Food, it has become the final frontier. No longer are the days where oranges come from Florida or California, and cheese from Wisconsin. We are a global society and can export and import food from anywhere. As you are reading this, you might be enjoying some grapes from Argentina or drinking water from Iceland. Let’s see where a couple of meals came from, shall we?
I’m not much on breakfast, mostly because I don’t get up in time to eat anything. Today though, I had a bagel with cream cheese. There’s not a lot of information on where the cream cheese is made or where the ingredients come from. Its Wal-Mart brand, so I’m guessing they outsource to some local company. The bagels are from Lender’s, and there is some information on them. The wheat that is used in the bagel is from the Western prairies of the United States and the water is found locally at the plant (Lender’s, 2012). I have to have something to wash this down with, and my breakfast drink of choice is Sunny D. According to the website, Sunny D’s juice is sourced from Florida (Sunny D, 2012). So far, I seem to be having a pretty American day as far as meals are concerned.
After breakfast, most of my day is spent at work. I normally have to include both lunch and dinner because I work twelve hours or more a day. I work at Pizza Hut, so getting something to eat is easy. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of information on the origins of the food. I know the wheat used in the pizza crust is from the Midwest and I believe the cheese is from California (Pizza Hut, 2012). My beverages are an assortment of Pepsi products that are bottled at different plants around the United States.
I guess I’m not much of an international eater, but at times I can be, it’s just been a busy week. Since it seems that most of my meals are processed foods or from a restaurant, my food arrives about the same way. The wheat or fruit is harvested and loaded onto trucks. These trucks take the produce to the factory where it is milled or juiced and mixed with other ingredients and preservatives, until the final product is reached. It is then bagged or bottled and shipped to a warehouse. It sits in the warehouse until picked and delivered to the store where they can be purchased.
When I was in college getting my business degree, we talked a lot about the global market and its benefits. One of these benefits is more competition. Yes, competition is a benefit. It not only provides more choices, but competition means that companies will try different things to keep its customers. This can range from promotions to new lines of product. Lender’s bagels for example, not only have plain bagels, but also blueberry, strawberry, and cinnamon raisin. Another benefit of a global market is that it gives companies a broader market size. With a bigger market, companies are able to receive income from multiple sources rather than just locally. The internet has really helped the global market. You can order products direct from Germany, even though they’re not sold at your local store. You have to love our digital age.
Being a global market can also have its negative impacts. Being from the south, I can remember my mom telling me, “You’re getting too big for your britches.” I know, it’s a weird saying, but it holds true for a lot of things. Companies that try to be global can sometimes “get too big” and lose sight of what his happening locally. The expansion in China and Europe become such a priority, that their backyard gets overgrown with weeds. It can also produce poor products. How many times have you received something from overseas that breaks within its first week? Or, you call technical support for a company based in Dallas, TX and get someone in India? I’m not saying that to be racist or anything, but a local company should take care of its local people.
“Think Globally, Act Locally”. This can be interpreted many ways because we all think differently. For me, it means that you should consider the “big picture” and the benefits of introducing your product or service to a broader base. While doing this, however, you should take care of those around you. I had a former supervisor that would tell us, “Dance with the one that brought you.” I don’t know where he got that phrase from, but he was trying to tell us that we may get promoted or moved to a busier store, but don’t forget what brought you to that point. Go ahead and expand your operations to Europe and Asia, but don’t forget the people of St. Louis (or wherever) that supported you while you were growing.
After all this research, my way of choosing goods really hasn’t changed. Even after studying the global market back in business classes, I still looked at products the same. While I appreciate the local producers and will buy their stuff, I’m also a cheapskate that goes for the best deal. I am willing to pay more, for example, I’ll shop my hometown drug store before going to Wal-Mart, even though it might cost a little more. The service and convenience will make up for the slightly higher price. I also like to try new things. I’ll try a new beer that’s imported from Mexico or Australia, but I’ll still keep some Bud Light in the fridge. I will agree that we should buy American, but we don’t always make the best stuff.
The global market has its ups and downs. It’s like a marriage, most of the time it’s a wonderful union that makes people happy and provides the needs for each other. Other times, it seems like mommy (global company) and daddy (local company) just can’t get along. If the children (consumers) make the right decisions and try to “Think Globally, Act Locally” themselves, it might help the marriage. Then again, maybe we should just cut ties with the rest of the world and “Think Locally, Act Locally”, what do you think about that?