« Tacoma Does Deserve Economic Development | Main | In Random Michael Jackson News »

March 12, 2008

The Go Local Slippery Slope

With all the "Go Local" talk lately, I've been giving the idea a lot of thought. No one can argue that supporting your local businesses is good for your neighborhood, your community, and your city. It supports local commerce, encourages further economic growth and development, and it makes you feel good.

In some circles, it appears that "Going Local" has become more of a clique or a status symbol (some might even say a fetish) instead of something people do as part of their daily lives. When did we forget that "Going Local" is part of living? And who made the rules so freakin' strict?

In the course of living one's life it's desirable to incorporate going local into daily activities. Stop by local stores. Eat at local restaurants. Buy local art. But should you need to go to a big box store to get an item, do not be ashamed. If you need to enter the Tacoma Mall to find clothing, do not feel the need to flagellate yourself upon the trunk of your car directly afterwards.

I believe a good philosophy to follow when it comes to going local is "Do Your Best" (but don't beat up on people when they don't - or can't - go local all the time). As a vegetarian I followed this axiom for years and found it suited me well. Not sure that soup is 100% vegetarian? But the restaurant thinks it is - do your best!

There are a few specific points that come to mind that can make "Going Local" especially difficult:

-- TIME: Please show me the person who has time to run errands to all the different places that one trip to Target can fulfill? Show me the local store that carries toilet paper, hair care products, cat litter, electronics, gardening supplies, storage containers, razor blades, light bulbs, greeting cards, underwear, Vitamin Water, and detergent. All of which were on my shopping list the other day.

-- MONEY: Price is a factor for many people. It's been pointed out over and over that big box stores undercut local businesses when it comes to price. I hate WalMart as much as the next good liberal, but that doesn't change the fact that people have a need for cheap goods.

-- ACCESS: Accessibility can be an issue for those who work odd hours or weekends. Locally-owned businesses that close at 5 PM or on Sundays can be difficult to shop for many people. I know I've been thwarted more than once when trying to hit up a downtown location or local restaurant on a Sunday.

In the past few weeks while attending the Go Local or Die event and reading all the "Go Local" campaigning I've been ashamed to admit that I work for a large company. I shouldn't be as Bob's Hogs, while we've had our differences, is a pretty good company to work for. I've been with them for almost eleven years. When Frinklin and I decided to move to the Pacific Northwest they created a position for me where there was none. I'm proud of the hard work I've put in to reach the position I have and I shouldn't have to hide that fact.

So this is a coming out of sorts. I'm admitting that I work for a Fortune 500 company that has several locations all over the Puget Sound. While I enjoy shopping locally, I also will hit up the Tacoma Mall from time to time as I don't see many Tacoma clothing shops that carry a variety of clothing that cater to women who wear anything over a size 14. You can typically find Frinklin and I eating dinner in one of many locally owned eating establishments, often joined by friends. But occasionally we'll feel the need to hit up Carl's Jr. or Panda Express.

Lets be realistic and inclusive with our "Go Local" campaign going forward instead of making lists and shutting people out who may have reasons for spending their dollars outside of local businesses. If I feel uncomfortable talking about what I do for a living because it's not local enough, I'm sure there are plenty of other people who aren't bloggers who feel exactly the same.

Posted by Ensie at March 12, 2008 12:00 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Go Local Slippery Slope:



I agree with you 100%; I think "doing the best you can" is as good as it gets whether it's trying to live a greener existence, trying to lead a more healthy lifestyle, or trying to parent a kid-- we're all human. Myself, I try to use indies & local establishments as much as I can, but I'm a huge Fred Meyer fan, have been known to purchase basic clothing items at the Gap, shoes and makeup at Nordstrom, and kid's clothes at a variety of mall places-- and Target-- from time to time. I find I have to work to get the best balance for our budget and our lifestyle, and I do the best I can.

Posted by: jcbetty at March 12, 2008 11:51 AM

I agree, completely. I don't know why "Go Local" campaigning has been turned into something by some folks as a "Go Local Exclusively" campaign. As you suggested, that approach is bound to generate guilt, frustration and a sense of exclusion, among other things. And that's not what's going to inspire pride amongst the masses for making local choices. Taking a tip from various recycling campaigns around the nation, the "every little bit helps" goes a long way. And I'd be willing to bet that the messaging that results in adding a little bit more local-conscious shopping to everyone's routine will yield far better results for local businesses than setting some kind of "local exclusivity" goal that only a small number of this area's demographic can realistically attain.

Posted by: Cassioposa at March 12, 2008 12:06 PM

There is, as with anything, a balance to be struck between cost, convenience, and other social and ethical considerations (and I say ethical here in the personal sense... as in if you choose to go local, that is your personal ethic, rather than suggesting that not doing so is broadly unethical).

Stadium Thriftway, for example, shows that balance for me: I go there because the location is convenient, and I'd rather support a local shop, but I trade off for a smaller selection and higher prices. Or, to take an example of personal investment, I make a point to buy all my comics at Comic Book Ink. The fact is, it's the farthest away Tacoma option I could choose, but I like to support it. BUT I've never been of the mindset that I must not support the competition if I can't support them, which seems to be the demand of some Go Local folks. There are comics that I can't find at CBI that I will go to Borders for. There are products that I can't find at Stadium that I will go to Fred Meyer for.

Despite Mr. Blue's recent declaration, there really are products that no local store carries, nor should they be expected to, either because the product is not local and shipping costs are prohibitive to non-national companies, or simply because of store size.

All the people insisting that local is the only way to live remind me of that couple up in Canada who decided to live entirely off of food grown within a 100 mile radius (or something like that) for a year. Right up until they discovered that they couldn't eat anything with sugar in it.

Posted by: Joe Izenman at March 12, 2008 12:37 PM

I love the story about the Canadian couple.

Posted by: ensie at March 12, 2008 12:58 PM

Leave it to my brilliant and pragmatic wife to inject a small dose of sanity into this. Again, we support local business to the best of our ability, but not to the detriment our own lives.

Besides, what local store carries absurdly overpriced Dolce and Gabbana handbags?

Posted by: frinklin at March 12, 2008 01:10 PM

Oh yeah. That's me. Pragmatic. Ask them at the Volcano how pragmatic I am.

And let me note - Nordstrom is local to the Pacific Northwest.

Posted by: ensie at March 12, 2008 01:13 PM

Well said! I keep thinking I have paid a price for not putting some sort of big clobber you over the head Go Local notice of some sort on my site indicating that it is, in fact, all about local things, but then I think

a) If you actually read it regularly you have to be a dumbass not to notice that
b) If you don't read it because it says mama or some such stupid thing, I don't think you're going to notice it anyway
c) It would only look preachy and alienate people.
d) everything you said. Lord knows I spend some time in Target.

Posted by: Jen at March 12, 2008 01:50 PM

Ur, that is, not referencing the "Go Local" campaign specifically, I didn't mean to be bashing that, more the idea of branding my site as all about that.

Posted by: Jen at March 12, 2008 01:51 PM

Guilt is not the catalyst that should be used for going local - I agree!

I'd also say that buying locally or even what we individually get out of going local is only part of the whole idea behind going local. Unhealthy relationship with the middle east, pollution, minorities having a political voice, and social disconnection that psychologists are saying is leading to epidemic levels of anxiety and depression are just a few issues that going local lies at the center of a solution for.

If we were going to talk about what we get out of it individually, or purely economically, we could start with the greater life that comes from living in a holistic community instead of the craziness that spreads us out over ten different ones with lots of different groups who only know us a little bit. Also, with China and India developing a middle class that has the potential to be eight times the size of ours, we are only seeing the beginning of the likely economic shift in this country. Wood and most raw resources going up as much as quadruple in two years is nothing compared to what could happen if we still live in a system that is based upon cars and we are reaching peak oil like many experts say. Add China and India's middle class modeling ours and oil can become a much more scarce resource. Practicing things like import substitution may be the only way to simultaneously bring growth to our local economy and invest in a locally sustainable system, because our current American economic model is not sustainable. The writing is on the wall.

So while going local might eventually challenge what we think is truly valuable in life I think it will be worth it. I'd gladly trade more random stuff for less quality, truly necessary items that I know my neighbor made and I can see him as I walk by on my way to work. Eventually going local will have to be more like being local. I just hope we choose it.

Posted by: Justin at March 12, 2008 02:06 PM

Lets be realistic and inclusive with our "Go Local" campaign going forward instead of making lists and shutting people out who may have reasons for spending their dollars outside of local businesses. If I feel uncomfortable talking about what I do for a living because it's not local enough, I'm sure there are plenty of other people who aren't bloggers who feel exactly the same.

Don't feel bad about working for a large company.

I have always been uncomfortable with "buy local" campaigns because it has made the issue being one sympathy buys for inferior products and services that are better and cheaper elsewhere.

The do gooder guilt ridden "buy local" campaigns have some flaws in them.

They are also unsustainable because people will not act on such a motivation very consistently or for very long. How ofetn is someone going to buy a $8 candle they don't need?

I am trying to look at "going local" the same way one puts oil in their car: for self interested reasons not because they feel bad for the car.

If you don't put oil in your car, it blows up. If the "go local" campaigns can configure themselves so that it won't have to be based on guilt any longer but rather one of self preservation and larger visions of self and community interests.

Here's my latest reason to "go local": I am too busy to take the time to "march against crime" in my neighborhood from bizarre behavior in the parks and commercial areas.

It is far more cost and time efficient for me to support the businesses in my neighborhoods so they stay alive and keep the area in check than me having to put dozens of hours in block watches.

That does not mean I wouldn't attend a block watch if pressed or if necessary. Sometimes that may be required.

But really, I would like my neighborhood and city to have enough stability so that it is not necessary.

Posted by: Erik at March 12, 2008 03:35 PM

"...Show me the local store that carries toilet paper, hair care products, cat litter, electronics, gardening supplies, storage containers, razor blades, light bulbs, greeting cards, underwear, Vitamin Water, and detergent..."

I can give you 2 options, if you like.
1) Thriftway (Based in Tukwilla)
2) TOP/Haggen (Based in Bellingham)

Also on the List is Fred Meyer (originally out of Oregon). Even though they're owned by Kroger, I think we can pull the "best you can" card on them

Posted by: Cromletch at March 12, 2008 04:45 PM

Why all this talk about "Exclusivity" and guilt. No one should feel bad about working for a large company, and I love Target as much as the next girl. Sometimes shopping at a large store just makes financial sense. The whole reason this campaign was centered around "Go" instead of "Buy" was for the very reason of avoiding the pitiful plee of "Buy from me instead of a large corp." There needs to be a balance between small business, large corp.'s, non-profits, and government agencies. None of us should be extremists. It is important for us all to co-exist. "Going Local" is more about the connectivity of a community, and the gifts you receive by being AWAKE to what your community has to offer. Sustaining that community by keeping as much of our dollar and resources in it, just makes for a better more rich existence. Decreasing our carbon footprint at the same time as fostering new relationships, is a Win-Win. Nobody is trying to polarize anyone else by "Going Local". the fact that there are so many misconceptions and misinterpretations tells me that "Go Local" is doing it's job of creating awareness. If it wasn't so interesting and challenging, we wouldn't be discussing it so aggressively.

Posted by: Daymaker at March 12, 2008 08:51 PM

Thanks Daymaker. I know who you are in real life, and I think you're right. The message that you are spreading is a good one, it's that some people have taken your message and run with it in a different direction - that of exclusivity and one-upsmanship. I'm tired of it, and that's what I'm speaking up about.

Posted by: ensie at March 13, 2008 07:15 AM

yeah i felt immediate regret for using the term "go local" in my above comment, which made it sound like I was talking about your campaign, which I'm not! But there's no edit button.

This is about a blogger pissing match, really, that kinda cheapens what you're trying to do.

Posted by: jen at March 13, 2008 08:00 AM

Sometimes words get minced. I also know the person who started the list, and know that there was no intentional malice. Please just everyone put down the rocks and add to the list. It gives us more to enjoy. If you're not on the list, then someone hasn't experienced you yet. Let's change that!!!!!
I'm an only child, so i don't have a lot of baggage about being "left out" I was always "out".
I've just learned to fight real hard to be "in".
"Go Local" /"Grow Local"

Posted by: daymaker at March 13, 2008 08:12 AM

No. I refuse to add to any sort of insider list that leaves anyone on the outside for not living up to some imaginary standard. Regardless of the initial intention. What the hell is the point of making a list if there aren't people/businesses/things that are on and off the list?

Out of curiosity, how would I and the Fortune 500 company I work for be welcomed to the list, as it is clearly a place for small businesses?

And my post isn't just referring to the list, as there are other people in the community who have taken the "Go Local" campaign and are using it to shame those who may buy from larger organizations.

"But, because they had stars, all the Star-Belly Sneetches
Would brag, 'We're the best kind of Sneetch on the beaches.'
With their snoots in the air, they would sniff and they'd snort
'We'll have nothing to do with the Plain-Belly sort!'
And whenever they met some, when they were out walking,
They'd hike right on past them without even talking."

--Dr. Seuss
Exerpted from "The Sneetches and Other Stories"

Posted by: ensie at March 13, 2008 01:39 PM

Add to the list? I hate the idea of a list. I'd like to burn the list down. The list is inherently exclusionary and that's what irritates me and many others.

Posted by: frinklin at March 13, 2008 03:20 PM

I won't list it, I'll live it. I'll live real, I'll try to live in balance. Rather than write about a local business, or give it props (which I will do from time to time, but not every time) I'll nip in, chat, spend, and do my business *on a daily basis.*

I think , what I find insulting (and not guilt-inducing, actually) is the list-making premise that seems to say, "this is what I'm doing, you should do the same."

We don't all live downtown. We don't all live the same lifestyle. We don't all frequent the same version of "local." My local might be embarrassingly un-hipster, compared to someone else's. And I'm FINE with that, and...to a degree, loathe to share my world with the hipster masses who would mock it.

For me, there's enough to balance without having to worry about creating a list and have others judge it. It's not about throwing stones, to me, it's not about *not* giving props to those who deserve it. It's about balance, and life, and just doing the best I can do.

Posted by: jcbetty at March 13, 2008 10:26 PM

Daymaker: You so totally made my day.

Sigh. And you remind me that I'm way overdue for a visit to your shop ...

Posted by: tacomachickadee at March 14, 2008 07:08 PM

Why just because someone lives downtown and wants to give props to it's local homies, are some of you so desperately defensive. "Going Local" is not just about downtown, It's about activating wherever you deem local to be, and within whatever lifestyle you chose to have. It's an act of engagement and celebration. I'm sorry that lists make some of you feel so excluded, guilty,or insulted. Maybe you should seek a local therapist about it. I went back to DB's original post to get a handle on how all this started. I am now even more confused, because what I read was a statement about nurturing the relationships with people and businesses he trusted, while questioning his own ability to really know what or who to trust, but having the faith that he is right. He also allowed himself the possibility of being open to trust things and people he hadn't yet allowed himself to trust (sounds pretty open minded and inclusive to me). In closing he seemed to invite you, and the rest of the local public to share your opinion on local assets and social capital that you find value in. It really saddens me that such a great little town can stir up so much ridiculous animosity within itself. I hope this thread ends soon, cause I'm embarrassed. Tacoma (Like Rome) wasn't loved because she was beautiful, she was beautiful because she was loved. I'm going to chose to believe that all of this passion (even if negative) is truly deep down because we love Tacoma, we just have different ways of showing it.

Posted by: daymaker at March 14, 2008 11:10 PM

Allright. I give. As I feel like I've done so often lately. I'm not making any Goddamn lists. But I'm not arguing anymore.

Daymaker - You may be absolutely right. And I'm already in therapy. So maybe I'll come to terms with all of this someday. And either way, I don't want to make any sort of enemy of you. Embellish kicks ass, I get my hair done there, and I admire what you've created and the work you do in the community.


Posted by: ensie at March 15, 2008 12:31 AM

I will stand next to Ensie happily as a non-listmaker. But I don't wish to make enemies, either, especially of people that should be friends!

Not when I need a hair cut, for sure.

Posted by: Jen at March 15, 2008 08:38 AM

well, I am genuinely sorry if I took things in a different spirit than they were originally intended and appeared "desperately defensive" as well as "insulted, guilty, and excluded."--(and yes, I was in therapy, which is probably how I felt strong enough to come forward with my own honest opinion based on intuition that I feel compelled to follow.)

Thing is, I've had a reasonably long-term run of "going local" and I have, actually, been told, "oh, no, you shouldn't enjoy *that* restaurant," and, "why do you get your hair done there?" "why do you get coffee there? You should go there," --as well as a host of other comments challenging my taste in doing what I do as I do it, where I do it. These comments can run the gamut, from from my choice in gyms to parenting and daycare choices to lifestyle choices, so it's not just a go local thing, as I've experienced it. There's a certain inner-circle-ness about our fine city that I think can sometimes feel off-putting; as a pretty rah rah Tacoma individual, myself, I've seen some of the different ways this tight-knit community can, in the spirit of "embrace" actually "exclude."

I have absolutely no issues with the message or the messengers, I just, in this particular instance, choose not to be a list-making joiner. (and yet, I appreciate that the dialogue that has transpired has been thought provoking, and isn't having thoughts provoked, and keeping an open mind, a good thing?)

Posted by: jcbetty at March 15, 2008 01:19 PM

Jen, Ensie, and jcbetty, IT SURE MAKES ME PROUD TO BE A FELLOW TACOMAN WITH YOU. I had no idea this would end up in a verbal acknowledgement to each other that respect and even fondness is possible regardless of views. Thank you for renewing my faith in "Girl Power". you gals rock! i am also glad to hear that you frequent embellish. good thing you decided to forgive me I would hate to lose you as clients. I just started this whole blog thing when this conversation started, so I am (or was not) even sure who any of you were. It may sound woo woo, but i feel like we can co-exist even if we don't see eye to eye. I'd love to have lunch with you gals sometime. Maybe Quickie too for a crazy Jamaican and herbe' matte? i promise i won't ask any of you to make any lists. Deal?

Posted by: daymaker at March 15, 2008 05:33 PM

Oh and invite tacoma chickadee!

Posted by: daymaker at March 15, 2008 05:39 PM

I'm game! maybe a Quickie too-go before a park take-over? or just a good convo...because girl power is good power.

Posted by: jcbetty at March 15, 2008 08:20 PM


Thanks much. We can definitely share the same blogosphere and the same city, even if we don't share the same viewpoint. And seeing us argue this thing out really does just show how passionate we all are about where we live (which I think you may have pointed out earlier).

Jen, jcbetty, Tacomachickadee, Cassioposa (Kevin Freitas' wife - she left a comment early on) and myself make up the Council of Loudmouth Women, which meets once a week for friendship, wine, and America's Next Top Model. I think I speak for all of us when I say we'd be honored to have you as a guest member for a luncheon in the near future.

jcbetty recommended before a park takeover might be a good time to do so. I know she'll be out of town next Friday, but possibly the one after that?

Posted by: ensie at March 16, 2008 12:25 AM

Thanks girls. I would be open to hosting a girls night at the building in our Theater too. You pick the flick, and I'll make the popcorn.

Posted by: daymaker at March 16, 2008 12:04 PM

You guys have a theater in there too?!?!?! That purple building is amazing ... All I can say is your daymaker term is way WAY appropriate!

Posted by: tacomachickadee at March 16, 2008 07:34 PM

Thanks so much Daymaker!

I had no idea you had a theater in there! We'll definitely have to schedule something!

Posted by: ensie at March 17, 2008 07:58 PM

Call me girls. I may not get back to this thread, or others in the near future, and I'd hate to lose this momentum. Let's get it on the calendar. 576.4006
I'll also be at the park Friday.

Posted by: daymaker at March 17, 2008 09:48 PM

won't be at the park (will be in a sunny netherworld), BUT would like to be a part of future conversations, wherever they may be.

y'all know how to get me...

Posted by: jcbetty at March 18, 2008 06:18 PM

Call me, I don't know who you are.

Posted by: daymaker at March 19, 2008 11:58 AM

Daymaker ... We'll introduce ourselves to you Friday if you can make it to Frost Park ... Or I'll be at the purple tower at 10 am Saturday for a long overdue hairchop! :)

Posted by: tacomachickadee at March 19, 2008 10:21 PM

Hey girls are we on for Juno Wed the 7th??????

Posted by: daymaker at May 5, 2008 07:11 PM

Somebody essentially lend a hand to make severely articles I might state. That is the first time I frequented your website page and to this point? I amazed with the research you made to make this particular submit amazing. Wonderful task!

Posted by: Reuben Harnois at December 2, 2011 12:35 PM

Well, personally, i think you are confused, you cannot "merge isoz". You need to download winrar, it is a free program and is very powerful. You will need it to merge the parts.. first, make sure all of the parts are in the same directory/folder. To make this easier, just place them all on the desktop.. Once you install it, you open up part 1 and click extract, it will automatically join them together.. Now extract until you reach a .iso or a .cso game. Enjoy

Posted by: psp game at December 3, 2011 04:12 PM

i was sooo just qualified to sing this song! ^_^

Posted by: Counter Strike at December 16, 2011 12:50 PM

I really like to chat with horny shemale and you simply? When you too, this is the very best area for your needs for these days. Horny ts who'll do anything to make you content!

Posted by: chat shemale at January 28, 2013 10:24 PM

perfect article, always enjoy reading top writing.

Posted by: Wyatt Rushton at February 23, 2014 12:44 PM

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Remember me?