This week’s cover story is a keep-it-local holiday gift guide (see “Under wraps,”). We publish something similar every year. It’s not simply a matter of convenience. We don’t just shop local because some of us don’t have fully functional cars. Shopping local is a core value. We like to keep our money in this community and pass it along to our friends and neighbors. We don’t want to just send our money off to the internet where it can be gobbled up by some billionaire who doesn’t pay overtime to his warehouse workers.
We like to support businesses where we know and like the owners. And this actually cuts both ways: There are businesses in town that some of us avoid just because we think the owner is a fathead. But it’s nice to make those decisions based on actual human experience. We know the dude sucks, because we know the dude, and he sucks. (Or “she"—we’re using the term “dude” in its contemporary genderless form.) He was rude and snobby or whatever, so we take our money elsewhere.
According to the U.S. Supreme Court, money is speech. We like to know that our speeches are heard by people who listen. We like to know that our money supports local families. So, buy local products from local stores. Dine out at locally-owned restaurants that use locally sourced ingredients. Support local artists. Buy works by local painters and give them to your friends. Go see the local theatrical productions. Check out local bands and buy their merch. Hire local plumbers, carpet cleaners, photographers and exterminators.
Some of this might be old hat to readers who have ever read this newspaper before or listened to a Dead Kennedys album, or whatever. But even if it’s old news, it still bears repeating: Buy local. Buy local. Buy local.
And, of course, we have a vested interest in this, because we have a vested interest in this community. We try to tell stories of this community. Cutting against the ever-expanding world wide web, we tell local stories. Reno. Sparks. Carson City. Truckee. Lake Tahoe. Nevada.
And here’s the ongoing story of this community right now: People are struggling. Rents are rising. Costs of living are skyrocketing. More money is going out than is coming in. Checkbooks are tilting against balance. If you have money to spend on knick-knacks and paddywhacks, spend it here. We all need it.