On commerce

It’s Day 359 of 15 Days to Flatten the Curve. Deb and I are well.

Full disclosure: Deb and I do business with a number of online sellers. We regularly have packages delivered to Second Chance Ranch by UPS, FedEx, USPS and private carrier. We’ve conducted online business with Amazon, Walmart, Sam’s Club, CVS, Kroger and dozens of other retailers. Our decisions are driven by needs and desires as well as price, availability, urgency and the inescapable WuFlu nonsense — just like your purchases are.

That said, our top priorities remain supporting small businesses, shopping locally and buying made-in-USA products. We’re proud to say that’s where we spend most of our discretionary money.

Approaching this exercise with a mindset grounded in free-market capitalism, however, it’d be foolish to think that commerce is some sort of zero-sum game. Small, local, American companies still have to compete for our business — and like it or not, they have to compete in a global marketplace that’s increasingly dominated by online channels.

Deb and I often spend a little more to patronize a local business or to buy an American-made product. All of us should do that, if we can, because it makes our communities stronger. But, like most of you, our resources are limited and, to be blunt about it, sometimes the wisest personal decision is to buy a product that’s made in another country or that’s far less expensive online.

It’s also worth considering, for example, that every sprawling department store selling all manner of imported goods employs hundreds of Americans — and those are local jobs. Not far from Second Chance Ranch, the world’s largest online retailer built an enormous distribution hub and brought more jobs, from warehousing to delivery. A European brewing company recently sited its first US operation a few miles from here, creating work in construction, production and hospitality.

And contrary to what a backward isolationist narrative may say, made-in-USA products are sold online, too. A whole lot of American businesses benefit greatly from e-commerce.

Again, it’s not a zero-sum game.

Anyway, that’s our perspective on commerce. Where you shop and what you buy is, quite literally, your own business.

You may have noticed a footnote at the end of yesterday’s post about the Acu-Rite temperature-monitoring gadget* we set up in the motorhome. Maybe this sentence was something you didn’t expect to see here on Ubi Libertas Blog:

“As an Amazon Associate, I may receive commissions from purchases made through links in this post.”

I added similar language to the blog’s “About” page:

As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

Those disclosures are required both by Amazon and by the Federal Trade Commission.

Monday evening, while discussing changes in our American Life, Deb and I decided to become an Amazon affiliate. That means we’ll occasionally post links to products available on Amazon, either on Ubi Libertas Blog or on our social-media pages. If you click on our link and buy the product, we’ll earn a small commission.

We made the move after noticing that a number of reputable folks in the RVing community do the same thing. We’re exploring other affiliations as well, both online and bricks-and-mortar. We don’t expect any of it to produce a windfall, certainly, but every little bit will help.

I can promise you that whenever I post a product link on this blog, it’ll be something that we bought and own, or that we have firsthand personal experience with. It’ll be a product that fills a need for us. I’ll be as candid as I can in describing our experience, warts and all.

Yes, some of those links will be to imported products. But I predict that many will be made-in-USA items, and I’ll be sure to identify them as such.

In fact, I bought two American-made products just the other day. On purpose. Online. On Amazon. They’re on the bus now. Stay tuned for a review or two.

As always, I appreciate your support of Ubi Libertas Blog. And if a future post highlights a product you judge would be useful in your American Life, I’d be grateful if you’d buy it through the links provided here.

As the saying goes, that’s how business gets done.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

*As an Amazon Associate, I may receive commissions from purchases made through links in this post.