I live in North Cyprus which is a quiet little backwater and a small piece of paradise. There are no shopping malls here, little commercialisation, very few big brand names, no Shell, etc., petrol prices are set by the government, and most of the shops are small and independent.
I have put my Inner Shopper to sleep because shopping is not a priority here, there are no big shopping centres luring you in to spend your hard-earned dough. Some people go stir-crazy because they miss shopping so much, and head back to their home country. Others persevere and it really is interesting to see how you lead a different life when you don’t live to shop, you shop to live. You have time free for hobbies, creative pursuits, family and friends.
This was inspired, by the way, by a sign on Facebook today which I thought I’d share. We know that Walmart and the like pay lousy wages and rip-off workers in the developing countries where cheap products are manufactured for Western markets. We buy cheap clothes at the expense, for example, of garment workers in Bangladesh, hundreds of whom recently burned to death because they were working in manifestly unsafe working conditions.
So this Christmas, how about a re-think and a re-evaluation of your purchase plans for Christmas presents and goodies. Instead of taking the easy route and popping into supermarkets and big chain stores, perhaps you could give some thought to planning in advance, taking some time to scout out your local businesses and buying there to help these small producers to survive.
I read one comment that it’s cheaper to buy in the big shops and, yes, it is. People who put their heart and soul into producing good quality goods do charge more. But it’s worth it because you’re supporting creativity and someone attempting to live independently through their own handiwork.
To buy local means cutting down, perhaps, on the number of presents you buy, or how much food you get in for Christmas dinner, and so on. It means we become more thoughtful in how we spend our money and how we build and support community. It is taking power into our own hands and away from the banksters and gangsters in the corporate world. It is the start of building a whole new world where profit isn’t the move, people are.