I am one of those annoying people who will not shop at Wal-Mart. I will shop at Target, if I have to, although I don't feel good about it. Now that I have a child to diaper and I've recently read a gazillion financial and political books that all seem to point to the fact that I can expect poorer economic times ahead, I'll admit I'm on the lookout for cheaper diapers. (Ideas, anyone? I've heard Toys 'R Us, but the last time I was there it didn't seem any cheaper than any other places.)
But by and large I try to avoid the issue by simply not shopping, or buying only secondhand.* When I DO shop, though, I often try to shop at local stores or from independent businesses. With that in mind, I'd like to suggest the purchasing of gift books from independent publishers (there's precious few left) or any local bookstores to which you have access. Hell, at this point I'll even consider Borders and Barnes and Noble local--they're struggling too.
Today's gift suggestions are from Paul Dry Books--a wonderful independent publisher based in Philadelphia. Although their entire catalog looks fascinating, some of my favorites from them include:
Rocky Stories: Tales of Love, Hope, and Happiness at America's Most Famous Steps, by Michael Vitez and Tom Gralish. A beautifully photographed and truly inspirational book about people who run up the steps that Sylvester Stallone ran up in the movie Rocky, and why they do so. (It's stupid to say this when my link takes you to Powell's, where I would get a cut of the purchasing action, but this book is on sale at the Paul Dry website.)
Hotel Kid: A Times Square Childhood, by Stephen Lewis. An awesome memoir about a kid who grew up living in the hotel where his parents worked during the 1930s and 40s.
Just check out their website; they've got a lot to offer. Any booklover, I would think, would find lots to interest them there.
*Although a lot of fun has gone out of this since I have become freaked out by the re-emergence of bedbugs.