Local is Lekker

There's a huge move these days to buy local, support local industries and businesses, keep currency within a community.

This afternoon I'm pondering a slightly different angle on that...

You see, I've been in the market for a new pair of jeans this week. After wearing the same ones basically every day for the past year, they've worn out (takkies too, but their day will come). They're no longer patchable or fixable, they're good only for oil changes and work that gets you dirty. Certainly not suitable for being seen out and about in! So it was time for jeans shopping.

First off, armed with a gift voucher worth R170 I headed to Woolworths who proudly offer many South African made things. Here in SA Woolies is a pretty high-end store and you'd expect decent quality. But not at the price I found. My poor voucher wouldn't cover more than a T-shirt and a pair of knickers! No jeans to be had there..

So I headed off to another local shop - Jet. Where they seem to cater for size 6 and 8 only....

In fact, every single local option I tried I came up short.

So this afternoon I went down to Dudu's Fashions, a Chinese-owned shop where my last pair of jeans came from, and which I know has them at less than R100 each. I walked out of there with two pairs and 60 bamboo clothes pegs for the equivalent of my Woolies gift voucher.

And on the way home I started thinking about the definition of "local support".

Yes, my jeans and pegs came all the way from China. I have no idea where the "ingredients" came from, where the cotton was grown and woven or what may have been added during manufacture. I do know the bamboo was probably Chinese grown - and is a sustainable product, yay! :-)

But the shop I bought them from is local. It's run by two people who have chosen to leave the country where they're at home, come to one where the language, the music, the culture is completely alien to them, and set up business. They live here - they're "local". They're struggling to survive just as the rest of us are. Yes, they may have brought their stock over from their homeland, and it may have travelled a very long way from grow to sell - which doesn't make it too local. But I'm supporting them here - and doing so because the other locals have simply priced themselves out of this particular target market, probably because "local" is such a buzz-word these days that they're capitalizing on the fact people will pay more for it.

Unfortunately I won't. I suspect I'm not the only one - most of us simply can't afford the luxury. Instead we're plugging our cash into the small guys who aren't faceless corporations.

Local is lekker - or however they say it in Chinese.