Our communities are under attack, and it’s time we take them back.
Big brands suck, literally. They suck the money, resources, and life out of our communities in exchange for what appears to be convenience and cost savings. Long term, they’re anything but convenient. They wipe out small businesses and replace a greater number of higher paying jobs with a smaller number of lower paying jobs, and the cost savings are eventually offset by lower income for most. Big brands suck money from the bottom and pool it at the top, increasing income disparity and making the world a worse place to live in.
Why Small Business Is Better
- When you buy from a small, local business, more of your money stays in your community. It’s good for the local employees and owners, and it’s good for you.
- Small businesses offer a better customer service experience with employees who are more likely to care. Big brands are staffed largely by low paid employees and outsourced customer service.
- Unique, small businesses make your community more interesting.
- Big brand executives don’t care about your community, but small business owners do. It’s their community too.
- Small businesses are more social. It’s more likely you’ll get to know the owners and employees of a small business, and the experience of shopping will be more enjoyable.
- Small businesses are specialists in the products they carry, and both online and offline the shopping experience is likely to be better as a result.
With Big Brands, You Pay More Than You Think
Big brands like Walmart take out physical businesses around the world by offering cheap prices enabled by paying wages so low that many employees can’t survive without food stamps to supplement their income. Walmart prices only seem cheap when you don’t consider you’re paying many of their underpaid employees with your tax dollars.
And these big brands aren’t satisfied with monster profits and the destruction of small physical businesses. Now with the help of Google, one of the worst big brands of all, they’re going after small businesses online too. In a previous post I highlighted how Walmart was selling products online that they don’t even carry, getting a cut of sales dollars by using their authority to rank above the company that actually sells the products.
Amazon: The New Walmart
Amazon is the online equivalent to Walmart, only worse. The shopping experience on Amazon for many product categories is seriously inferior to small online businesses that specialize in those products. But by having businesses compete in a price race to the bottom or undercutting businesses by selling at a loss to wipe them out, Amazon is often able to offer lower prices. However, these come at the cost of real jobs and income for small business owners, not to mention an expert level of knowledge and customer service. Due to Google’s massive big brand bias combined with their immunity to penalties like Panda and Penguin, many searchers these days don’t even find the specialty e-commerce stores since the first page of results is loaded with Amazon and other big brand sites.
The Big Banks Are the Worst
And the big brand retail stores are nothing compared to the big banks. If it isn’t enough that Goldman Sachs and others knowingly sold junk products to investors, cities, and pension funds…products they created in order to bet against to profit when retirees lost their savings…the same big banks have been caught rigging the prices of municipal bonds (stealing money from retirement accounts, hospitals, police and fire departments, etc.) and rigging LIBOR rates to the tune of trillions of dollars.
Because all of these big brands control the political process and write the laws, no matter who we elect it’s only going to get worse. Unless we do something about it.
Shop Small Business
Avoid the big brands as much as possible. If you can buy something at a local store or a privately owned e-commerce site, do that over buying from the big brands. It may cost a bit more on the surface, but in the long run it will make your community a better place by keeping the money local, improving prosperity, and maintaining or increasing quality customer service.
Drive a little further or put up with parking issues to shop local instead of at the big box stores. Use a small local bank instead of a monstrous national or international one. Skip all the big brands in the search results even if you have to go to page 2 or 3, and check out the specialist sites. Tweet and email this post to friends, and recommend it on Facebook. The more people you can get using small businesses instead of big brands, the better it will be for us all…especially those of us with small businesses ourselves!