The Goat, The Fence, And The Myth Of Greener Grass

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My nearest neighbors are goats. At least once a week, I hear one bleating "bloody murder," so I look to see what all the fuss is about, The rest of the herd's already grazing 100 yards down the hillside, so I follow the fence line back to the sound, and sure enough — every time — there he is, head stuck in the fence: that goat who thinks the grass is greener on the other side.

Twenty-some acres of lush greenery behind him, and he's got to have that one flower just out of reach.

Choosing to spend your money outside of your community is just like going for that flower. Moral of the story: don't get stuck in the fence.

Here, in Cannon County, we have an abundance of resources. We are like that flourishing green hillside within the fence. Unfortunately, like that prodigal goat, we don't realize we're sitting on a gold mine, so we go looking for gratification elsewhere. The fact is, the only thing you can get in Murfreesboro or Nashville, that you can't find here, is a traffic jam.

Whatever goods or services you may want or need, someone, some place, in Cannon County, is waiting for your business. You're more likely to see them advertising with a business card and a thumb tack than a billboard or neon sign, but remember, big business doesn't mean better business. Wal-mart doesn't care if they sell you rotten strawberries, but a local farmer will make sure he offers only quality produce to his customers. He's got a reputation to uphold. Not only does he want your business, he needs it.

Quality. Convenience. Affordability. These are the factors we consider as consumers when deciding where to spend our hard-earned money. We've been seduced by mega-chains and mini-malls into believing that they've got all these bases covered. Sure, you can hop in the car, make the 30-minute drive to Wally World, fill up your buggy and your gas tank, and be done with it. You've saved a few cents here and there, got everything on your list at one place, but have you come out any better in the long run? The drive back home should give you plenty time to reflect upon how your decision, as a consumer, affects you and your community.

Those precious pennies you saved on ground-beef, sweet potatoes, and toilet paper are blown out your exhaust pipe before the speed limit turns to 65. That two dollars you saved filling your tank almost makes up for the reduced gas-mileage and poor performance you're getting from diluted, ethanol "enriched" gasoline. And spending five or 10 more dollars and an hour of your life driving to that one-stop shop is more convenient, right?

These are the obvious reasons why spending your money close to home makes more sense. Probably the most important reason, however, is the tax revenue. When you spend a dollar outside of Cannon County, the tax you pay on top of it goes to that county or city's government.

By shopping in Murfreesboro, you improve their schools, roads, and quality of life, not your own. Every dollar spent elsewhere equals a two-dollar loss for our community. This makes growth impossible and results in local businesses closing left and right. If we keep going outside of our community to find what we need, pretty soon, we'll have to leave it to find anything at all. We'll drive our kids thirty minutes every morning, over pothole- ridden roads, through ghost-towns, to  brand-new schools in other counties that we paid for.

We've got everything we need right here, at home, in Cannon County, our county. We don't have a superstore with a 10-acre parking lot, and we prefer it that way. Our gems are spread throughout the county, not consolidated into a single strip-mall. You may have to visit two or three stores, instead of one, to get everything on your list, but you'll save gas, time, money, and you'll be investing in the place you call home.

The local economy will begin to grow. Businesses will see opportunity here and move to Cannon County, creating jobs and offering more variety to consumers. Vacant buildings will return to life, and farmers won't be forced to sell the farm. Your kids will get a better education. Your roads, public buildings, and community, as a whole, will be better.

So, what can we learn from that stubborn goat? Let's face it, the grass isn't any greener on the other side of the county line. We can invest in ourselves or get caught in the fence. Our community depends on us, and it will be what we choose to make it.  As a consumer and resident of Cannon County, the choice is none but yours. Remember, your dollar is powerful.

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Members Opinions:
February 17, 2011 at 6:13am
This would be great if all local businesses would stay open every day of the week and not roll the sidewalks up at 5 in the evening. I remember a time when you could buy new Levi's and Carhart clothing on the square along with a new pair of shoes or boots. You also had the option of going down a couple of stores to the cloth shop if you preferred to sew your own clothes. We finally now have a hardware store (Thank you Ace Hardware!) that we haven't had in almost 30 years and I shop there often. I also patronize the local consignment shops on the square. However, I've seen local businesses close for an hour at lunch and lock the doors. Hello!! I can drive to Murfreesboro and back in less than 45 minutes. When you're trying to get something finished up around the home and are pressed for time, it doesn't set well with me when someone locks up shop for an hour lunch or they're not open at all because they feel they need a day off in the middle of the week. I've talked to many people who moved here and can't believe the stores and courthouse close on Wednesday for no apparent reason. I would love to shop at home, but when local stores don't carry the brands you want or they're not open, you don't have much choice.
February 17, 2011 at 7:28am
Wondering Will, about what trucks, cars and products you have that are built in the USA and contain mostly parts or material from USA companies.

Do you look for and seek out products with the USA label on them?

Just think what would happen in this country if all started to demand and buy only products made in the USA and containing parts made mostly in this country.

Buy local and support your local stores first.

February 17, 2011 at 8:27am
{QUOTE}...."The fact is, the only thing you can get in Murfreesboro or Nashville, that you can't find here, is a traffic jam."

AND A JOB.......Alot of people don't drive to a different county just to shop, they are already there because that is where they have to go to find a job or go to work everyday.
February 17, 2011 at 9:34am
Excellent letter! Well said.
February 17, 2011 at 9:42am
I support our local businesses as much as possible. I can find gas cheaper in Murfreesboro, but I choose to fill up every week here in Woodbury in order to give my tax dollars to Cannon County instead of Rutherford.

I also frequent Piggly Wiggly and Dollar General to buy food and other items as much as possible. I support E & E Wholesale when I need supplies I could get at Lowe’s or Home Depot because I know Jerry and he is a good dude who offers free advice and good service.

However, I too have the same issue as Cedric. The local stores offer half as much at a higher price. I understand why they do, due to shipping costs, they are not a large conglomerate and they are trying to make a profit as well. And as he said, there is not a lot of choice to choose from. When Clover Valley brand is what is offered, I believe I will pass.

We are all trying to survive in this economy that is steadily getting worse. If I can go to Kroger and pick up 4 12 packs of Cokes for $11.00 or spend $16.00 on 4 packs in Woodbury, which do you think I am going to do? I support our local businesses when I can, but at the end of the day I am just like everyone else and I am going to take care of my family first!

And daily I agree with you that buying USA made products is best, but the problem is this country doesn't make anything anymore. We import triple what we export and that is why we are so dependent on the countries like China.
February 17, 2011 at 10:52am
It would be nice if we could all support our own town. However, like Corey said local stores offer half as much at higher prices. I have tried to shop in town and have done the price comparisons. I save money, even considering the gas and time, by shopping in Murfreesboro. I get more variety and lower prices. In today's economy that's the bottom line. I know alot of people want to keep Woodbury a small town and keep big business out but as long as it's that way the tax dollars are going to keep going out of town. I for one would welcome a Walmart closer to home. If they wanted to build here I dont see it as being the devil a lot of other people do. You have to allow for some growth and modern changes if you want to see this town moving forward. If not it will eventually just dry up and blow away.
February 17, 2011 at 4:19pm
Article is very well written and says what all of us in Cannon County need to hear. We have a good thing here in our small town, learn to appreciate it. I have a little saying that sits on my desk that reads " Happiness is not having what you want but wanting what you have"
February 18, 2011 at 7:53am
growth and modern changes are great as long as they occur in THIS country.some people would say that shopping at wal-mart DOES contribute to growth and modern changes, COMMUNIST RED CHINA!Mr. Sam Walton tried to sell as many AMERICAN products as possible.His BRATS have turned his enterprise into a showcase for chinese,mexican,and most any other foreign country's merchandise.Sorry but i refuse to wave an American flag that has "made in china" stuck on it.and as for all the mexican flags and stickers i see around the neighborhood,they belong in the trash,or ideally in mexico.actually using trash and mexico in the same sentence is redundant for they are synonymous.but thats another day,another soapbox.
February 18, 2011 at 11:57pm
I understand the frustration that Cedric has about shops closing up at 5 in the evening, but have you seen the streets of Woodbury once the rush to get home is over. By 5:30 or 6 it is like a ghost town. It is hard for a business to stay open when the traffic coming in their door stops. I understand also the frustration of a business closing for lunch, but have you thought maybe because of the lack of business it keeps them from hiring help in order for them to stay open during that lunch hour?

READING: "AND A JOB.......Alot of people don't drive to a different county just to shop, they are already there because that is where they have to go to find a job or go to work everyday."

Goes back to the lack of business preventing them from hiring. I challenge anyone to walk into a shop in this town and ask the owner what the biggest challenge is in this town. I have asked them and the most common remark is the lack of community support.
February 22, 2011 at 10:06pm
February 23, 2011 at 11:19am
right, efisk. cannon county's caught in a negative feedback loop right now. a little effort, though, and it can be made positive. if you all start shopping only in cannon county, the businesses within will probably need to hire extra help. more shoppers beget more employees. ...and voila, jobs in cannon county.
February 23, 2011 at 2:50pm
If Cannon County would allow other bussiness to come to Cannon county then maybe, just maybe The residents of Cannon will shop here. Cannon has nothing to offer to the people. It's like they want to stay a small town. Cannon County has more people living in it then there are shops. Don't get me wrong, I love the country, but if there is an issue on why we are going to other counties to shop then bring in more shops.
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