I’ve discovered that while going local requires a little extra detective work at this stage, it’s much less stressful. Hear me out.
When we are in need of something, say dog food, I have limited options. Limited options means less stress. I don’t have to consider which store has a better price or a sale. I don't have to locate the store coupon which is always expired or not valid because of the small print I can't read without my glasses. I don't have to worry whether I’ll get a better deal on dog food at one store versus the other. I don’t have to figure out which store might be most convenient for my day’s kid-chauffeuring schedule. There is no stress created by the possibility of making the wrong choice. In fact I don’t have to make a decision at all about where to go. Plus, there’s no danger that I’ll go to Wal-Mart and wind up buying a cart full of things I don’t really need now, but might need sometime in the next month.
Since I’ve committed to buying locally, I know the best place to buy dog food is at the locally owned pet store where I know the owner and can stop and have a chat with the groomer who is one of my favorite people in town. I might even throw the dogs in the back seat and bring them along for their pedicure. Instead of it being a chore, which going to Wal-Mart or Giant or Tractor Supply or wherever I decided to get the dog food would be, it’s now a visit. Much less stressful.
The dilemmas this week revolve around the children. Don’t they always? First up, prescription medicine from last week’s doctor’s visit.
My cursory search for a locally owned pharmacy turned up blank. If you Google “independently owned pharmacy in York PA” it contains only five entries. This is a rare instance for Google. The first listing is a pharmacy in Gettysburg. The others listed are not independently owned, except the one listing for Maryland. Seems the pharmacy of my youth where the pharmacist knew your name and even which color lollipop you liked, is gone.
At first I thought I would have to travel to Gettysburg (45 minutes away) to fill the prescription. My husband justly complained. However, it so happens that I was headed to Gettysburg this weekend anyway for a conference, so it would be convenient. I promised him I wouldn’t go to Gettysburg for all our prescriptions, just this once.
But alas my husband's worries were put to rest because while taxiing my boys to an activity this week, I passed Minnich’s pharmacy. I’d never noticed it before. It’s locally owned, bright and clean and open until 9pm! The pharmacist even came out and talked to me personally. He apologized for not having the particular medicine I was looking for and assured me he could have it by noon the next day.
Well, first I have to say how refreshing to have someone check BEFORE you’ve waited thirty minutes to see if they have something in stock. And second, how nice they care that I have to wait a day. I’ve had pharmacy experiences where after I've cooled my heels waiting 45 minutes for them to not call my name, the beseiged checkout clerk informed me that they don’t carry the meds in question. "No worries," I told the nice pharmacist. I’d be back this way next week and could pick it up then.
I’m guessing that service is the reason Minnich’s is the last one standing amongst York’s independent pharmacies. Driving a few extra miles is much better than waiting in line at the Wal-Mart pharmacy before spending thirty minutes buying things I don't need and being annoyed by the sheer fact of Wal-Mart. Sure, I appreciate that Wal-Mart is convenient, but it feels good to know it’s not my only option.
On Tuesday a birthday party invitation arrived for my ten-year-old. He danced around happily when he saw it was laser tag, and then announced “I want to go to Wal-Mart to get Michael a glow-in-the-dark Nerf basketball set!” Problem. Very gently I reminded him that we don't go to Wal-Mart anymore. “I’ll just find a toy store in York and we’ll go next week,” I promised him.
Well, here’s hoping someone builds one by next week. No toy stores. Like so many other small businesses, the mega-stores have put every small toy store out of business. There were a few niche shops for comics, hobbies, and gaming, but no store that would carry Nerf. After lengthy searches (Google failed me again), I finally found an obscure sounding toy store near the mall that has no web presence. I have to meet my mom at the mall this week to climb through another loophole on my buy local manifesto (more on that next week) so I shall journey forth and let you know what I find. Here’s hoping they have Nerf. I figure my out is to give the kid cash so he can go buy it himself, but that feels like a cop out.
And if that weren’t enough my daughter announced that she was auditioning for the Talent Show and if she made it, could she please, please, please have a new dress to wear? And could it not be from Goodwill? Well, my sweet little cherub, local clothing I can do. I proceeded to tell her about the independently owned stores in York City that carried dresses. I even mentioned the cool vintage clothing store that her cousin from New York thought was so awesome. She doubts me, but I got this one.
I can see that having fewer options when it comes to shopping for clothing for my daughter could be another instance where Buying Local reduces my stress. The clothes might cost me a little more, but the reduction in hours spent in changing rooms at Gabriel Brothers, Kohls, Target, Bon-Ton, Charlotte Russe, etc., will more than make up for it.