I’ll ‘shop local’ if that means ‘shop reasonably priced’

I’ve long been known as a cheapskate — though people try to gussy up that title with the words “thrifty” or “frugal.” But let’s be real: cheap is cheap and there’s no need to pretty it up.

With the cost of everything going up, it’s had many people contacting me and asking for advice on how to save a little more. I’ve already gone on the record once in recent columns but here’s something else I have an opinion on.

There’s a lot of pressure on us as consumers to “shop local” or “support local” and if we don’t, then we’re terrible Manitobans or Canadians or whatever. Here’s the thing: That guilt trip doesn’t work on me. I won’t be shamed living by the motto “shop reasonably priced.”

Will I buy an $8 jar of salad dressing or a $10 bottle of barbecue sauce just because it was made in my town? No. I’m not someone who has to watch my spending but I just can’t justify the quantity that I’m getting for that price. If it was Costco-sized, I might consider it. Do I pay for quality? Yes, but not that much.

If I enjoy the taste of the $2 jar of pickles I get from Walmart (that is a product of India, according to the label), then I’m going to buy it because I like it. I’m not buying it to support the Indian producer or the American retailer. I like it, so I’m buying it.

We can take a stand and say we’re not buying overseas products because we’re supporting Canadian producers but, at the end of the day, if we like the product we’re getting that should be a determining factor, too.

This is one of the benefits of living in a country like ours. The grocery store has many salad dressing options. If I try one because it’s on sale or I’m wowed by the packaging or it happens to be a Manitoba product, so be it. But price will be a factor in my decision making.

Some producers say, “You can’t put a price on quality.” Yeah, I can. If it’s $2 pickles then that’s my price.

I wondered if the opinion was solely mine so I asked a couple of people their thoughts.

“I already associate “shop local” with it being more expensive for those items,” said my colleague, who’s a mom of two kids. “It feels like they prey on that sometimes to get support or sympathy but it doesn’t work on me. I’m looking out for my financial well being first, not someone else’s.”

As for my mom, she had this idea: “The stores should offer in-store specials for buying local products. They have big, flashy signs for local products but why aren’t they jumping in to encourage people to buy them with good sales? Why aren’t those brands on the front page of sale flyers? Maybe the stores should take a hit (on profit margins) to support the local companies. If we get hooked on them after the first time, then we’ll be loyal to (those products).”

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