more on buy local

One of the commentors (Sabbath?) mentioned it being really more of buying small vs buying big, and that is perhaps a much better way to think of it.

Sabbath also asked what other local services I like, and I said we dont’ use many services. But I guess we use more than I realized, as I thought of it.

Healthcare is a service. Our family doctor is actually a “big” doctor in a sense, he works at Mercy North. His office used to be small and independent (he owned it, his wife was the office manager) and somewhere along the line, he allowed his office to become part of the Mercy system. They were able to offer better, more thorough care to their patients that way, though it came with drawbacks, too, which are evident in the ways the office has changed over the, um, over 20 years I’ve been going there. (yikes)

But we get most of our healthcare from smaller, generally women-owned businesses. Dr. Heather for chiro, Abby Miller for acupuncture.

Insurance is sort of a product, sort of a service. We use American National, which is actually NOT an Iowa company. But our agent is a woman we knew from back before Randy was an insurance agent, and she provides excellent service. She’s in contact regularly, and any time I’ve had a claim, she has handled it herself. The one time a payment was late, they called to make sure we knew we had a payment due, etc. (as it turns out, we were on vacation, and I had neglected to set the payment out in the mailbox before we left, yikes.)

That’s really it, I think. We don’t dry clean. We don’t use house cleaners, or yard service, or bug service.

But I do agree in buying SMALL. I guess I neglected to take my thought process there, but my buying hierarchy is that I prefer to buy:

1. things made by people, sold by people. (Etsy, Wallypop, Prairieland Herbs, etc.) Higher priority placed on local people.

2. things made by people, sold by companies. (like Whole Foods is a company, Prairieland Herbs is a person. we’re using the Sarah Dictionary here.) Higher priority placed on local companies.

3. things made by  companies, sold by people. (um, Bummis diapers sold by Stork Wearhouse)

4. Things made by companies, sold by companies

And a fair amount of our shopping is based on convenience, too. I’ll admit that. And on price. I’ve talked extensively about that before on here. I will not buy something at the Metro Market (or whatever it’s called now) that I can buy for half the price at Dahl’s or Target. I will pay more for superior products at Gateway Market (that’s it, right?), though.

We buy many items from Walmart or Target – like Rubbermaid bins are my standard example. I could probably dig them up at a locally owned store (like a hardware store maybe) but I’m not going to. First, they’ll be more expensive. Second, I waste gas making a special trip. Third, I’m unwilling to do the load/unload in the car thing an extra time.

Also on the price thing, when I can’t find clothes for the kids (or me) at garage sales, secondhand stores, or thru friends, we hit the Target sale racks. Mass produced clothes, you bet. Big chain store, you bet. Cheap? You bet.

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