Stick it to the bigs

Once again, we’ve done it. Floated past Thanksgiving and smacked face first into what has now become universally accepted as Black Friday (which still strikes me as a fairly bizarre nickname for a day that doesn’t involve large numbers of corpses or an epic economic meltdown of some sort). I celebrated Black Friday in my usual snotty fashion—by not even buying a stick of gum. In doing so, I realize that I missed out entirely on whatever joys there are in crazed, slobbering shopping with my virus-spewing neighbors on the day after Thanksgiving. I often wonder what those joys might be like and if they’re anywhere near as good as the joys I experience while shopping every Dec. 23.

Once again, the messages to consume crackle throughout the media—a media, it shouldn’t be forgotten, that is salivating at this very moment at the thought of its own financial bonanza being generated this holiday shopping season. As usual, those messages are dominated by the Huge and the Corporate, messages designed to get you mostly into the Big stores, the Big malls, and let us not forget the Big Internet. It’s the time of year when The Big make their move in hopes of racking up some truly juicy sugar plums to feed their accounting departments by Dec. 31.

That’s all swell and dandy. That’s the way things are, and the way things have become here in the modern age. So be it. But here in my little space, I like to, every once in a while, go all 1955 on you. That is to say, get all retro, nostalgic, sentimental, maudlin and just downright old-fashioned on you, and, in this instance, that would take the shape of a corny but heartfelt reminder to please not forget the little guys out there this holiday shopping season. You know who they are. You know where they are. If not, please take the time to do so. They, too, could really use your help in the next three weeks, perhaps even more so than their larger cousins in the economic jungle. Yes, it will take a little effort to go out of your way to get to that little shop that isn’t in a mighty mall. Yes, you’ll probably spend a bit more to get that item that you could no doubt get for less online. But … well, you know.

It is said that every time you spend a buck, you’re making a political statement of some kind. No matter how apolitical you think you are or how apolitical you want to be, it’s completely unavoidable. Whether you shop exclusively at Walmart, or exclusively at Greenie’s Algae, Hemp and Dreadlock Mart, you’re making a statement, whether you like it or not, whether you want to or not.

So here’s hoping you remember to include some hard-workin’ locals in your shopping mix this month.