A quick look at the calendar should bring you out of your Thanksgiving Day over-consumption hangover. Yikes! It's exactly a month until Christmas, and that means for the underachievers -- and by that, we mean people who don't start Christmas shopping in July -- it's time to start making a list and so forth.
On the very bright side, the pandemic is not a thing at the moment. The flu and upper-respiratory infections, yes, but those, it seems, we will have with us always.
On the not-so-bright side, the economy has been rough, what with record inflation in our midst. Trips to the grocery store that strain the pocketbook are routine now. And filling up with gas, while not the high octane awful that it was a few months ago, still takes its toll in a way that it didn't even a year ago.
All that said, there will still be some lights to hang and a tree to trim perhaps and some presents to buy. Let's think about those presents for a bit.
On many occasions over the past couple of years, there have been front page stories in The Commercial about local businesses and entrepreneurs. Those are people who have invested in themselves and in their community in the hope of, well, in the hope of a lot of things. The joy of working for themselves. Fulfilling a life-long dream to create something of their own making. The reasons are as unique as the people involved. Financially and emotionally, they put themselves on the line. And if they succeed, if that business or service causes a cash register to ring, we all succeed.
So as you go about your holiday shopping, think of one or two or six of those folks you can support. Maybe it's a new restaurant or a specialty store. And even if wrapping up what they do isn't possible, there's always the gift certificate option.
Pushing those dollars to local people has a big impact. Economists talk about how many times a dollar turns over in a community. When you buy local, those dollars keep people in their jobs and add tax dollars to city coffers that help pay for street repairs, police and fire officers and any number of services we couldn't imagine doing without. On the flip side, if brick-and-mortar shopping is your thing, when you buy elsewhere, you turn the economic wheels there -- but not here.
Online shopping has gotten easier and easier with packages arriving the next day. That is a powerful and convenient tool to have. For years, online entities didn't even bother to collect sales taxes. Now, they do, and our city benefits no matter where the purchase is made.
But that purchase still misses the sweet spot of actually buying from someone who likely lives and works right here in Pine Bluff. Steer your sleigh toward those folks and brighten the holidays for us all.