Resistance is NOT Futile

I began this post a few days before the events of January 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C. when rioters and others broke into the Capitol Building causing great terror. Because of that, I was tempted to change the title of this post for fear it might seem inflammatory. But given the passage of time, I decided that it is the right title and the right idea: Resistance is NOT Futile. My only regret is not providing a Star Trek Borg meme or GIF for you.

Although it has not been my biggest concern in what has been this “Season of COVID-19” the desire to shop safely has expanded a process that was already in full swing with, in my opinion, some disastrous economic results.

As more and more people have switched to shopping online, many of us have mourned at the closing of flag ship stores, and local versions of stores. Thus creating, what to me, is a vicious cycle. Shop online, so the stores close, so you have to shop online.

Black background white letters that say "Sorry we Are Closed"
Photo by Anna Tarazevich from Pexels

When people talk about jobs created by the online shopping trend, but don’t talk about the local jobs that are lost, they are leaving out a crucial piece of the puzzle. I was going to say “on-line shopping frenzy,” but see what I did there? I made a more moderate word choice.

I buy books from Amazon, probably way too many, and I want them to do well, but not at the expense of brick and mortar stores.

Several months ago our local Wal-Mart started offering the option of ordering on line and picking up in person and many people I know really celebrated that. This was pre-COVID, but it turned out to be just in the nick of time.

During our state lockdown, our local grocery store began offering call in and pick up options, and maybe order online. I didn’t notice because my preference would still be to go in the store.

Picture of a woman in a blue dress shopping in the fruit and vegetable section of a store.
Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels

Call me reactionary, I have been called worse. But having someone else pick out my food, choosing which cut of meat, what quality of oranges, and do they check the feel of the bread to be sure it is soft and fresh, or just pull it from the shelf and scan it? This does not work for me and even less so for my husband.

Even when it comes to clothes, I have ordered some clothes online and done so recently. But, I prefer to go to the store in person, to see the color and feel the fabric, etc.

Okay, so I am reactionary, picky and stubborn. I am especially resistant, and perhaps a little scared when I hear people make pronouncements like, “This is the way it is going to be.” “We will shop on line, we will not shake hands or hug people.”

When I hear the words “Contact-less” anything, well, I just get sad. No, I do not want COVID or any other awful disease. However, I cannot help but think that historically, including recent history, our culture can be all too quick to jump on the bandwagon, and go along with whatever the latest thing is, without any deep thought or discernment.

We need some of our parents’ and grandparents’ questioning, “If all your friends______________________ (fill in the blank to whatever generationally appropriate option you wish) does that mean that you should too?”

Shop Local

Another picture with black background and white letters.
Photo by Anna Tarazevich from Pexels

I am going to start this section with an important disclaimer. My blog is not monetized and I am not an affiliate of any of the companies I am going to mention here. But vague is vague, and I don’t know how to explain the situation without naming names or name dropping, all in the name of clear communication.

More than ever we need our local stores. I shamefully admit when I first moved to my “new” hometown I referred to the local grocery store in unflattering terms, because I did not know any better. No local groceries can compete with the box stores, but I have learned, that it can be worth paying a few cents more, even ten or twenty centers more on some items to get personal service. I can get in and out of our local store faster than I can get into Wal-Mart from their parking lot.

I suppose I should add for clarity, and for family and friends who work at Wal Mart, that I do shop there regularly; often enough to have favorite cashiers and managers.

My local grocery store is not going to be putting in self-checkouts, yet they are mindful of every possible precaution, including mask wearing, plexiglass barriers between the cashiers and customers, social distancing and uplifting messages abound.

Also, our local grocery store has a huge community spirit and frequently do whatever they can to support local causes, including donations and discounts.

Our restaurants are essentially “mom and pop” restaurants. Good cooking, great food, no chains. Eleven years ago friends came to town to visit and wanted to take us out to eat. “Where is the closest chain restaurant?” my friend asked. The Perkins had not yet been built in the neighboring town, which had the only fast food restaurants in a fifteen mile radius. Perkins is still the only chain restaurant in a fifteen mile radius, again, except for the fast food restaurants, all of which are eight miles north.

One of the most difficult things in my resolve to shop local, is clothes. There are some things I will buy at Wal-Mart, (casual clothes) but I prefer Macy’s for a relaxed professional look. But Macy’s moved out of the closest two malls (fifty miles in opposite directions) and there is not one within 100 miles, so I shop at Kohls and my new favorite Christopher & Banks. But if they go away, I may have to learn to sew, and knit, because again, I want to see color and feel fabrics and try things on without having to ship them back. Reactionary? Maybe, or just stubborn. I will own it.

This was brought home to me recently when I received a sweater I had ordered online. It is a nice sweater and I wore it to church, but the color was not as bright and the weight of the sweater was thinner than I expected. Attractive for layering, but not one I would choose if I wanted to feel warmer.

My husband and I have always practiced personal boycotts. If, for instance, we find a television commercial for a product annoying or offensive, we simply will not use it. We don’t need to protest with signs or drag our friends into our preferences, but that company does not get our money.

With all of the negativity in the world right now, I worried that this post might be too negative, too grouchy, too 70 year old woman carping. But a few nights ago, I got an email from my new favorite, Christopher & Banks, informing me that they had made a decision to close all of their brick and mortar stores, but will continue their online business.

Black and white picture of a clothes rack with empty hangers.
Photo by Elina Krima from Pexels

My thoughts went to the women who work in the store I frequent. I do not know their names, but they have been helpful, and welcoming and at my last two visits we have talked about the value of shopping in person and the concerns that the store might go in a different direction. I am sad for them, as I was for my favorite sales staff at what was the Macy’s that used to be at that mall. Now, soon, there will be another empty store at our rapidly emptying mall, and at all the malls where they were located.

I will add them to my prayers, as they work to run the sales and do the work knowing how limited their time is and not knowing what they will do next. Praying that doors will open to them, and any necessary training or retraining might be available. Heaven knows there are not a lot of similar stores in our area where they could get employed.

I have to decide what I am going to do in response; will I continue to buy their clothes that I like online, or put all my eggs in one basket, Kohls? I might really have to dust off my sewing machine!

My point in all this is, we do not have to go along with the crowd, even if everyone else is giving up on brick and mortar stores, and shopping online, or calling people names, or any other activity that everyone else seems to be doing that is tearing at the fabric of our lives. Change happens but, resistance is not futile. Stand your ground, be true to yourself and listen, listen, listen. And shop local.

Not holding back the tide,

Michele

Copyright 2021 Michele Somerville, The Beach Girl Chronicles and https://msomervillesite.WordPress.com

Linking with: Natalie the Explorer’s Coffee Share #3 and Denyse Whelan’s #Life This Week

Picture of a grocery cart with some items in it, fcing an ailse with bottles and other items.
Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels

Published by msomerville2014

About: Michele Somerville is a wife, mother, stepmother, grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin and friend. She lives with her husband and their dog Sheba. Sheba is their fourth rescue dog in 30 years. She is a retired ordained United Methodist Elder and serves two churches part-time in North Central Pennsylvania. She obtained her Bachelors’ Degree in 1999 from Mansfield University and her Master of Divinity in 2004 and Doctor of Ministry in 2016, both from Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York. My Doctor of Ministry Thesis was:” Prophetic Words of Grace: Biblical Storytelling in the Local Church.” Michele began writing and performing character monologues for worship in 2008. She began by asking the question about nameless characters in the Bible, “What would they say if they could speak for themselves?” and then using her theological education and experience of the human condition to attempt an answer that is both academic and creative. Much of what you will read here are memories from growing up in a tourist town, in a bar, in the 1960’s, shaggy dog stories about our rescue dogs, life in a small town, and stories of faith and hope. Throughout her life she has lived in many states, including small towns, large towns and cities. She lived in Rota, Spain, for nine challenging months. Despite all the places she have lived since moving away from home in 1970,Michele is at the heart of all things Jack and Maggie’s daughter, and a beach girl from Onset, Massachusetts.

31 thoughts on “Resistance is NOT Futile

  1. Good for you for resisting, Michele. I shop in a local grocery store too. Even though we may pay a few cents more, it is worth it to shop in a store where the profits will stay in the community. When I was in charge of the science fair, the store made generous donations for prizes. Same with the local pizza shop, bakery, and other businesses. None of them were chains. Bill and I never eat at chain restaurants if we can help it. We would rather find a little local mom & pop business to give our money to. we do have our own little boycotts too, but they are usually for political reasons.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I made a run into Williamsport today to go to Christopher and Banks and Kohls. I picked up to sweaters on sale at Christopher and Banks and talked to one of the employees a bit. They are closing all the stores on the same day. I think it would be really hard to try to look for another job while you are working sales, and probably extra hours, and trying to put a brave face on it. I think about that scene from “You’ve Got Mail” after Kathleen has decided to close the store. Unfortunately probably very few small towns have clothing stores. The ones that are in neighboring towns are more sports clothing and casual. I wish we could bring clothing stores back to small towns. But we will do what we can. But yes, I think personal boycotts are great. Best and blessings, Michele

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  2. Michele, Good for you to support local stores. I shop local as much as possible, too. During this covid-19 pandemic, and with the current lockdown where I live, I go out to buy groceries about once a week at a Canadian family-owned grocery store. Thank you for linking up with my Weekend Coffee Share blog party. Have a nice weekend!

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  3. Thank you Natalie, I am still reading my way through. Good for you right back. If we don’t shop local, we won’t have the stores. We are also doing something many others are doing. We try to order take out from local restaurants at least twice a month. Probably could do it every week, but I try to at least do it on pay days. We try to balance out where we order from and I have to balance the calories, but we do it to show them some love. We have ordered more to go meals since COVID, way more, than we would normally eat out. Thanks for inviting me to the Coffee Share. My drink was great! Michele

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  4. We shopped o line a few times in the eRly days of the pandemic but because everyone was doing it, the post service was inundated. It took 6 weeks for our parcels to arrive so we didn’t do any more online. I would much prefer face to face shopping and find it very sad how many shops haven’t reopened since the lockdown ended. We really don’t shop much these days, just for necessities. #weekendcoffeeshare

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jennifer. Six weeks would be really frustrating, for sure. My husband was very sick a few weeks ago and I accepted a friend’s offer to pick up food for us, I used the Wal-Mart Shop on line option then he just picked it up. Glad I don’t have to shop like that often. And like I said, I squeeze the bread before it goes into my cart, I want it to be soft. I can’t imagine the official store shoppers would do that, or perhaps even should do that! #weekendcoffeeshare Michele

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  5. I appreciate the ability that technology gives us to do things like buy groceries online but I don’t like it much as a preference. It kept us safe (my husband is high risk) but I find it so much easier to buy food in person. I cannot buy any kind of clothes or shoes online, I have weird shaped feet so few things fit me – and for clothes I have to sit and crouch and wiggle to see if I will like them. If it’s not 100%, then back on the shelf.

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  6. You are My Hero!!! I refuse to buy anything online if I can avoid it. I will drive thirty miles to avoid going online I just don’t trust them. I have seen too many things go smoothly only to get worse once they have their hooks in me. I won’t even buy books online. I go to the store and order them and pick them up. That way i can feel them and know I have what I paid for. Viva La Resistance

    Laugh Today and Tomorrow

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good for you Mr. Ohh! I have to believe that one person, one act can make a positive difference. I look every cashier in the eye and ask them how they day is going. Even if I am in a rush, one of the biggest losses is that personal contact! Have a great weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree, it is a real shame when stores close up shop due to everything going online. I hate buying clothes online because they never fit me and, like you, I like to feel the texture of the fabric and see the fit of the garment before I buy it. Regards, Christina

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Michelle ,you’ve said a lot here that many of us are thinking. I smiled at your description of someone else choosing your groceries. My husband says the same thing and although we have used ‘shoppers’ a few times, he prefers to personally tend that task. I have my ‘local circuit’ for clothes shopping and household items, but have slowly watched many of them close. My daughter is an avid on-line shopper and has taught me how to ‘read the fine print’ so to speak, when it comes to refunds, exchanges, quality and fit reviews, etc. so I buy most of my clothes on-line now. My wardrobe is simple, so it has been easy to narrow to just a few stores. We try to buy local as much as possible, but being bargain hunters, that is sometimes hard to do. So, bottom line with me is to balance both on-line and in-person shopping, for as long as possible. For the record, I don’t see this post as negative or grouchy at all. It is simply honest and even a bit nostalgic. Life is changing. We will adapt, and hopefully thrive again at some point.

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  9. Thank you Suzanne for taking the time to read and comment on this post. We all need to do what works for us, my husband is even more reactionary than I am.; but I love soft bread! I went to Kohl’s and Christopher and Banks yesterday. C&B are in full store closing mode with discounts and “no returns” stamps. It was sad. I overheard one of the cashiers say that all the stores are closing on the same day. My husband has always been better at reading the ads and looking for sales than I have. He used to do most of the food shopping and I miss that! He specialized at BOGO’s! We get what we have to at Wal-Mart and shop the sale ads at two other stores. I should have said when I have bought clothes at Macy’s or Kohl’s or C&B, if it is not on sale, it is not coming home. But some of the dress clothes I have gotten from Macy’s are marked “everyday values” and discounts don’t apply to them. I too dress fairly simply, even for church I wear dress slacks and tops, layers when I can. At home I live in jeans and tops and sweaters when i is cold.. i \Iknow that change is inevitable and you say a word that is important “BALANCE”. I have been thinking lately of typing that in large letters and posting it in my office, for a daily reminder. Blessings, Michele #Weekendcoffeeshare

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  10. Hi Michele, You have some great stuff here, but I also wanted to welcome you to our weekend coffee share. I’m one of the old timers here. One of the reasons I blog is to share my story collection, but I also am in it for the chance to get to know folks, readers and writers.

    This was a horrible election season, the worst I recall, but we may disagree on what was wrong so, this has become a topic I avoid because I like people more that I do winning what political discussions have devolved into.

    I love you view on buying online v live shopping in actual stores where you can touch something and maybe even talk to someone.. I’ve not run a store of my own but am amazed at how many have reinvented themselves to survive. I interviewed for a job at Amazon once, many years ago and thought going in, what a great potential was before me but I came out almost hoping they did not make me an offer because I learned some things that I would not have enjoyed as an employee. The good news is that they did not make me an offer.

    What I love doing now is creating and sharing short stories, mostly humorous, but some have strong messages. I hope you stop by and check some out.
    If a quick 10 minute laugh appeals, all of my DOT stories are: that short, told in first person, based on real events and, I think, are funny. Here’s a sample If interested.
    https://garyawilsonstories.wordpress.com/the-prom-date-adventure/

    Regardless – welcome to our get together.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Gary, thank you so much for your warm welcome and introduction. I read the story about the prom date. I love writing and telling my stories, I do a little fiction but much o my blog is memoir, growing up in a bar in a beach town in the 1960’s. I have just been blogging for a little over a year, and celebrated my one year blogiversary on December 18th. But before that lots of academic stuff and professional. I was not a great student in high school and went back to school in the mid-1990’s to get my BA and couldn’t stop. I love learning and I love playing with words. Hope to see more of your writing and to be back here next weekend. My weekends are pretty full, but I did not resist (did you see what I did there?) the invitation to join the Coffee Share. Best and blessings, Michele

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  11. Wow, quite the gentle revolutionary, aren’t you, Michele! Who knew! I’m afraid we combine both … our daughter bought a load of clothes online for her birthday, but we use local stores where possible. In thew larger chain stores, like Tesco and SuperValu, I avoid using the automated tills, to keep real people employed!

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    1. Still waters my friend, still waters!

      The day may come when we have no choice, I buy somethings on line. The seminary book store did not make very much on me, because I could get used books cheaper from Amazon, so I did. We are an hour’s drive from the mall, which is more than half empty now. We often combine shopping trips with my husband’s doctor’s appointments. We buy more in person than online, but it is difficult to avoid. Best and blessings, Michele #Weekendcoffeeshare

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  12. This is a tough subject now in these days. Since Covid started I’ve done most of my grocery shopping online. We have four grocery shops nearby that delivers. Two out of the four have knowledgeable personnel that know exactly what to choose when they are getting my order ready, I stick with those two stores. I order groceries online every 3-4/weeks, big orders for my family. In between I shop at the closest store when I need extra fruit. I enjoyed reading your post. I hope you are having a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It definitely is, when our lockdown first started in April, I was ready to switch to ordering online, but my husband was not having it. We live in a small town, I think our general population is 1400 for our borough and we are about 20 minutes to the WalMart, and hour to the closest shopping mall. Great that you can feel people are knowledgeable about your preferences. Thanks very much for reading the post and commenting. My first Coffee Share, although I have been following Natalie for over 6 months, great to meet a new group of folks. Michele

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  13. Hello Michele, we are well and truly on the same page regarding this. I’ve shopped online only a handful of times (and I do mean less than 5 times) because I really care about local businesses, wherever I find myself living. When we lived in Moscow they introduced ticket machines in the metro, which were much faster and more convenient to buy your ticket from than queuing up for a ticket at the ticket window. But my husband and I continued using the ticket windows, because if you don’t use them, they’ll be deemed unprofitable or unnecessary, and they’ll disappear. The same with brick and mortar shops.
    We shop weekly for our groceries in one of the big chain supermarkets in the nearest big town, but we have made a decision to visit our little local village shops two or three times a week to pick up a few small items that we might run out of and need. We have 2 small grocery shops, one DIY shop, and one which sells everything from clothes, to metal farm buckets, to wool, to saucepans… We hope that if we continue to support their businesses that they will make enough money to stay open. If village shops close then the village will die.
    The past 12 months have brought a lot of changes to our lives, and I’m quite disappointed at how much people are embracing ‘contactless’ and online living and shopping. I’m actually quite afraid for our children’s future.
    Wishing you a lovely week ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HI Cheryl, Thanks for sharing. We are in agreement, this is so important. At the same time it is such a struggle for many people. I think the trends get started easily enough, with people not giving a thought to where it would lead. I have struggled with this as a pastor too, “contact-less Communion, and other things. I suppose we all have to do the best we can with what we have, hold steady, and shop local. Thank you again. And I enjoyed the video, I watched the whole thing. I spent part of a year in Rota Spain, and it reminded me of some of the homes there, this was the mid 1970’s. At the time, couples tended to marry later, because homes were unfurnished, that meant you had to buy a water heater, stove, etc, not just furniture, so it took a lot of saving up. Blessings, Michele

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  14. Good on you for sticking with what matters and what is important. We have had to make changes as you did too. We had one only home delivery of groceries and I did that for ease of mine as shortages were happening. Since then we have learned much more about shopping safely and we have one smaller chain grocery store which looked out for older people and some with little income in a kind way as opposed to the big 2 chains. However, my concern is for the little shops from the bigger clothing groups that I have always frequented before COVID as the clothes suited me and I always try things on. Now, some of those stores are gone. No chance to even say goodbye. The situation is not great and we will continue to see more of this sadly for the employment of those people.

    Thank you for linking up this week for #lifethisweek. Great to see you and your blog here! Next week it’s about #sharingoursnaps and that’s an optional prompt. Join in each week for a friendly connection in a great community on-line. I am very grateful to you all. Denyse.

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  15. Your heading photo is tranquil and beautiful, Michele. I do not think anything you say or do could be inflammatory, Michele. Your intentions are always good. The whole online shopping trend is interesting. I listen to some interesting podcasts when I am driving and one highly respected speaker made a case for online shopping was inevitable before COVID. Not my opinion, just listening. I do all my grocery shopping yet many friends do the online thing. I wholeheartedly agree with you about “sad.” You make a good point about still using our good judgement after weighing out the pros and cons and the bombardment of information.

    We try to shop locally, yet some items are not feasible. You bring up a good point about community spirit. I like to support these businesses. I am also with you how I am concerned about people losing their incomes. An excellent post, Michele, and I could give many examples where “resistance is not futile”. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HI Erica/Erika, thanks for stopping by and for your comments. The decision to shop in person or online is definitely personal and depends on context and availability. I have on occasion seen the owner of our local food store shopping in WalMart (but maybe not for food). There is one store 30 minutes away that sells similar clothing lines to Macy’s but they are a one store operation so their prices aren’t great. And as I said, I don’t buy anything in the clothing line that is not on sale! Early in the Pandemic, stores in the US started posting signs about a cash shortage, urging customers to use exact change or credit. The self checkouts switched to only accepting credit cards. There are some times when I chose to use a card, but I really balked at that and did not believe the signs. As my mother would say, “It got my Irish up” and my father would say…I am not allowed to quote him, bc I am a pastor, and because it is not family friendly blog language (ha). Oh, one last thing, I don’t often do very good with pictures, but tht pictures was a big gift to me, I took it on my lastl day in Massachusetts in 2018 and just as I was ready to leave the park by the Cape Cod Canal, I saw the sail boat. One day soon I want to get it printed on canvas. But it was a lucky shot, because of the sun I couldn’t see anything but black on my phone screen. It is a much more peaceful picture than any of the menacing “Borg” pictures from Star Trek. And, not last, you have been on my mind of late, I was so glad to see your name pop up. Best and blessings, Michele

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am with you, Michele, about only buying clothes on sale. At this moment I am living in tights and some form of comfy shirt. I understand how it is different for you. Interesting how the picture was a gift for you. I get lucky with photos sometimes, because I take hundreds of pictures. I saw your other note and I will find my comment in a file. We will connect again, soon.xx

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    2. I am so bummed. You sent me a comment on “stronger than the cookie’ and it ended up in my spam folder. I started to read it and when I deleted the other posts that were spam, I lost yours! Can you resend it? I think I read about 3 words and decided to delete the stuff I had clicked on, but i took everything! Or, I can send you my email address. Thanks! Michele

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      1. I tried a couple of times, Michele and I did not see comment so I switched to Google Chrome. This happens to me sometimes, too. No problem. Thanks for telling me. xx

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