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The Last Windrow: Here's a good idea: Shop small

Now, in opposition to the big-box Black Friday promotions, we have Shop Small Saturday. In an effort to keep small businesses afloat, someone came up with the idea of turning the attention of the over-saturated consumer to spend a little cash at a local mom and pop business. PineandLakes.com Illustration

Alas, I missed all of the "bargains" offered on Black Friday this year. In fact, I've missed all the bargains from any of the past Black Fridays.

I'm thinking of that as we are at the doorstep of December when all good men should be thinking about possibly purchasing a Christmas present for someone. I feel somewhat guilty of not participating in Black Friday, but not too guilty.

There were no Black Fridays during my growing up years. Farm folks back then tended to try not to spend money unless absolutely necessary. Only during times of holiday stress did they saunter into their nearest community and open their billfolds for gifts.

If you would have suggested to any of them that they might camp outside a store overnight in the rain and/or snow to be first in line to purchase a thing-a-ma-bob, you would have been looked on with suspicion.

The internet hadn't been invented yet and the closest you could get to ordering by mail was to order from a thick catalog and hope your item wasn't back ordered. Most people opted to actually go to a store and "see and feel the merchandise."

The only delivery service we knew of in the day was that of Frank Begman, our local rural route postal driver. Frank didn't appreciate delivering ungainly packages during the holidays. Sometimes he had to actually walk them up to the house because the package wouldn't fit in the mailbox. The over-sized gifts kind of messed up his normal way of sticking letters in the mail box.

Now, in opposition to the big-box Black Friday promotions, we have Shop Small Saturday. In an effort to keep small businesses afloat, someone came up with the idea of turning the attention of the over-saturated consumer to spend a little cash at a local mom and pop business.

These are businesses that were the backbone of the retail industry for eons. They provided goods and services long before the mega-stores came on the scene and I must say, I think they did it pretty well.

These small businesses also contributed to every school program, every Boy and Girl Scout program, every Easter egg hunt, every kid selling garden seeds for a cause and just about every charitable cause under the sun.

The owners ran for the local school board, their local township board, their local city council and their local sewer board. Mostly thankless positions, to say the least. They really should be supported, those that are left after the carnage of the big-box syndrome.

I'm going to "shop small" this year, as I have in the past. I've tried doing that over the years and have found that most every gift I wanted was available from a mom-and-pop shop. I didn't get stepped on or cussed at or had my car's door dented in a crowded parking lot.

The person I gave my money to seemed to actually appreciate it, even if they weren't wearing an elf hat behind the counter. My money, for the most part, stayed in the town where I spent it.

I know I missed out on the thrill of Black Friday, but I know I can still get a gift that keeps on giving and I won't have been stepped on or cussed at and my pickup probably won't have a dent in the door. I'm shopping small this year. I think it's a good idea.

See you next time. Okay?

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