...And I don't mean your local Wal-Mart or Barnes and Noble. Shop in stores owned and operated by people who live in your community. Do it not just because it's the right thing to do but because it makes economic sense. A study commissioned by the San Francisco Locally Owned Merchants Alliance, and reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, says that local stores contribute much more to the communities they are located in than national chains do. They hire local professionals -- lawyers, accountants, etc. -- and buy supplies locally, and they also create more jobs than national chains.
Sure, big box stores may have cheaper prices. But think about this. If Wal-Mart's cheaper prices kill off all the locally owned stores that compete with it, then Wal-Mart has no more competition and can raise its prices as much as it wants. And what happens if Borders is the only bookstore in your area and it goes bankrupt? No more bookstore to browse in.