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In the June 28 issue, the Boyertown Times noted the end of an era in the closing of Bause’s Super Drug Store, and reminded citizens that if they want to maintain local stores, they must support them. The very next week, the Boyertown Times welcomed the opening of a Big Lots out-let in the Boyertown Plaza, and encouraged citizens to find bargains and save money at the store.
Boyertown, you cannot have it both ways. People should realize that cheap prices have hidden costs. In saving a few cents, or a few dollars, you:
1) Patronize a giant retailer who buys in bulk and drives down the cost of goods by forcing suppliers to shave profit margins. Sometimes suppliers are driven out of business by retailers such as Wal-Mart, because they cannot survive if they don’t supply these orders, and they can’t survive with no profit margin. These retailers do not live in our community, do not buy their merchandise locally, and may not even pay local taxes.
2) Practically guarantee that the goods you buy are not made in the US. Goods made in the US almost always cost more than foreign-made goods, because in the US employers are required by law to pay a minimum wage. When you buy cheap goods you encourage unfair, unsafe, and unsanitary working conditions for people, including women and children, in countries where the government turns a blind eye to the abuse of workers.
3) Buy an item that is less well made than, and therefore will not last as long as, a more expensive version of the same thing. If you have to buy six cheap shirts a year, you will probably spend more money than if you had bought two good shirts in the first place.
4) Contribute to the death of your Main Street and the local retailers who serve you, buy goods and services from you, know you and your family, pay local taxes, and have a stake in your community.
My father always told me: “put your money where your mouth is,” and when he got done saying that he added “you get what you pay for.” He was right.
Elizabeth Block, Oley Township