3 Reasons Christians Should Shop Locally

Part of the problemThere’s a Guitar Center coming to my town. As a musician, I should be pretty excited. Who wouldn’t want a wide selection of amps, wall-to-wall guitars, and competitive prices? I should be excited—I’m not.

I’ve lived in this town most of my life. I bought my first guitar (a black Les Paul) with my tip money (I paid $250 of that in one-dollar bills) in 1987. I bought it at a local shop called Brown’s Music. I went back and bought my first Strat from Brown’s a couple years later. I bought my first Telecaster locally from Manna Music, and my first Vox amp from Mojo Music.

Whether it’s a Best Buy, Wal*Mart, or Guitar Center, boxed stores change communities. Here are three reasons I think Christians should consider buying local.

1. Frugality isn’t the highest Christian virtue.

Every family knows that saving money is important. But is it the most important? I don’t think so. Sure, a box store may be able to buy larger quantities and sell it at a cheaper rate, but what’s the real cost?

I may be end up saving a little more to make that big purchase and I’ll probably spend a little more, but the money is an investment in my community. It’s an investment in my neighbor.

We’re being conditioned by box stores and online retailers to buy as cheaply as possible. We can’t allow ourselves to think that this is the only factor that matters when making a purchase. The way we spend money is important and we should consider its implications.

2. Boxed stores are a blight on our communities.

When I was growing up, a road trip was an exciting event. You could drive across the country and experience local cultures and communities. Every town was unique and had a flavor that was its own.

Now a drive across the nation is one sprawling shopping center after another. After a while, everywhere you go looks exactly the same. It’s one Chili’s, Applebees, P.F. Chang’s, Wal*Mart, and McDonald’s after another. It’s depressing to watch all the local color disappear. I’m tired of investing in the homogenization of our neighborhoods.

3. Loving our neighbor means investing in our neighbor.

I had a friend who owned a sporting goods store. Her business was strong, and she worked  hard. When Big 5 and Wal*Mart moved in, she put up a good fight. Now she works as a clerk in the sporting goods section at Wal*Mart.

We cannot sit idly by while people who have scraped, saved, and invested are buried by businesses with huge margins and buying power. I get capitalism and I am not against it—but the demand (us) gets to decide where the supply comes from.

Jesus says to do unto others as I would have them do unto me. This means I need to consider the value of loyalty when I am making purchases, and I am not just talking about being loyal to my pocketbook.

I would hate for Doug (the owner of local shop Mojo Music) to come to a show and see me playing a guitar I could have bought from him but didn’t—just because I saved $50. This is why I won’t be visiting our city’s new Guitar Center.

Jayson Bradley

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