Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year — now go and buy something!

What a funny, outrageous thing to say on the second day of a new year. "Happy New Year — now go and buy something"? What's up with that?
Well, I was watching some political/economic commentators last night on CNN (specifically, Anderson Cooper's 360 program) and was very impressed with the discussion that took place. I've been watching a lot of CNN lately, finding it much more informative, interesting, and (dare I say it) entertaining than the regular news. Here's a quote from Anderson's blog: "We spent a lot of time this year on politics and more recently, the economy, and have really tried to stay focused on bringing you the real news and smart, in-depth analysis." I love it!
So anyway, while watching the program last night I was struck by the advice being handed out. "Go out and buy something!" Apparently this one small act can do a lot to boost our flagging economy, if enough of us follow through with it. I'm not suggesting that you go into debt purchasing a big-ticket item such as a car when your budget won't allow for it just now. But would it kill any of us to go into our local towns and purchase at least one small item that we might not have otherwise?
Last week, when my friends were visiting me from Washington state, they wanted me to give them a tour of my hometown (Idyllwild, California) to visit some of the local galleries and small shops. Anyone who lives in a touristy town knows how easy it is to reside there for years and never darken the door of a gift shop, and that is certainly my case. We have some terrific small galleries up here, and many fine gift shops with unusual merchandise, artsy clothing, and handmade craft items that can be found nowhere else. I was reacquainted with this fact when I visited our local stores with my friends last week — for the first time in years.
We didn't buy much, actually. I saw lots of really cute stuff (no other way to describe it), great clothing, and fine-quality arts and crafts. My friend bought us some delicious handmade truffles and I believe a hat was purchased at some point. While we were in one gift shop, I considered some handmade coffee mugs for sale. I almost didn't buy one. Then I decided that, although the mugs were not on sale and they were not cheap, I liked one well enough to go ahead and buy it. This is how I supported a local shop and the artist who makes these mugs.
Did it break my bank? No. Did it solve our country's economic crisis? Well, no. But it helped. Yes it did — a tiny bit... and just imagine if we all did something, even if only a little tiny bit, to help stimulate our economy. It's the usual cliche: We really can make a difference, if enough of us do our part.
You know, I have great hopes for our future, and I personally cannot wait to see Barack Obama installed into office as our 44th president. (I also can't wait to see our current president show us his hind end as he exits the White House.) I believe that our future can be amazing, and I have incredibly high hopes for the next administration. But it is as Barack has always said: He cannot do it alone. Nor should he be expected to. If we want to turn this sinking ship around, we must work together, each of us doing our small part.
Even if it's just buying a coffee mug...
ps By the way, I just happen to have some instructional DVDs to sell. Here's my Web site:

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