Think Outside the Big Box
Two ways to stand up against the big-box-frenzy, fighting-for-parking-spots-at-the-mall, skipping-out-on-Thanksgiving-dessert-to-line-up-for-Black-Friday-sales vibe that’s come to characterize too much of the holiday season:
1) Join a Black Friday protest at Walmart. Activists will gather outside the Hadley Walmart at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29, to “support Walmart associates’ fight for respect, better pay, more hours, and a voice at work,” according to organizers. Going away for the holiday weekend? Find an event near Grandma’s at http://www.blackfridayprotests.org.
2) Keep your shopping super-local and sustainable by visiting the Meekins Market at Williamsburg’s Meekins Library (pictured: last year’s market). Now in its sixth year, the market (open Nov. 23 to Dec. 21) offers an assortment of donated, gently used gifts—the library promises “stuffed animals, decorative objects, household items, jewelry, office supplies, holiday items and of course books!”—ranging in price from 25 cents to 10 bucks. (While you’re there, consider dropping off food and winter clothing donations for the Northampton Survival Center, or pet food, toys and blankets for the Dakin Animal Shelter.) For more information, including library hours and a schedule of other holiday events, go to http://www.meekins-library.org.
Can’t make the Meekins Market? Luckily for you, the Valley is lousy with craft shows, holiday bazaars, artisan fairs and other opportunities to buy local; one good place to find announcements of local fairs and shows (as well as plenty of other seasonal happenings): http://www.hilltownfamilies.org.
By the Numbers
$359.61: The average price of an ounce of “high quality” marijuana paid by Massachusetts buyers on the black market, according to the website priceofweed.com, which posts crowd-sources data from anonymous users who submit what they’ve recently paid. (Medium-quality pot went for $297.72 an ounce; low-quality cost $216.34.)
Activists who are working toward a 2016 ballot referendum to legalize marijuana in the state argue that legalization would eliminate the black market. According to a recent survey of Massachusetts residents by Western New England University’s Polling Institute, 41 percent of respondents said they support legalization.
“We are trying to reach down and help those playing by the rules, and working one, two, and in some cases three jobs at a time in order to make ends meet. The wage has not been adjusted [since 2008], and it should be adjusted. It’s an issue long overdue, and it’s about economic justice. We need to be looking down at the bottom rung and making sure those people that are getting up every day [can make a living wage].”
—Massachusetts Sen. Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton)