You want to help? Today is one of those days you can do it.
All day today my radio station (WKVT) does its day-long food drive in front of Price Chopper on Canal Street in Brattleboro. You can help by dropping off some non-perishable food items, personal hygiene products, baby food and, yes, even cash. It’s all to help Project Feed the Thousands and the Brattleboro Area Drop in Center.
WKVT has being doing a food drive the day before Thanksgiving dating back some 30-plus years. (To give you an idea how long -- we used to do them in front of the Grand Union on Putney Road.) Weather has never factored into it. It never mattered that it was raining, snowing or shinning; we are there. So it shouldn’t matter to you what it’s doing outside; bring by your donations or when you’re in Price Chopper buy a little something extra and drop it in the cart of the way out.
I’ve heard that one in five people go hungry every day. If you’re in a family of five, imagine having to put one of your family members into a lottery to try and decide who gets to eat, and who doesn’t. Please help out today.
I’m all about Thanksgiving, being thankful for those around you and those things you already have. That wonderful notion of being satisfied with what you have, because let’s face it -- this is not always the case. We live in a society of people who constantly strive to get and take as much as they can. So to have this holiday to remind us to slow down for a minute and take inventory of what we’ve been given or have is a wonderful thing.
But only in America can you strap on your comfortable all-day-type running shoes, head into a huge structure with recycled air with the same skill and mindset we give to our soldiers prior to marching them into harm’s way and do some full-contact commerce just one day after being thankful for everything you already have. It’s called Black Friday for a good reason, which in my interpretation means it’s a dark day for Americans who feel the need to full-contact shop. It’s actually the time of year that retailers go from operating in the red and go to "Black."
That being said, I’m a fan of retailers turning a profit ... local retailers. See, I’m huge fan of getting everything I can locally; I like giving the local shop owners a chance to earn my business. Sure, I use the Internet to do research and, yes, I occasionally order something, but overall I enjoy my local merchants and I enjoy keeping my money local.
So will I shop on Black Friday? Perhaps. But I will be doing it in the fine shops that are in and around our region. Mostly I’ll opt out of the whole day and save my energy for Small Business Saturday. Mom and Pops are the backbone of commerce. Sure, the big-box stores rule the roost when it comes to buying a million of something and forcing the price down so low that folks are willing to camp in front of a store in order to save "big." But let me make this argument -- is your time worth nothing? Even if you feel you’re only worth minimum wage (here in Vermont, $8.46 per hour), and you have to camp out for even four hours, that’s $33.83. That may equal what you save on Black Friday.
So let’s call today Beige Wednesday, and this is the day you call around to your local retailers and see if they can get the item you’re looking at for the price you found it for online or as advertised. If they can, then order it, wait the few days until it comes in and take the money you save and come over to Price Chopper and donate it to Project Feed the Thousands. Because if one out five is hungry, just imagine how many can’t even think of buying gifts. What the Hell is Up with that?