A few weeks ago we were at La Farine, a bakery and boulangerie on Piedmont Avenue. La Farine has four locations, three in Oakland and one in Berkeley. This is our neighborhood outlet, where we can often be found grabbing a quick bite before or after work. Not only does it offer great food, La Farine was founded in 1977. I always note, vainly, that this was the year of my birth too.
I forget whether this was a morning or evening visit, but during this trip Pi Wen snapped the picture shown below. This is La Farine's way of demonstrating how its purchases support local and regional jobs, both directly (with La Farine's own employees) and indirectly (with the employees of La Farine's suppliers.)
I stared a little too long at the sign, fascinated by this demonstration of the multiplier effect. La Farine's owner happened to be on hand, presumably making the rounds between his shops. So I asked how he came up with the numbers of jobs supported at the suppliers. Turns out he'd called all of those suppliers and asked for their complete employee head count. The numbers on the sign are the answers he received.
There is a sleight of hand here, in which the implication is that La Farine supports ALL of the jobs at those other suppliers. Of course La Farine can only directly account for its own employees, and for a hard-to-determine fraction of the jobs everywhere else. Those suppliers would likely exist even if La Farine did not.
On the other hand, that's losing the forest for the trees. The meta-point of this sign is that local dollars recirculate through the local and regional economy, in a much more impactful and meaningful way than the flitting about of global capital. This is similar to the argument independent bookstores make regarding why it is worth it to pay more for a book you could obtain cheaply on Amazon. Whether this is a credible argument depends on one's convictions as well as one's percentage of disposable income. Only those of comfortable means would buy a baguette at La Farine when the bread is much cheaper at Grocery Outlet. But at least the La Farine constituents can now feel good about where their dollars are going.