Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Local shopping missionary or losing my religion?

I've had a couple of reminders that I haven't exactly been devoted to updating this blog recently.

The first kick in the pants came from a recent column in the New West News Leader about the importance of shopping locally.

"Ideally, we’d all be doing more of what Sheila Keenan’s doing this year," wrote editor Chris Bryan. "She’s a missionary type, going at it with a zeal few could sustain for the long term."

So full of zeal that I hadn't posted on this blog, which he included a link to, for over a month. D'oh!

What really got me though was an e-mail today from a reader in Texas, asking if I was still shopping locally since she had noticed the blog hadn't been updated lately. I didn't know I had a reader in Texas, let alone one I was disappointing with the infrequency of my posts.

The truth is I've been feeling kinda blah about this whole local shopping endeavour. In February, I did a month of grocery shopping only at small grocery stores and no big chains. That got me fired up about local shopping, though not, you'll notice, fired up enough to actually blog about it yet. (The short story: it's not as expensive as one might think. For produce and regular-priced items, a store like Donald's is fairly competitive with the big stores.)

I didn't have any special focus to my local shopping in March and that's when the doldrums really hit. I bought my office chair used for $25 over 10 years ago. It now makes my butt sore every time I sit in it. I don't just write for fun, I do it for a living, so my butt's in the chair quite a bit. I really want a new one and I want a good one. I know I could drive about five minutes away from my house to the Staples in nearby Burnaby and pick one up pretty quickly. I'm not sure where I'm going to find one in New West and the thought of making a big hunt of it is just kind of tiresome. (Wal-mart has them, but they're $90 and I'd really rather not buy one there.)

So much for my missionary zeal. Here I am ready to abandon the whole thing due to one slightly sore butt.

Remember how saintly and devout everyone thought Mother Teresa was? Then after she died and some of her letters were published, it turned out she had struggled mightily with her faith for decades, to the point of doubting the existence of heaven and even of God at times. Not that my boredom with shopping in New West compares in scale with a saint's crisis of faith, but I have been wondering if doing this is worth it. If it really makes any difference at all.

Then, it turns out I have a reader in Texas who cares whether or not I'm still shopping locally.

And a friend tells me she tried a restaurant because I wrote about it.

And I see this neat video about what the development around the New Westminster Skytrain Station is going to look like:

Or I read about all the super-cool stuff coming to the River Market that I can't wait to see.

And then I think, sore butt or not, it is worth it to keep the local shopping faith.