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Shop Local: Pothole Edition


You're driving home after a long day at work. You turn the corner that lets you know you're only 3 minutes from the cozy sweatpants that have been waiting for you all day. Then suddenly, BAM. Pothole. You don't remember that being there, but nevertheless, there it is. You get a bit irritated and continue on your way. Then, right as you go to turn into your driveway you see another hole forming by your mailbox. You go inside and huff-and-puff for a good 12 minutes while you fix some dinner. After dinner you've moved on from thinking about the pot hole, and you start browsing on your phone as a Grey's Anatomy repeat plays in the background. "That's a really sweet coffee mug." *click* "Oh, there's that book I've been wanting." *click* "I had no idea those shoes came in lime green." *click* Before you know it you're proceeding to the checkout and leisurely entering your credit card information just as Dr. Grey cuts open a brain or something.

This scenario is relatable, even if you don't watch Grey's Anatomy. But what's going on behind the scenes? What's actually happening here? One answer, you're actively contributing to that pothole that irritated you earlier. Put another way, you're irritating yourself.

Let me explain. You know when you go to check out at a local shop and the $16 book is now $17.44? Or those $5 socks are now $5.45? That's because of a beautiful little thing called "sales tax". And when that sales tax is added and you pay it, it then gets passed along to your state and city to spend. For now we're going to focus on the city portion of that (for Russellville, that's a mere 1.5% of the 9%) What does the city spend some of that on? Streets. Making sure there are no potholes to irritate people on their way home from work. But when you mindlessly buy those lime green shoes on Amazon (or other online retailer) they're not collecting the sales tax. And when they are it's usually state sales tax, not city and county. So your money does not pass go, does not collect sales tax, and goes directly out of your community into someone else's pockets. At this point you might realize that maybe you should try and find these items in local shops first, because then that pothole gets fixed. And you have a smooth ride home.

Obviously not everything can be purchased locally anymore. Though, if enough people start shifting their spending patterns where they can, we can help revive local shops and bring in newer ones that will enhance our lives more than we know. And- the extra sales tax that goes towards bettering our community won't hurt.


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