Monday, March 22, 2010

17,582 out of 25,561 Ain't Bad

On Sunday I ran in my first road race, the Shamrock Shuffle. It's the world's largest 8k. I might have finished a half hour behind the race winner, but it was still a blast.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Doing Business Locally

My mechanic waved to me.

Yeah, that's right. While on my way to work yesterday, my mechanic recognized me/my car and gave me a friendly salute. And I was thrilled! Why? Because I see it as the fruit of shopping/doing business locally. In today's day and age, I know how old fashion this must seem. How 20th Century of me, right? In a globalized world where one can receive costumer service support from India, roses from Africa, and fresh peaches in the month of March from Puru, why insist on doing business around the corner and just down the street? Several reasons come to mind:

1. When goods and services are consumed locally there is less environmental impact. Did you know that on average our food travels some 1,500 miles before it finally arrives on our dinner plate? That's a lot of gas being burned to transport our food. Apples from New Zealand? That's half way around the world!

2. Shopping/doing business locally strengthens communities. There's a we're-in-this-together mentality that's created when you buy locally. The flower growers in Africa don't know me and I don't know them. I can't really take pride in the product that I'm buying and there's little appreciation for patronage when you know you'll never meet your customers. It's a anonymous exchange.

3. Doing business locally creates the possibility for relationship. My auto insurance agent has an office across the street. I know her and she knows me because we sat down and discussed my policy together. Bam! Relationship. I even got a free coffee mug and road atlas out of it. And now that I've brought my car into the shop a couple times, now I have a relationship with my mechanic. Sure, I could get an oil change for less if I went to the Jiffy Lube in Lincolnwood or Evanston. But I don't live in either of those two communities, I live in Albany Park.

The price of doing business locally might cost a little bit more and will definitely limit your selection of available goods and services, but I think it's a noble cause worth embracing.