If Black Friday is supposed to represent the worst of the American consumer. Small Business Saturday is supposed to provide some type of counterbalancing effect to all the greed from the prior day. Today, you’re supposed to counter all your greed from the day prior with some altruistic shopping at small and local businesses.

On the surface this sounds like a good plan. Let’s support our small and local businesses after a day of big box shopping.

Okay, actually I don’t like this plan at all. Here’s why. People already spend a lot more on small businesses than they think they do. Own a house? Painters, pest control, insurance (through an agent), yard work, etc are all supporting small businesses. I personally just bought a desk made by a small local manufacturer and then finished at the store by the store owner himself. Did I go out of my way to do this? No, it was the desk I wanted.

Small business still makes the world go round. But what Small Business Saturday is promoting are simply small shops which are not competitive with national retailers. This is a sad but true reality. That doesn’t mean small businesses are in trouble. Like I said, there are many types of small business that are thriving. But competing with big box retailing and the internet just isn’t one of them. Let’s call this day what it is.

So today we can support small businesses (and American Express’s bottom line) to simply feel like we’re helping with something. But all this day will really do is bring awareness to these stores, that you’ll probably go back to ignoring come Sunday.

categories: business, weakend