Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Best bargain going

You occasionally hear someone say how much they wish there was a Tim Horton’s or a McDonalds here in the Pontiac. We couldn’t disagree more.
Every time you buy anything at a multinational chain, you are sending your money to make shareholders rich somewhere else in the world. Your money is leaving the Pontiac, never to return. And that, in a nutshell, is the reason we should all buy local whenever we can.
Sometimes the goods and services you need are not available locally. That’s certainly not the case when it comes to a good coffee, a snack or a full meal. There are many offerings in the Pontiac available at a variety of prices. If we don’t use them, they will cease to exist.
The same is true of our retailers. Many shoppers like the convenience of browsing the internet from the comfort of their couch, and placing orders that are delivered amazingly quickly and often free of charge. What they are doing is sending their money to Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon, who is liable to use it to go on a multi-million-dollar rocket adventure into near space.
Wouldn’t it be better to spend it here in the Pontiac where it will help keep a local business alive, which keeps our towns vibrant and our municipal tax base in the black, and helps pay the salaries of a few local people who may then choose to stay, raise a family here and contribute to the progress of our community?
Remember what box stores in the suburbs did to Main Streets in small cities and towns across the country? Internet shopping is like that on steroids. Amazon is like a tornado that makes even box stores nervous, whirling across the country, smashing retailers in its path, carrying the debris aloft and dropping it all somewhere in a pile from which an Amazon warehouse is built.
And we couldn’t agree more with the argument advanced by Rev. Mary McDowell Wood in her letter to the editor published in THE EQUITY last week regarding Amazon’s role in fundraising for local charities when Amazon is itself playing such a huge role in hollowing out small communities and creating the need for things such as food banks in the first place.
At the risk of sounding a bit self-serving, it’s the same for newspapers. If you want a local newspaper, then you’ve got to use it. You’ve got to read it. You’ve got to write letters to the editor, not just post comments on social media and enrich the Musks and Zuckerbergs in the process.
Neither Musk nor Zuckerberg is going to go to an evening meeting of your local council or show up at your kid’s graduation to write a story for the paper. Neither is going to care about minority language issues in Quebec or local concerns about a sawmill or an incinerator project. Neither has hired a single person in the Pontiac while businesses like this one have hired hundreds.
Nor is social media bound by the journalistic practices that newspapers adhere to, including balanced and comprehensive coverage which is fundamental to the democratic process. While social media is notorious for being an echo chamber, our job is to ask questions and dig into all facets of an issue in order to spark dialogue and inform decisions that will be made here in our community.
So, if you’ve got information about an upcoming event to share, consider putting an ad in your local newspaper, not just posting it on social media channels. We are all encouraged to buy local. If you want to keep your local newspaper, you need to patronize the businesses that buy local themselves by advertising their goods and services through local media.
The news came out a couple of weeks ago that SADC and the Pontiac Chamber of Commerce were planning a ‘buy local’ outreach campaign. More power to them. We have high confidence that these locally-run organizations will place high priority on getting their message out through locally-owned and operated media, even if we first heard about it on Facebook.
Meanwhile, it is heartening to see Mitch Trudeau ready to give his Quyon restaurant another go. We wish him all the best and hope to be there at 7 a.m. this Friday when he reopens his Clarendon Café. When we support his and all such establishments across the Pontiac, we all stand to profit.
For our money, with the many ways a local restaurant, grocery, clothing or hardware store, shoe shop, hair cutter, automotive garage or newspaper gives back to the community, buying local is the best bargain going.

Charles Dickson


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