, Gloucester, MA

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November 22, 2011

Letter: Occupy Main Street, not Wall Street

To the editor:

Ever watched people shop? They usually gaze at the window, amble into a store, look around.

Not me. With laser focus, I march straight to the counter — a man on a mission — and ask for what I need.

Here's a quick story from last year. It's 10:57 a.m., Dec. 24, and I've decided to start my Christmas shopping early this time — before noon.

I'm in Gloucester, on Main Street, and I've got my list.

At each counter I ask, "Do you have ... ?" Mostly I'm speaking with the owners. They're happy to see me — and always helpful. If they don't have it, they know who does.

Once I went back to a store I'd just come from at the recommendation of the owner down the street because I hadn't thought the first store would have Item 3 on my list, so I didn't ask. I've learned my lesson. This year, I'll just show the entire list to every store owner. Perhaps I can start later, say 2 p.m.

But one thing won't change this year. I'll do all my Christmas shopping on Cape Ann.

Christmas is a spiritual holiday for me, but that doesn't mean I shun shopping.

I like to get the people I love something special. And I like to support our local economy — small, family-owned businesses who offer interesting items and a convivial shopping experience.

I know many of them, and I always run into other people I know on the street and in the stores.

It's way more fun than fighting the traffic and crowds at the mall, only to be accosted with that "what, are you kidding me?" attitude when I dare to ask a simple question of an exasperated clerk who'd clearly rather be somewhere else.

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