Sunday, June 19, 2011

What is your local metaphysical store?

I am not asking for a name. I am asking you for a concept. I know I just confused you, so, read on.
I remember an incident a few years back in a Metaphysical Retailers' Group when many of the member store owners were totally outraged that a Wiccan Store had asked for financial and physical help from its customers. No one was very happy when I pointed out that our customers ask more than financial and physical help of us. They simply could not shed the corporate mind set that has pretty much destroyed this country. After all, how much support do you get from the local big box store other than plenty of time to make friends in the 20 minutes plus snail line at check out?
How many stores can you go into, sit down and actually talk to the owners about something other than how much money you are about to spend?
How many stores do you run to as a refuge when the world is getting you down?
Believe it or not, a hundred years ago, the answer would not have been confined to your local "witch shop". It would have included your general store, your dressmaker and a host of other suppliers.
My grandfather owed a general store just after the Civil War. Yes, I am talking 1860. I remember my grandmother complaining about him giving credit to people and how surprised she was when the roof collapsed and he was out of town and the locals came together and put a roof on the store and even fixed hers. Her father, you see, was a German from a banking family. The kids had to provide a summary of their work that day before dinner was served and you had better have been productive or you were hungry.
Back then, if the sole fell off your shoe, you needed the cobbler to put it back on. I remember getting taps on my shoes so the heels and toes wouldn't wear so fast. Now you dump them in the garbage and buy a new pair. Have you ever considered how many people go in the garbage with that pair of shoes?
Thirty years ago you would have taken that pair of shoes to the repair shop and the man there would have known the shoe size of everyone in your family, asked how they were, how your kids were growing and you would have stopped, and asked about his family, most of which would have been in that nice leathery smelling shop helping out. But hey, you can find companionship on American Idol because they are really, really interested in what your kid did this week, that is if you know.
Walmart is cheaper but I have no friends. I broke my foot and had to live off take out for a month because no one brought me so much as a cookie and no one sees the connection while they immerse themselves in the intellectual stimulation of Jersey Shores. All this technology is saving us so much time to DO WHAT?
We work at home in a tiny room in front of a computer and some people never see another person for days. We get to the point we resent the fact that we actually have to leave the house. They used to call that agoraphobia and classify it as a mental illness, not the norm.
So, what is your local metaphysical store? Is it the one place left where people are glad to see you, know your name and actually ask how you are and mean it? Next time you start to pick up that Chinese incense at the big box because it is cheap ask yourself if anyone in that store knows what is really in it. I can definitely tell you I know what isn't in that bottle of Sandalwood oil over there: sandalwood oil! It smells like spent cooking oil to me. BUT I do work with the real stuff all day.
So, even in tight times folks, keep in mind who supports you. If you don't have money, a little help is always appreciated in a small store. Attend events and you may find you actually have friends. And please keep in mind what a couple of visitors from out of state said to us last week. They had driven down the state with a list of stores to visit, most of which were now out of business. They said we must have a lot of community support and we do. We have the greatest customers in the world. Heck, we left the mangoes out front because it started raining and when we came back, we found money on the table. We have plenty folks, don't sweat it. This is the time when you need to pull together with your local small businesses because as times get tighter, those big box giants are going to cut costs even more and you are going to find you are buying for lack of a better word, cheap crap. If that happens to be food, you are in trouble. Money spent locally stays in your community and helps grow it.
It's a really simple concept that most children can grasp. Help your neighbors and they will help you. I am so lucky to live in a really mixed community because as my fellow WASPS are fighting over the placement of garbage cans twice a week, (I let my neighbors put theirs on my property because they really need use of their entire driveway to get out to work), the Pakistanis, Latinos and others are helping me out. I joined their community and that my readers is a sorry statement but then again, I didn't grow up in this country for a large part of my life. I learned to adapt and embrace new things. I am also a relaxed, happy person. What are you?

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