Saturday, 28 July 2012

"Shopping to Save."

Blogpost No.3
Saturday 28/07/2012

Having recently moved to our beautiful little village in West Yorkshire, Mr N and Me are doing our best to support our local community. We are attempting to do this by shopping locally.
We have noticed that the quality of food is much better at our local Green Grocers, Bakeries and Butchers etc. compared with that of the supermarkets; sometimes you do ocassionaly get less for your money quantity-wise. but the quality by far makes up for this and lets face it who couldn't do better to eat less?

Fair enough, we all should be more concerned with quality not quantity. It’s just in this current economic clime this can be difficult. Aren’t we all feeling the pinch right now?

Well I can tell you, we certainly are!

With a new house that needs renovating from top to bottom, (we are currently using a make shift kitchen with three different styles of worktop, mismatched units and an eye-watering 1960’s lilac bathroom suite -something to tell the future Grand-kids!) We have a higher mortgage than on our previous home; it really does cost to move to a nice part of the country. Me leaving work and moving to suburbia leaving Mr N to support the three of us (the three of usbeing Mr N and Me and our gorgeous puppydog Charlie) also with him going from night shift wages on to days and not to mention a Wedding to save for.

Every little penny we can save goes straight underour proverbial mattress to help pay for each of the above. That’s before life’slittle luxuries, birthdays, Christmas, holidays and unexpected forking’s-out etc.!
So shopping where items are at their cheapest seems to be a must for us in keeping our outgoings in the food/clothes/electricals/basics etc.area to a minimum. We do what we can and try to shop locally but sometimes it just appears to be so expensive! At this moment in time quantity seems to be taking over quality. How many of you out there feel the same way? It's time to assess what's important. Is quantity really worth sacrificing quantity? 
Quality speaks for itself in that obviously quality food is usually miles better for you health-wise (for example organic foods equal no chemicals!) Better quality clothing usually lasts longer too.

Don’t get me wrong I’m all for supermarkets in some respects; they’re usually local enough. They tend to stock most of what you are looking for. They have a good range of products available. Prices on the whole tend to be dramatically lower than most smaller local shops. Everything you want for your weekly shop is in once place so less hassle than going from shop to shop. It is definitely easier pushing a trolley round one place and being able to check you have everything you came out for, as opposed to carrying several different shopping bags, spilling baking potatoes all over the floor whilst in the butchers scrambling for your purse.

But I have to wonder, what am I sacrificing for convenience? I know my purchases, even the really small ones, have power. I know that buying local would inject desperately needed money into the economy of my village at a shockingly higher rate than shopping at bigger stores does.
When I’m pushing a heavily laden trolley round the supermarket,that’s full of stuff, most of which I probably don’t need but have impulse selected due to me being sucked into the very clever -big shiny advertising campaigns in-store and in the media. A little side of me, the more ethical side to me can’t help but scream out that I am just lacing the pockets of greedy CEO’s and Managing Directors out there by buying into the whole convenience thing.

When you actually stop and think about it, your smaller local shops are always there when….

You run out of milk. There when your other half has the car andyou’ve forgotten something off your shopping list for that all important meal you’re in the middle of preparing, for his boss or your in-laws. There when there’s a petrol strike on and you are conserving what little fuel you do have for actual emergencies. There when the snow has caused havoc and it would be silly to venture out by car. And most importantly there on a Friday night when you have ran out of wine and your nearest and dearest have called round unannounced and are demanding drinkables and snacks.

In a perfect world I would like a good balance between the two. I would like to be able to say that we do most of our shopping in our local village whilst those shops are still here as I feel I can speak for everyone in saying I would hate to see them go and another franchise giant take their place. Thus detracting from our community village feel where we live, to bringing in more crime, traffic and pollution equalling damage to ourenvironment and our doorsteps, this I’m sure none of us want.

On a more positive note; shopping locally reduces your carbon footprint, saves fuel, reduces pollution, helps support your community, injects valuable funds into independent businesses and salvages an ever decreasing relationship between local communities amongst each other and also between the customers and shop owners.

My Grandmother and Great-Grandmother constantly talk about how things used to be when people used to know shop owners by name and knew of them. And how their lives were different as there was much more a sense of knowing your neighbour. In these times surely that is something we should be trying to revive not eradicate! They tell me of how they used be able to go shopping and have proper conversations and recognise the people behind the counter, not just strangers sat behind a till going through the motions bored stiff and just counting the hours until clocking off time arrives. Haven’t you noticed this too? Everyone seems to be in a rush these days treating you like you are an inconvenience and just another number to them.
So hear this plea Supermarket owners please pay your suppliers a fair wage but don’t increase your prices just to get better profits for your CEO’s and MD’s, pay your staff fair wages, they may become friendlier and better people and support local businesses instead of taking away from them, forcing them to increase their prices just to stay afloat. Don’t you men behind desks want clear consciences I ask you?
Since we moved here, I’ve fallen off and on to the Shop-local wagon.
Mostly shopping at store giants, whose stores, which ever towns you find yourself in up and down the country never fail to have a branch there and, guess what? My life’s been easier. I frequent larger chain stores, buy online at the most well-known dot com’s and drive miles out of my way to go to bigger shops where I can buy everything in one place. I make fewer trips for the same items, I find consistency and fully stocked shelves almost every time, and I don’t have to feel guilty when Iwant to return something. Some of these larger stores are doing really great things to make the planet a better place buy supporting ethical projects —things that independent businesses don’t have always have as much wherewithal to accomplish.

However that said I still stand by my more ethical self, Shopping convenience is a contagious condition, you need to watch out before you know where you are there will be no Milk-Men, no Butchers shops, no Grocers, no Bakeries, no Florists, no independent Clothes shops, no Newsagents, no Post Offices, no independent Cafes, no independent Fishmongers, no independent Book stores. Independent retail businesses will be a thing of the past, large corporate giants will be athing of the future!

I hope I am wrong,certainly I do, please join me in my pledge to Shop Local and support our local businesses!

One shop that I do shop locally at is the 'Green Valley Grocer' their prices are far better than our local supermarkets so it just goes to show that smaller shops don't always mean bigger prices! Their produce is second to non, they have fresh bread from the local bakery on sale, their jams are just delicious and their service is worth going in just to chat to them, such friendly and nice people!
Final note:“Something to think about…..

There’sone thing for convenience, you can’t get much more convenient than your local village shops!

 More support for some of our local shops would allow them to compete better with supermarket prices but until we show them more support by shopping locally their prices will remain higher than larger stores just so they can stay afloat.
However not all local shops sell items at higher prices than the supermarkets this can be a common misconception so give shopping local a try you may be pleasently surprised!

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Photo of Marsden/Diggle Moor taken by Me on 27/07/2012

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