Shop Small Saturday is the Antidote to Black Friday

With fights, riots, and unheeded picket lines, Black Friday is America at its worst. But its socially conscious counterpart, Small Business Saturday is America at its best.

Wal-Mart workers’ Black Friday strike brought up questions about what we mean when we say we want Americans to go back to work — sometimes it’s not enough to have a job, people want good jobs. And it brought up questions about what’s required for the American economy to recover — people need to earn enough money to spend beyond the bare essentials for survival.

The holiday season is potentially great for economic recovery. People spending money is good for the economy. But it’s also important to think about where you’re spending your holiday dollars, and what message your choice sends. Think of every dollar as a vote, and vote for the kind of business you want to see thrive. Vote for your neighbor whose small shop is scraping by day-to-day, not big box stores that outsource production overseas and still don’t pay a living wage to their employees.

If you took a shot every time a candidate said “small business” during the presidential election, you’re probably just now coming out of your alcohol-poisoning coma. The recovery of small businesses has come to be closely associated with the recovery of the American economy. Small businesses help the communities they’re in, and, all together, help the American economy at large.

Many people opt for chains instead of small business because prices tend to be lower, but think about the fact that when you shop at a small business you’re not just buying a piece of clothing or a book, you’re buying a piece of a stronger and healthier economy, and a happier work force.