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Local Lure: This holiday, help your community by spending close to home

In the 2011, book “Visit From the Good Squad,” writer Jennifer Egan envisions a future when social media and other cultural interactions and behavior mean certain words and phrases, including friend, change, and identity, become “word husks” — “words that no longer have meaning in English outside of quotation marks, drained of life by their web usage.”

It’s a scary, almost Orwellian prospect, but not hard to see happening before our eyes. Witness the husks around the entire “Black Friday” phenomenon that emerged a decade or so and became a major implement in the economy, with its encouragement of frenetic spending starting before dawn or before one holiday is allowed to give way to another

For “Black Friday,” has evolved into “Black November.” What’s next? “Black season?”

Throw in the rising dominance of online purchasing, which comes with its own set of irrelevant labels, and it begins to look like a word husk — a shell of a word.

In addition, retailers give varying opinions of how well the “Black” tradition actually drives sales, and studies have shown that those “Black (whatever)” prices might not be such great “deals.”

You get a much better handle on what kind of a deal you are actually getting when you shop close to home, because you’re dealing with employees and a business connected to the community.

That’s one strong reason among many to shop local, all year-round, though this weekend has been designated “Shop Local 2017” by Hood River Chamber of Commerce. Saturday, Nov. 25, is Small Business Saturday, a time to give due focus for your spending to local businesses that are often owned by individuals or families from our own community.

As shoppers compile their lists, it is understandable that some items are going to need to be ordered from farther away, or purchased somewhere other than close to home. But wherever possible, Gorge residents should first consider filling their baskets via local merchants. They employ local people, pay taxes to the local community, and support local programs with donations. As was made evident in Hood River News’ annual Gift Guide (published Nov. 22 and available at Hood River News), local stores have a wide selection to offer. In most cases, local merchants can help you with something you want online, or an equivalent.

The value of shopping locally will always be an important concept and practice, and will never require quotations marks to give it meaning.

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