller line, and answer the phone when it rings.
There is a little too much distraction there for people that I’d rather have paying attention to the task at hand, mainly me and my financial life. The person who closed my account couldn’t have cared less. I think it was a person, it could have been one of those Audioanimatronic people, like the attractions at Disneyland….it’s personality seemed programmed.
I also recently purchased a new camera. Having had a less-than-stellar Big Box Retailer experience in purchasing the very computer I write this on, I decided to go to what is certainly almost an anachronism in our time, at least in my neck of the woods. A CAMERA store. That’s it…just cameras and video and related supplies. Not computers, TV’s, washing machines, and groceries. Just camera geeks.
I was able to ask questions of someone who actually knew the answers, who waited on just little ol’ me. My knowledge of digital cameras and the associated memory cards and accessories is about 5 years old, so I needed a knowledge upgrade as well. After a pleasant experience, I picked out my camera, got a voucher for some free classes, got the whole thing packaged up and handed to me with thanks, and a reminder that I didn’t need to fill out those pesky warranty cards, they did that for me, and it came with an extended two year warranty!
Pleased for once at having had a positive experience when it came to purchasing a piece of electronics, I headed over to pick up some necessary grub. Unfortunately, since there isn’t an organic farm around when you need one, I went to Costco (a place I do love, I have to admit!)
Needless to say, the same camera was there, and about 20 bucks cheaper. For about a second, I felt like an idiot….I should have known! But I quickly composed myself, when I realized that even as broke as I am, what the hell is 20 bucks? I felt like I bought a LUXURY! When you go to Big Box World, it’s just another piece of electronic crap. Plus, I supported a local business that employs guys that actually like to talk about cameras. Win-win, in my opinion.
I’m not the world’s biggest consumer, but now I’m on a kick to support as many WELL-RUN local businesses as I can! It truly does feel better to get treated better! I doubt I’ll be able to pull my wallet from the maw of No Customer Service Greedy Retail entirely, but it’s a start.
And these days you have to celebrate the small victories……