Read D.F.'s bio and previous columns
April 7, 2008
Buy Local First!™ Unless
shouldn’t answer my phone. But I’m an idiot. So sometimes I do.
“Mr. Krause, we would like to invite you and your company to join Local
Now the first thing you need to know is that whenever you write Local
First!, you have to add in the exclamation point. It’s part of their
name. They’ve got it trademarked and everything. So I guess I should
write it as Local First!™
Seriously, the exclamation point is bad enough.
what is Local First? Sorry. What is Local First!?
“Well, Mr. Krause, we believe that communities do best when communities
buy local! So the members of Local First!™ make a commitment to do
business with other local companies whenever possible!”
“Excuse me. Did you
just speak a trademark symbol?”
“Yes I did! Anyway, Mr. Krause, I’m sure you’d like to have business
from other local companies, just as they would appreciate business from
you. It’s a way we can all work together and do our part to support the
“But what if I don’t
want to buy things from local businesses? What if I think they’re all
“Oh, that is hilarious!”
“No, I really mean it.
What if I think all the local companies who would like me to buy things
from them are complete garbage, and I’d rather buy from someone else?
What do you do when that happens?”
“Well, Mr. Krause . . . we believe in Local First!™”
“Would you stop
speaking the trademark symbol already?”
“I’m sorry, Mr. Krause. I’m just protecting our intellectual property.”
they want me to join Local First!™ Damn! Now I’m doing it.
All right, I can appreciate the idea here. A bunch of well-meaning,
wide-eyed, do-gooders get together, hold hands and say to themselves,
“Why, if we all just did business with each other, everything would be
Yay! The town is saved!
But such efforts never, ever work. I will tell you why.
Economic systems are built on the freedom of people to act in their own
self-interest. If a local company offers a good quality product at a
good price, I will probably buy it. But if an out-of-town company offers
a better product at a better price, and they can do whatever is
necessary to eliminate the hassle of buying from outside the area, I
will buy from them.
Now, I could choose to buy from a local company because I want to
support my local community, and wouldn’t that be a good and virtuous
thing to do?
No. It wouldn’t. Because if they’re not the best choice on their own
merits, I am merely propping them up by virtue of their geography. If
they want to earn my business, let them earn it and they’ll have it.
I reward their crappiness with more business, I’m just subsidizing crap.
That’s not making the town better. Plus, I end up with all this crap.
“But Mr. Krause, wouldn’t you prefer to buy local, all things being
“No, I wouldn’t. I’d
prefer to buy from the supplier who best meets my needs and serves my
interests, regardless of where they come from.”
“Well, that’s not exactly consistent with the ideals of Local First!™”
“I Don’t Care!™”
© 2008 North Star
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