The following is a guest post from Paid Twice, a blog about one family’s journey to eliminate their debt, and beyond.
I admit it. I am a sucker for small mom and pop type businesses. I literally grew up working in one, a small restaurant owned by recent immigrants, who since my mother worked there as a waitress from the time I was 8, let me wash dishes at 14 and move up from there until I left for college at 18. So I have always had a soft spot for the local, independent type restaurant or store, and in my younger adult years, used to patronize those types of establishments quite frequently.
But now, I find myself in a quandry. I’ve committed to a much more frugal lifestyle, and I don’t go out to eat at all, or shop for the sake of shopping, yet I find myself wanting to go to local eateries and stores just to keep them in business. Understand, I am not talking about making a choice between a local establishment and a chain one, I am talking about choosing not to go out to eat at all, or go out for coffee, or browse the local store, yet wanting to anyway for the sake of showing support to a local establishment.
For example, a small lunch cafÃ© opened up near where I live. It is bright, cheerful looking, and sells locally grown produce in their sandwiches. I want to go there for the sake of keeping it there because it seems a good thing to support. But I have chosen not to go out to lunch at all, so I feel guilty about not supporting their establishment – even though I am not supporting an alternative competitor instead.
Where does this guilt come from? When did I become brainwashed into feeling guilty for not being a consumer? It is not my responsibility to keep anyone in business. Yes, I can make smart choices when I am evaluating a choice, but there is no reason to spend my money on something I don’t want or need just to support a particular business. In fact, that takes consumerism to a whole new level.
I guess I am still at heart a consumer and have some sort of withdrawal guilt.