When I was a kid in elementary school my grandmother once took me for a grocery shopping. She had 10 items or so in the list and she bought 5 from one grocery store and remaining items from another grocery store. I asked her on our way back why she didn’t get all items from the first shop. The first shop was owned by my relative and the second shop was owned by our family friend. She said that it is her responsibility as a member of community to take care of everybody’s well being. Another interesting thing happened in the first shop was that she bargained for low price on some items.The reason why she bargained was that she wanted to give some extra business to the other shop owner whose daughter was getting married in few months.
The shop owner invited the whole community for his daughter’s wedding and we felt that it was an event in our family. In most of the old houses in my village they used to have a space similar to porch. This place was used for people who are tired to take rest and for people who carry baskets of fruits and vegetables for selling. In summer my grandma used to keep cool water in a mud pot for people to drink. I felt it was a very generous act because she used to walk 2-3 kms to get that water.
The village had less than 100 families but I never felt lonely. When I moved to big metro in India I felt that somehow the sense of community is still existed albiet in a different form and I never felt lonely. When I moved to US I started to feel that the sense of community did not exist in the towns. Some countryside still has tight neighborhood and some sense of “one for all and all for one” exists.
People have started thinking themselves as just consumers instead of community members. They go shopping in malls and big retail shops and they don’t get the genuine welcome smile and a pleasant shopping experience. I think it is important for people to think of themselves as community members first and as consumers next. A friend of mine posed a very valid question that in most places in big cities people are mostly strangers to each other and how can you expect to form a community. I said that it was set of strangers who landed in a strange land and created a wonderful country, is it not possible to create a wonderful community?
Today the big business and retail shops are not creating enough jobs for people. Some of them don’t pay even a livable wage. They do mass layoffs to increase their share value.
“Have you ever heard that a company laid off its employees and reduced the pricing for its consumers?”
No is the answer most of the times. The reason why this exploitation continues is that people don’t know how powerful they can be collectively. Sometimes I feel like once in a month I have to go to my utility companies and pay bill in their counter instead of paying it online. I guess if consumers start to pay their bill in the office the companies will be forced to create jobs. I always feel happy that in holiday season stores hire more employees because lot of thanksgiving shopping happens in stores. Some people will think it is an absurd idea I agree if you have a good idea post it. The ultimate goal of a community should be to improve the wellness and well being of a community.
I will write more on this topic. I am very very upset that the employment in US is still subpar compared to other developed countries. Underemployment is being neglected like unemployment and the burden to society is being hidden. I hope people as a member of community feel powerful instead of feeling powerless consumers who are ripped off day-in and day-out by businesses.