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Avoid the Target/WalMart Crush: Shop Local

By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 26, 2011 3:10PM

Image Credit: Kaitlyn Sullivan

If you're like us, you watched the violence that occurred at WalMart Black Friday sales across the country with a combination of resignation, bemusement and shock.

Well, maybe not the latter. This has happened before.

If cheap crap drives people to draw guns and pepper spray, don't go to WalMart. Or Target, for that matter. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune ran an editorial Wednesday, in response to a Target employee who started an online petition asking the Twin Cities-based retail giant to reconsider opening at midnight yesterday by telling him to suck it up and be happy he has a job.

(What the Star-Tribune editorial didn't disclose was how much money Target pays to advertise in the paper. Shouldn't they have done that?)

Retailers like WalMart and Target provide even more incentive for you to shop local. The Chicago City Council declared Nov. 25 - Dec. 4 "Buy Local First Week." As 48th Ward Ald. Harry Osterman wrote in the resolution, local businesses keep money circulating in Chicago's neighborhoods; provide jobs; engage in civic discussions; contribute to non-profits; and preserve the character of Chicago's neighborhoods by creating small business districts.

Local First Chicago, which lobbied for the ordinance, is asking residents to transfer at least $100 of their shopping budgets from the big box stores to local merchants. Studies have shown doing so can contribute up to $25 million to the local economy.

The Unwrap Chicago website has a list of events and local merchants participating in Buy Local First Week. So does Explore Chicago's web page. You may be spending more money but, with the alternative being nursing wounds from buying a $2 waffle iron, it would be money well spent.