While traveling, I found a little sale paper in Kentucky that featured an ad about the 3/50 Project: Saving the Brick and Mortars Our Nation is Built On. The idea is to spend your disposable income in the amount of $50 at 3 local stores. The ad claims that for every $100 spent in independently-owned stores, $68 of it returns to the community, whereas if it was spent in chain stores or online, much less is returned to the community. You can find out more at the site the350project.net
We decided to visit a local restaurant in Oak Grove: Charlie’s. We were told it has been operating for 30 years, and the building looks like it’s much older. It had broken windows in back and looked a bit dingy, and we were sort of afraid. The waitresses wore white dresses and aprons, with black tights, and white shoes. Different! But we had some fun, and Gabe was so tired he fell asleep in his plate next to his hamburger.
So we felt somewhat virtuous for patronizing a local establishment, although, being a known cheapskate, I did also check out the local Wal-Mart as well, and bought a scarf for $3.00 that is fully comparable to the scarf I bought around the corner at the bookstore here in G’ville for $12.00. And for the amount we spent at Charlie’s for dinner, although a good experience, we probably could have bought two meals at a cheap chain restaurant. Saving money or supporting the local economy, that’s the ethical question.