card-carrying local

Not the funniest clip from “What About Bob?” but he’s wearing THE SHIRT.

When I first got my NW Veg membership card, I thought to myself, “Well, now I’m a card-carrying vegan.” Then I got a punch card from the comic book store: “Now I’m a card-carrying geek.” Recently I got myself two new cards, both have me singing “Now I’m a card-carrying local!”

The first one is for Supportland, a group of local mom-n-pop shops. You register your card online, then when you go to the member shops, such as Food Fight!, they swipe your card and you earn general points good for bonuses like tote bags and gift certificates. At some shops it also serves as a punch card—like at Food Fight!, after 10 visits they give you a cookie. I love cookies!

The second card I picked up was my People’s Co-op membership card. We’re lucky enough to have a few great co-ops in this city, and I chose the one easiest for me to get to by bike. It costs $180 to join, but they give you SIX YEARS to pay that off. The benefits are pretty cool; not only did they give me all my paperwork in a giant tote bag, but they’ve got open yoga classes, a farmer’s market, great rental rates on their community room, and discounts here and there. Oh, then there’s the whole co-op part, where you get a portion of your purchases back at the end of the year. They’ve got vanilla beans for $2 each, Earth Balance and Tofutti in bulk, and…

check out this giant block of frozen tempeh. That’s a quarter for scale, by the way. Friggin’ huge!

Bonus: When we got home and started reading through the materials, we saw that it’s vegetarian—we totally didn’t notice that, but aside from pet food there are no products from slaughtered animals. Why? Because their co-op members voted to make it that way. Sure, it’s not vegan, but you could do worse.

I’ve always been a sucker for local, independent shops. Probably started out with cool record stores: the values, the aesthetic, the connection you have with the owners. You can trust that your money will most likely go toward things you believe in. They pay taxes in your city. Their employees (if they can afford to hire some) are generally hardworking yet happy. You may run into some pretension now and again, but if you serve it back up you’ll find them disarmed.

Yay for shopping local.

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