Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Once you go Black...

I found this story to be quite interesting. It is kinda like what I try to do with Wal*Mart. I actively try to shop at small town, local stores over Wal*Mart. This couple from Atlanta tried to patronize only black-owned businesses:

Maggie and John Anderson of Chicago vowed four months ago that for one year, they would try to patronize only black-owned businesses. The "Empowerment Experiment" is the reason John had to suffer for hours with a stomach ache and Maggie no longer gets that brand-name lather when she washes her hair. A grocery trip is a 14-mile odyssey.

"We kind of enjoy the sacrifice because we get to make the point ... but I am going without stuff and I am frustrated on a daily basis," Maggie Anderson said. "It's like, my people have been here 400 years and we don't even have a Walgreens to show for it."

So far, the Andersons have spent hundreds of dollars with black businesses from grocery stores to dry cleaners. But the couple still hasn't found a mortgage lender, home security system vendor or toy store. Nonetheless, they're hoping to expand the endeavor beyond their Chicago home.

Plans are under way to track spending among supporters nationwide and build a national database of quality black businesses. The first affiliate chapter has been launched in Atlanta, and the couple has established a foundation to raise funds for black businesses and an annual convention.

"We have the real power to do something, to use the money we spend every day to solve our problems," Maggie Anderson said recently at a meet-and-greet in Atlanta. "We have to believe that black businesses are just as good as everybody else's."

Now, the Andersons are following up with 4,000 people who signed up for the experiment on their Web site to gauge their commitment and set up online accounts to track their spending. Hundreds have also joined the experiment's Facebook page, Maggie Anderson said

There are one million black businesses in the United States accounting for more than $100 billion in annual sales, according to the National Black Chamber of Commerce. The latest U.S. Census numbers report that blacks have more than $800 billion in expendable income each year.

While I am not going to pit one race's grocery store against another, I do believe that we should focus on local communities and think about how the money we spend goes either to a local store or a nationalized store. The more money we spend on the local level in local businesses, the more will stay in our local communities.

So, instead of going to Moe's, go to Barberitos or Cali-n-Tito's
Instead of going to Wal*Mart for Cards, go to the local card shop.
Shop Downtown at local restaurants.
Skip Walmart whenever possible. If you must shopw large, go with Target, they give back to the local community.


Bryant said...

If I recall correctly, Elijah Muhammad encouraged this same type of buy-black strategy. It's interesting, but I never read more about it to see if it was actually effective.

As for Wal-Mart, I don't understand why everyone dislikes it so much. I work at Wal-Mart's pharmacy. They pay well and do their best to accomodate students like me.

I've never seen any hard data, but numerous times I've heard anecdotally that Wal-Mart pays its employees more than similar stores, e.g. Target.

And Wal-Mart does help communities. In particular, look at what Wal-Mart did in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. They helped a lot more than FEMA did!

I recommend watching the episode about Wal-Mart from Penn & Teller's TV show "Bullshit!" They discuss these kinds of issues about Wal-Mart. They also give several Wal-Mart haters a chance to speak their mind, but the Wal-Mart haters devolve into senseless diatribe, calling Wal-Mart's employees Nazis (I'm not a Nazi. Quite the opposite, actually, since I consider the state to be my enemy) and monkeys (Hm. I don't think the black employees of Wal-Mart would like this description too much. Are some of Wal-Mart's biggest opponents racists?)