Spending wisely

How you spend your gift-giving dollars can make a big difference

There’s a big new billboard on the corner of The Esplanade and East Avenue urging holiday shoppers to “Shop Fair Trade.” It’s a reminder that how we spend our gift-buying dollars has ramifications that go far beyond the commodities we purchase or the bargains we receive.

When you purchase a product that carries the international Fair Trade Certified label, whether it’s a pound of coffee from Guatemala or a blouse from Cambodia, you can be confident that it has been produced in an environmentally sensitive way under safe working conditions and that the people who produced it received fair wages. By purchasing fair-trade products, you contribute to improving living conditions in some of the world’s poorest countries. (For a complete list of local participants, go to the Chico Peace and Justice Center’s website at chico-peace.org.)

We also encourage readers to shop at locally owned stores. A dollar spent there is worth more than a dollar spent at a corporate-owned chain store. Yes, the latter provide jobs, and that’s good, but most of the money they take in moves into bank accounts in other states, to be spent in wholesale markets and on corporate salaries. Much of a dollar spent locally, in contrast, stays local, recirculating in the community several times over.

Finally, we want to put in a plug for the CN&R’s advertisers. Most are locally owned businesses, and their confidence in our ability to reach potential customers and clients is what keeps this publication thriving and allows us to offer it to readers at no cost. As you read this issue, notice the variety and quality of the businesses advertising in it. We’re proud to carry their messages and hope you support them. (And it wouldn’t hurt to tell them you saw their ad in the CN&R …)