We are watching the death of small business in America.
As people trample over one another to get deals in giant corporate big box stores on Black Friday they are also trampling over small businesses.
It’s no small thing.
We may get bargains but at what price?
Shopping the American Dream
Mom and Pop stores once drove our economy. Once a big part of the American Dream was independence, including coming up with an idea and starting your own business.
Now, Mom and Pop are destined to live in the shadows casts by the big box stores.
In an attempt to support small locally owned business, Small Business Saturday was created- a forlorn holiday anchored between the big behemoths of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
When shopping for the American Dream, a small business is often no longer on the list.
Long before the notion of a Wal-Mart, Home Depot, or Best Buy, a poignant ad run by John Hancock Life Insurance in 1951 was a veritable ode to the backbone of capitalism-the small businessman.
Now the success of small business seems as quaint as this vintage ad. The copy reads:
“There’s a man in this country who spends his days doing exactly what he wants to do.”
“He works hard and he worries plenty, but laughs a lot too and he sleeps well. He’s seen men who take it easier and men who strike it richer. But he wouldn’t change places with any of them…and you wouldn’t want him to.”
“In the old days you’d find this man swinging a hammer in a blacksmith shop or ankle-deep in hickory shavings, building wagons for the pioneers. You’d find him baking bread in a wood fired oven, sewing a jib for a clipper ship or making a clock that would run forever.”
“And over his doorway you’d find a sign that said I. Jones, Prop.”
“The country is bigger now and its business is busier, but we still can’t do without I. Jones Prop.”
“He’s the man behind the counter in a roadside diner, selling coffee and hamburgers to the drivers of the night rolling trucks.”
“He’s the scholarly old fellow bent over a lathe in a little machine shop, turning out parts of such honest quality that a big factory will buy them rather than make its own.”
“He’s the owner of the corner candy store, who sees to it that you will always have a pack of cigarettes, a newspaper, a rubber band, a box kite., a doll carriage, and a quart of ice cream for dessert.”
“He’s the moving man, the gas station man, the man who fixes the roof, the man who adjusts the television set. He’s the man who will cash your check when you run short, or forget to send his bill if you’ve been sick.”
“He’s the man who did business with your father and the man who will be doing business with your son.”
“The textbooks have a dry name for I Jones, Prop. They call him The Small Businessman. You’ll look a long time before you find a bigger man anywhere. Bigger in self-respect. Bigger in usefulness to his neighbors.”
“Bigger in influence on a national way of life that lets any man be his own master.”
Support your local business in your hometown.
© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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