The coronavirus has had a massive effect on life as we know it. While libertarian concepts have come under ridiculous skepticism throughout the crisis, the truth is, even in a pandemic, there is still a huge amount of room for exercising free will on a day-to-day basis.
One of the most important ways that citizens can maintain their autonomy is by not isolating themselves from their communities. Instead, they must willingly go out to support those around them.
One of the most important groups that must be supported in the midst of this reckless, nearly universal government shutdown is the small and medium-sized business. Here are a few suggestions for ways you can support these organizations in your own area.
It’s tempting to go to Walmart.com or hop onto the Amazon app and simply have all of your shopping delivered right to your front door. However, it’s important to remember that this bypasses the small businesses right in your own backyard.
Companies that normally depend on foot traffic and local patronage are atrophying as everyone avoids social interactions and tries to stay home as much as possible. With that in mind, always consider what local stores are still offering their goods, whether online or for curbside pickup, and try to reallocate your dollars towards them.
Look for Creative Workarounds
Just because the world’s on lockdown doesn’t mean local companies have shuttered their doors. It’s worth checking on the latest legal restrictions regarding social distancing to make sure you understand what behaviors are and aren’t allowed. Then directly check in with that mom and pop business around the corner to see if they’ve found an alternative way to keep their operation alive during the quarantine.
For instance, many local restaurants have kept their doors ajar by simply taking orders online or over the phone and offering them for takeout. While it’s important to stay germ-free as you head to and from the restaurant, ordering takeout is a great way to replace your weekly date night. Have your family “dine-in” at home while simultaneously helping local restaurants stay afloat.
Times are tough, but it’s in times like these that it’s important to dig deeper than that animalistic fear that you personally won’t have enough resources to get through the crisis. Remember that everyone is in this together. This can be an important mindset, particularly when it comes to patronizing local businesses. For instance, a gallon of milk at a local farmer’s market might cost a dollar or two more than at the chain grocery store down the road.
It’s obviously important to watch your own finances. However, it’s also good to realize when price differences occur from things including supply chain efficiency, order volume, and product quality (common concerns for small business pricing) compared to the differences that arise from the commonly criticized activity of naked “price gouging.” While the justification or condemnation of the latter is a conversation worth having, it’s important to separate this concern from the simple fact that smaller businesses often have to charge slightly more for goods to justify the operational expense of having them in the first place.
In other words, when you run into those higher prices at a local business, it typically isn’t price gouging. It’s simply the cost of doing business on a smaller scale. Go into your local businesses with an attitude of spending generously rather than simply grasping the best deals possible.
Supporting the Future
While personal independence is an essential part of American life, it doesn’t mean we should abandon those around us to suffer. On the contrary, supporting local businesses can be a critical way to keep our local communities alive and well. It can keep people from slipping into the cycle of poverty and can ensure that larger corporations don’t continue to tighten their stranglehold on the economy.
Do your best to hunt down local businesses that have managed to stay open in spite of the shutdown, and then shop local whenever you can.
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