I Don’t Buy Local

And neither do you.

Don’t think so? It’s true. Don’t take offence. I’m not condemning you for your purchasing practices. I’m condemning the marketing world.


Stay with me here.

My grade 4 teacher, Mrs. Kent, taught us English. Here’s a short lesson about four terms I learned at the ripe old age of ten. No, I don’t mean participial gerunds or dangling participles. We weren’t that advanced. I am referring to four simple words:

Noun – a person place or thing.

Adjective – a word that describes a noun.

Verb – a word of action.

Adverb – a word that describes an action.

Here are some very specific examples.

“Buy” is a verb and requires an adverb to describe it.

“Local” in this context is an adjective and is used to describe a noun.

See? They don’t go together. They’re oil and water, Democrats and Republicans, lite and beer. You can’t buy local. Nobody can.

There are two ways to fix this. You can either “Buy Locally” or you can “Buy Local Products”.

Do you think “Buy Locally” sounds haughty and standoffish? Yes? Tough darts, that’s proper grammar.

So why do we hear the nails-on-a-blackboard term “Buy Local” all the time? I’ll tell you why. It’s a marketing thing. Marketers somewhere thought “Buy Local” sounded catchy. Plus, it’s easier to say and it saves two letters on signs.

“Boss, I just saved us the cost of two letters on this sign. Do I get a raise?”

“No, that’s grammatically incorrect. Turn yourself in to the language police. You’ll be doing hard time for this, mister.”

Please don’t bend to the erosion of the English language by accepting this egregious and abusive slogan foisted upon us by marketers. Now that you know better, the next time you hear or see the term Buy Local, just shake your head with a sad smile and know that you cannot do that.

However, you can Buy Locally. We all can. Just think how proud Mrs. Kent would be if we did.