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Shopping as a Consumer

A Hostess Cupcake. Public Domain Image by Evan Amos.

I’ll admit that I check the news on a sporadic timetable. One to three times a week and even then, I skim to find articles about business, crafts, good deeds and news about the political climate here in China. When I saw the news about the Hostess Brands closing, I was shocked. I have fond childhood memories of many of the products including the Fruit Pies, Twinkies, Cupcakes, Wonder Bread and more.

I asked my mom to see if she could track down some cupcakes to include in the next box of goodies that she sent me. She scoured all of the local stores and couldn’t find anything. All the shelves had new products on them and no Hostess products were in sight!

While the news has died down about the Hostess Brands closing, I still can’t help thinking about it. Reports have popped up that some other companies may purchase different portions of the big company that had been Hostess Brands, but no definite buyers have stepped forward yet. I’m not sure when, or if, these products will return to the shelves but it has me thinking about shopping as a consumer.

As a consumer I shop for a variety of things, food, clothes, hobby supplies, and entertainment, along with other things. When I was a teenager, my mom told me about a rule she called “The 3/50 Project”. The rule is simple, choose 3 independent businesses that you want to support and spend $50 with that business once a month. After thinking about the rule I asked her, “What if you can’t afford to spend so much money?”

She looked at me and said, “Then you should spend what you can. Buy local produce or baked goods instead of shopping at a big chain grocery store. Buy gifts throughout the year to give away for birthdays or holidays. Buy from small, local businesses rather than big, national stores.”

We continued to talk about shopping with local or small businesses and how that it was a great way to support local economies. Even supporting small businesses that were not in our own town or state was good because we want those businesses to stick around. Some of those businesses offer unique goods and services, some offer tons of technical help, some offered a boost for our funny bone. Thanks to my mom and her lesson, I try to help support small businesses that are unique and locally helpful. I feel more community empowered when I do so.

I would like to challenge all of you to try to support 1 local business that means a lot to you during this holiday season and then share with us! I would love to hear about the businesses you support!

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