Ask Mr. Marketing: Buying Closer to Home

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By Rob Weinberg

I’m not generally a flag-waver, nor do I adhere to much of the flotsam floating around the Internet. However, this morning’s collection of junk email delivered a message that had some real merit.

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheap merchandise produced at American labor’s expense. Our economy isn’t expected to grow much, even as the Chinese economy takes off like a jackrabbit.

But we can shift things a bit this year by giving locally-sourced gifts, including:

•Gift certificates from hair salons, health clubs, or car detailers.

•Games at the neighborhood golf courses.

•Breakfasts at the community breakfast joint.

•Tickets to a regional theater production or jazz club.

As the chain mail observed, this concept is about supporting local artisans and merchants who are struggling to keep their doors open and rebuild their finances.

Which is why I’m going to try finding local craftspeople who knit scarves from handspun wool, make jewelry or pottery, or craft beautiful wooden boxes.

And while I think perhaps giving oil changes from the local mechanic or computer tune-ups from the local repair guy might not appeal to everyone, I can certainly see how it could be appropriate for some.

After 1989’s Tiananmen Square massacre, I swore to stop buying Chinese goods as a protest — an effort that was made all but impossible by increasing internationalization of markets.

However, seeing how many U.S. jobs have transitioned overseas in the past 24 years, I’ve come to believe it’s time to start looking again at where products and services originate. I’m starting to focus more on the small business owner, recognizing the benefits to myself, neighbors and our society if I keep those dollars closer to home.

The morning missive finished: “The holidays shouldn’t be about draining American pockets so that other countries can build another glittering city. It should be about encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. When we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we could not imagine.”

I agree, and encourage all my friends to consider the larger picture by finding more ways to buy American.

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing and a happy holiday season.

Reach Mr. Marketing at www.askmrmarketing.com.

   
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