Small Businesses and Side Hustle

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If I’ve learned anything during the apocalypse, it’s that it’s a great time to take stock and re-evaluate, you know, everything.

For example, I’ve come to realize that supporting local small businesses is really important to me. As friends and family will attest, I get very… passionate when I talk about the plague that is Amazon and why purchasing from them should be a last resort only. (I could write an entire post on that alone, but I won’t because apparently my anger gets “frightening.”)

Why are small businesses so important to me? Because I want my money to stay in my community. I don’t want it disappearing into the pockets of CEOs and stockholders already bloated with wealth that they never allow back into the hands of their consumers. (The mythos of dragons hoarding gold and jewels in their cave never felt so real.)

I’d rather pay more, or honestly go without.

Photo by Rachel Claire on

It’s a mentality that I think a lot of my generation is embracing, probably because we’re the poorest generation.

Don’t believe me? The average family income in Canada went from 50k in 1975 to 70k in 2015, while the average house in Toronto in 1975 was 60k and in 2015 it was 700k. That means a house costs about 12 times as much as it did in 1975, but wages only went up 1.4%.

Which leads me to the other problem. The minimum wage in Saskatchewan is criminally low. The cost of living in Saskatchewan is 14% higher than the national average, but we have the lowest minimum wage, just $11.45 an hour. That’s after a 13 cent increase in October, 2020. I know. Don’t spend it all in one place, kids! I guess they felt they better rein it in after that whopping 26 cents they raised it the year before.

And in case you’re thinking 13 cents more an hour might make a noticeable difference, first of all, that’s very dumb, and second, I did the math. Working a full time 40 hour work week, that’s an extra $1.04 a day, $5.20 a week or $270.40 a year. It also means that if you work full time, you’ll gross $23, 816 a year, bringing you in just under the poverty line.

No wonder most of us also have a side hustle. We make things, have Twitch streams, Patreons, work side jobs, trying desperately to make progress in a world that remains resolutely blind to the problem. Which is that companies, especially large corporations that are beholden to stock holders to constantly increase profits, never, ever willingly increase wages. So I’m not giving them my money any more. And you shouldn’t either.

Instead, I’ll invest in the small, local businesses that bring unique charm and expertise to my community, especially the ones that step up and pay a living wage. I want my community and the people in it to thrive. So now, I do a little more research before I buy things. Is it more work? Yes. Do I feel better about the things I buy? Absolutely. Do my friends and family astral plane out of their bodies whenever I start up this rant? Ahem. Yes. But I still think it’s important, dammit. So I’m sharing it with you. Do with it what you will.

And I promise next week I’ll get back to lighter content. You know, like murder.

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