Starving David, Feeding Goliath

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Photo courtesy @gabrielbassino

D.J. Neeley | Right Wing Daily Brief

I’ve faced plenty of giants in my life. In 4th grade a bully—let’s call her, er, him, Jack—beat the living tar out of me on the playground during recess. I picked up my bloody body off the ground and hid in the bathroom for the next hour. I’ve always been brave like that. 

The teacher eventually tracked me down and ran interference but I learned a hard lesson that day—it’s tough being the little guy. I also learned that it helps to have someone stick up for you and take a stand against the big bad bullies like Janie. Er, Jack. 

As a small business owner in a rural area, I still know the woes of being a “little guy.” There are corporate giants all around me threatening to steal my customers away. Throw in a pandemic, and it’s easy to see that the Goliaths get most of the business while us Davids get starved to death. We’re the kids on the playground with the bloody noses and the bullies are gloating over us with their COVID-induced surge of success. 

Don’t believe it’s happening? 

Where are you buying your groceries since COVID19 hit? Big box store, right? They offer online ordering and front-door delivery service. Why would you choose the smaller grocery store you used to frequent? They can’t offer the same benefits and right now it’s all about convenience. . .right? 

Where do you purchase all of those other things you can’t live without? Three guesses and the first two don’t count: Amazon, right? With the click of a button you can have it at your front door in 48 hours. Meanwhile local stores are closing right and left, victims of the lockdowns. 

Where do you get that steak and baked potato when you have a hankerin’ for it? No doubt you Door Dash or Grub Hub it straight to your front door. The local restaurant you might’ve chosen isn’t on their list, but you’re not really thinking about the restaurant owner when you place your order. You just want food. 

Let’s say you need a new shirt or a pair of jeans. It’s easy to order them online, so you’re good to go. But that local store is folding, another David beaten out by the mighty Goliath. That poor shop owner is hiding in the bathroom, hoping the teacher will come to his rescue. But she’s too preoccupied to jump into action, so he’s on his own. 

Now, I’m not saying this whole pandemic-thing was some sort of concerted effort to make the rich richer. But, let’s get real: The Goliaths of this world already had enough money in their pockets before COVID hit. It’s the little guy who runs the local tire shop that I’m worried about. It’s my next-door neighbor, who use to have a shop selling boutique clothes. Stress “used to have.” It’s the lady who runs the bakery on the corner. The “Closed Indefinitely” sign just went up on her front window. 

In the Bible story, David reached for five smooth stones, convinced he could take Goliath down. I got to thinking, there might be a few “stones” we can grab hold of to help our local businesses during this rough patch we’re going through: 

  • Don’t always go with what’s easiest. Sure, Amazon might be able to deliver by tomorrow, but if a local store can provide what you need, consider giving them your money. They need it. Desperately. 
  • For those business that have folded, set up (or contribute to) GoFundMe sites to help the owners out. If enough people band together, those folks can weather this storm (and possibly live to open another day). 
  • Social media is alive and active right now. Choose one business per day to highlight. Make a big splash and encourage others to help out. “Like” local businesses on Facebook. Pay attention to their specials and help them spread the word. 
  • Go straight to the source. Instead of ordering from Door Dash, consider curbside pickup. Door Dash is charging that (already tightly-squeezed) business a fee for their service, after all. Help them avoid paying it. 
  • Do something nice for a local business owner. Say your friend Mack at the car repair shop is struggling to stay afloat. Consider giving Mack a gift card to a local restaurant. That way you’re helping two local business owners at once.
  • Pay full price without complaining. It goes without saying that this isn’t the time to be stingy with your money. 
  • Treat others kindly. When you enter a local shop, don’t complicate their already-difficult situation by making a scene about mask mandates. Wear it—or don’t wear it—but don’t take out your frustrations on that poor business owner. He’s not the one who made the rules, after all. 

Remember, the story of David and Goliath ended in a miraculous way. David took that giant down. I’m not saying we’ll put the big guys out of business, nor would we want to. But I am saying that some of that money could be spread around like seeds in the ground to keep local businesses alive. And that, my friends, is the very best way to wipe a bloody nose during these difficult days. 

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