AmEx, the Great and Patronizing
Black Weekend / It was a good week for credit card companies. A Trans-Union report was published last week saying Americans’ credit card debt and delinquency has risen over the previous quarter. And more than three million people on Facebook like American Express’s Small Business Saturday “movement” (shop at small businesses with your AmEx card and amass mediocre benefits). That might be impressive to those who think FB-numbers are statistics to value, but really, how genuine is a movement initiated by the marketing team of a debt-creating credit card corporation? This might seem like a pessimistic take on a good philosophy, but it’s not wrong to question American Express’s intentions. And sure, hopefully local businesses will benefit from AmEx’s campaign, but the idea shouldn’t be exclusive to American Express cardholders or clients.
“[The idea is] still pretty solid,” admits Jane Sawyer, the Hawaii district director of the Small Business Administration. “I support anything that will help us look to small businesses as a viable option for our purchases, whether it’s a holiday or not,” she adds. “We vote with our dollars, right? [Local businesses] create jobs, are the backbone of our economy and are a great place” to look for that uniquely tailored gift. She illustrates that shopping locally can be “a reflection of local life, [while] building our community and creating the community we want.” Buying from a local boutique that sells locally designed art and clothing supports the artists these businesses support. But you don’t need an AmEx card to do that.
Cardholder or no, go big by shopping small this weekend. Need ideas? See the sidebar for some of our favorite stores, any one of which is sure to have just-the-right-gift-for-the-man-woman-mistress-boss-in-laws-ex-or-all-of-the-above in your life. Biggies like Nordstrom and Target? We’ll save you for the post-holiday sales.