I’ve made a lot of interesting choices in my life. Chief among them (for the purposes of this article) is where I live. I’ve traveled all over the world and I’ve seen stuff in person that most folks only get to see on the internet. Women immediately spring to mind (ZING!) But over the last few years, whenever I travel to a new part of the US, I’ve seen the same thing. Foreclosed houses. Derelict downtown commercial centers. Wal-Marts and homeless people. I’ve seen it in towns and I’ve even seen it in some major metropolitan cities.
The number of times I’ve driven through a city and seen nothing but chain stores and empty parking lots with people sleeping in them is frightening. You might be saying to yourself ‘So what? What can I, the humble gamer, do to fix this giant economic mess that’s affecting everyone on Earth?’ Well the answer is two words: Buy local. It’s not the solution for everything, but if more people kept their money in the local economy, as I’ve seen done here in western Washington, the country would be a lot better off. Anyway, here are some tips for buying local.
- While it might be tempting to buy things cheaply online, don’t outsource your gaming dollars to the online retailer with the lowest price. Think about what that extra two dollars can do in your community!
- Look online for a local game store that’s NOT a GameStop or other national chain. A regional chain is fine. You’d be surprised at the level of service that a local mom-and-pop store will go through to keep your business. Unlike the national chains, they’re invested in you!
- If there are no mom-and-pop or regional chain game stores in your area, organize a weekly gaming group at a community center. Community centers usually offer their services for free, or for a small fee that goes towards maintaining the facility and providing much-needed services to your community. Don’t sit around and play games with yourself in the dark, go out and share your love of gaming with the people around you. While this might not immediately strike you as keeping your money local, consider this a stepping stone in the right direction. It’s a sorta if you build it, they will come, kind of thing.
- If you must buy from huge national brands or chains, buy from local manufacturers/producers. This is easier for me, because I purposefully chose where I live. For example, when I buy from Microsoft, Nintendo, Amazon, Wizards of the Coast, Privateer Press, WizKids, Soda Pop Miniatures, Ebay, Coca Cola, Costco, Valve, Starbucks, Penny Arcade, and scores of other companies/brands, my money stays in the local economy! The greater Seattle area has not been affected as much as other major cities in the US, and I think a large part of that comes from the efforts of people trying to keep their money local.
- Move. If you just straight-up hate your local community, move to a different one. I didn’t care for Orlando, Florida, and though I was leaving behind good friends & family, my life in Redmond Washington is better that I could have imagined just a few short years ago. Do some research and find a community that you can be passionate about, and then move there. Chances are they’re waiting for you.
That’s it for this week. Next week I’ll see if I can wrangle up a give-away and a guest post or two. Until then, Good Gaming!