Saturday, January 10, 2009

Leading by example.

A woman once came to Gandhi and asked him to please tell her son to give up eating sugar. Gandhi asked the woman to bring the boy back in a week. Exactly one week later the woman returned, and Gandhi said to the boy, "Please give up eating sugar." The woman thanked the Mahatma, and, as she turned to go, asked him why he had not said those words a week ago."Gandhi replied, "Because a week ago, I had not given up eating sugar."

We lead by example. Words alone just don't do it. I dare not compare myself to Gandhi though. However, I feel it important enough to lead the Made in Michigan group by example. If a difference is ever going to made, than it starts with me.

I just came back from the grocery store. The grocery store is a Michigan based company. I'm off to a good start. We shop twice a week and I spent our budget allotment of $80. This is par for the course. However, keeping in mind the statistic that if each home spent $10 of their weekly food budget on Michigan made products, $36 million dollars would trickle back into our local economy each week. It was time to do my part. My wife gave me a list. I walked the clearly marked aisles and looked for the Made in Michigan signs by products. I found them. This store does a far better job at this than most other grocery stores. I managed to stick to the list with only two impulse purchases. Check out time. I stuffed two recycled paper bags full of groceries. My mission complete. When the handshakes were done and the dust cleared, I managed to purchase seven Michigan made items totaling $21.63. About 25% of the total bill. Wait, wait! I had a $10 off coupon for spending over $70. I'm cheap and I'm all smiles. A small victory in the name of Michigan. It started with me.

I'm not asking anyone to be a fanatic. However, fanatics are always welcome. Change your buying habits just $10 at a time. You'll get to know the products, it takes time. Truth: some products are more expensive, some products are less expensive, most are the same price. If your grocer doesn't have Made in Michigan labels, insist that they do. It demonstrates a solid relationship between retailer and producer while drawing the customer to the product. Let's face it, if it helps sell more groceries, your grocer will do it. It's a stimulus package without a bailout. Really though, it means jobs. It starts with you.

We're in a hushed economic state of emergency. No one wants to say it, but I will. It's politely called a recession because like all major storms it doesn't exactly fit the textbook definition of a something worse-a depression. We're all in this together regardless of in-state geography, age, gender, race, or employment status. Don't expect the other 49 states to feel sorry for us or understand our situation-they won't. Take action for just $10 each week. The required effort is minimal while the results are extraordinary.

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