Doing business the old-fashioned way

Posted By | May 5, 2008 12:00 am

Whatever happened to shopping at home? Have we forgotten the one basic rule of supporting our community?
I suppose this has been a topic of great concern to me for quite a long time. What possesses a White Countian to go outside this community and purchase the very same items he or she could find within the boundaries of Sparta?
One of the first answers I would probably get from one of these individuals would be, “Well, it’s cheaper.” Cheaper? Just how much cheaper is it? Are we talking about hundreds of dollars, or are we talking about just a couple of bucks?
The Internet has also become a monster, of sorts, when it comes to shopping. People are migrating to the on-line sales like a flock of sheep. They don’t stop to think those dollars are being sent to God only knows where – sometimes even out-of-country. Not one single dime of that money will benefit White County – no tax dollars – nothing! And by the time you pay shipping costs, how much have you really saved? Are those few dollars worth the possible demise of the businesses in your own community?
Well, believe me, I certainly understand how important it is to save a few dollars. As a single mother for more than a decade, I had to rely on every bargain I could find. And, now, as a 52-year-old grandmother, I am still very careful with every penny I spend.
I guess this is my point. Have we become so accustomed to the “big city” mentality that we feel we must travel outside our county boundaries to find everything we purchase?
Now, here is the exception to the rule, and several White County business owners have stated they understand this concept. “If you can’t find it here in White County, then you must go somewhere else.” I don’t think there is one single business owner who would argue over that concept. It’s a no-brainer.
As for those who live in White County and work in another county, I can certainly relate to your situation. I, too, worked out-of-county for a few years. However, I made sure I purchased my gas and groceries in White County, and I took my lunch most of the time. However, there are times when a person is working out-of-town when he or she won’t be able to brown-bag. That is understandable. But that person can still purchase everything possible in White County.
The next reply might come from some of the individuals who say, “It’s my money. I can spend it where I want to.” And that’s a valid point. However, there’s one word in the English language that surpasses the context of this statement. That word is “loyalty.” Are you not proud of the place where you live? Do you not want to see it prosper and grow, or is it just a place where you reside?
You can live in White County more economically than you can in several of the nearby counties – property taxes are lower, the cost of living is less inflated and real estate is not nearly as expensive. If you are one of those individuals who merely live here for the financial benefits provided by White County and you’re not putting anything back into your community, then maybe you should consider moving elsewhere. Sorry, that’s just an honest observation. I suppose this statement was inspired by the countless number of volunteers I meet on a daily basis who have moved to White County from other states. They are loyal to their new-found home. Why can’t we do the same?
We have become our own worst enemies. As residents of this community, we must lead the way in preserving what we already have and rebuilding what has been neglected.     
The next step is to let our voices be heard in the city and county governments. Purchasing should be made at the local level, if those supplies and equipment can be found within White County. Everything from office supplies to vehicles should be purchased from White County business owners who are working and paying taxes in our community. The first reply to this would most likely be, “We’re trying to save the taxpayers some money.” That could be a logical explanation if not for the fact the money spent outside White County will never benefit White Countians – no tax dollars, nothing. That is money, in essence, that is taken directly out of the pockets of the taxpayers of White County to benefit some other county’s taxpayers.    
And we should expect the same loyalty from our elected officials. If we put them in office to support the best interests of the people of Sparta and White County, then they should lead by example.
What do you think? You can express your opinion by writing a “Letter to the Editor.” The letter can be mailed to 34 West Bockman Way, dropped off at The Expositor, or e-mailed to kim@myspartanews.com.
If you are a lifelong resident of Sparta, just like me, then all you have to do is remember how the downtown area looked many years ago. Then take a long hard look at the east end of town and ask one simple question, “What happened?”

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