Thursday, August 4, 2011

Oh, the injustice!

A week ago today I went to my least favorite store to turn in a disposable camera full of pictures (well, if by "full" you mean "27") to be developed.  Now, it has been a few years since I've gotten filmed developed, and I'm learning that I'm a little impatient when it comes to this kind of thing.  They told me that the pictures would be ready by this past Tuesday after 4pm.  Well, running a little behind, I went in this afternoon (a full two days later, I should point out, if you're reading this in the future and today is no longer Thursday), and the pictures still were not ready.  I suppose technically if they were ready sometime next month it would still technically be after 4pm last Tuesday.  Anyway, I was sort of frustrated because I try to avoid this particular store that must not be named, so it's not like I was in there to fill up my big American shopping cart in addition to picking up pictures...the pictures were my only reason for going there.  So I will wait a few more days, lest I have to make a special trip there again and leave empty handed again (the store security cameras have probably rarely seen someone leave there empty handed).
As I was stomping out of there, vowing that as soon as I got those pictures it would be the last time I shopped there, I had a couple of thoughts.
The first was:  how silly of me to be so frustrated at something so trivial.  Big deal.  I will eventually get those pictures.  Probably.  And even if I don't, there are worse things going on in the world right now (and they have nothing to do with me not getting my way).
The second thought was (and it doesn't really have much connection to the first thought): If I boycott (which wouldn't take much more action on my part) this particular store that I really dislike, but continue shopping at a certain other similar store that I think is more aesthetically pleasing in every way, am I really helping any cause whatsoever?  I mean, other than feeling like this particular big-buy-everything-here type of store seems to care a little bit more about making you feel like you're not on another planet when you shop there, are there really any fundamental differences?  Both seem to put local ma&pa type businesses out of business, both offer mass-produced/inexpensive goods, etc.  Am I really helping the local economy if I shop at one and boycott another?
And where do you draw the line with buying local?  I'm thinking outside of groceries here.  If I vow to only buy local or handmade clothes (for example), do I have to guarantee that the fabric and thread used to make said garments is also local?  And what does local mean?  Made in the same city?  State? Country? Or does it mean that the owners of the store and the store itself is local, but the merchandise can be from anywhere?  Or, anywhere as long as it's not a country that runs sweatshops?  You can see where this would get complicated.  Where does shopping online fall in all of this?  Is there a fundamental difference between shopping for books on Amazon and buying your clothes on Etsy when it comes to supporting your downtown shopping areas (if they even still can exist)?
Anyway.  I don't have any answers...but perhaps if I think about it long enough I will have some ideas for a new year's resolution that has something to do with this issue by January/end of December.

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