Let’s hope shopping local stays sticky

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Alert Level 2. Again.

At least it’s familiar.

Last time, Alex and I spent the weekend with tape measures and electrical tape, moving furniture, marking out safe zones.

We may or may not have walked around our business with 2m tape measures stretched out in front of us, mouth-beeping to indicate potential crossing incursions (we did).

There may have been a comment or two about whether we were being “too professional” about our safety measures (there was).

There may have been a comment or two about whether local businesses, including cafes, were trying hard enough to comply (there was).

Then our newly formed industry association contacted Worksafe and it declared we were offices (as opposed to retail space) so the distance required was 1m, not 2m. Phew.

For Level 2 this time, we moved furniture and taped over the fading marks the sticky part had etched into tables the last time.

It took a couple of hours, not days.

As the French say, “the more things change, the more it’s the same thing”.

It felt familiar.

On Monday, Statistics NZ issued a press release about where we worked in Alert Level 4.

Its household labour force survey reckoned 42% of employed people worked from home, 35% did not work and 30% worked from outside of home.

It said that for 48% of people, working from home was not something they had always done in their current job.

It also said, by Level 1, 29% were still working from home, at least part of the time. This change looks sticky. It may yet become familiar.

Election promises are right on track in the “same, same” method – war on methamphetamine, more housing, more support for small businesses; all too familiar (hardly ever sticks).

But out here where small businesses talk, our inside track is with each other.

The subsidies have been welcomed.

Now the rubber hits the road.

We’re holding our (collective) breath.

Here in the Waitaki, no business is faceless – every single one is someone we know, someone our kids know, someone who supplies us, someone we supply – someone familiar.

The overseas research says shop local is short term before we all go back to buying cheapest.

I can tell you; your business community hopes not.

We hope that shop local proves sticky and that seeing your faces becomes even more familiar.