We were approached to do a 5 minute interview with CHCH news in Canada a few days ago. As the press entity for occupychristmas.org I accepted the challenge, not knowing what to expect. The interview began with us being called the “jumping of the proverbial shark” of the occupy movement. They then introduced us as a movement working to encourage people to not buy gifts this Christmas at all. Those of you who read our blog, and even those who have only read it once, know that we are NOT against purchasing gifts. We are encouraging people to purchase their gifts locally and to make a difference by promoting local economy.
I was then berated with questions about how we can possibly be fighting for the 99% when the 99% includes those who are employed by the big corporate retailers, so aren’t we hurting them more than the 1%. My response to that was taken in part from the 3/50 project (another movement for promoting local businesses)(1) which states that for every $100 spent at a locally owned business $68 is given back to the community through taxes, the owner, etc. When $100 is spent at a local chain retailer only $43 is seen by the community, that’s a $25 difference. That doesn’t seem like much, but if you look at the small town with a population of 14,000, where a household is about 4 people, that gives you 3500 households. An average household in America will spend $650 on Christmas gifts (2). If a fourth of those households purchases their Christmas gifts locally that’s about $150,000 going back into the community. I’m sure that’s going to generate some jobs. When you look at a larger city, like Louisville, with a population of 250,000 (3) that number jumps to about $2 million. That doesn’t count the $43 per $100 that the city would be getting anyway, that JUST the extra $25 per $100. I’m pretty positive that will generate a lot of jobs. It’s gonna have to get worse before it gets better, but there will never be a change in society if we don’t make a change in ourselves first.