This is in response to the letter to the editor "Can't Afford to Shop Local" ["Postmarks," Dec. 5]. It is so disappointing to see the mindset that shopping at Wal-Mart is so much cheaper than shopping locally. I would like to list several reasons why we should shop locally instead of at big-box operations like Wal-Mart. 1) Wal-Mart is cheaper because they pay slave wages to poor people in China (who openly hate Americans) or Indonesia to make poor-quality clothing and products that keep people coming back to buy more. 2) The Waltons are five of the 10 richest people on the planet, and the average worker at Wal-Mart makes $11,000 dollars a year and has no benefits available to them. 3) When you begin to shop locally you will see that the price differences are not that great and the quality differences are enormous. Hence, buy better and buy less often. 5) There are local thrift and resale stores that have great clothing and merchandise at lower prices and higher quality. 6) Keeping your money in the local economy increases our economy in many ways, like higher wages, lower prices, and keeping the money in the hands of Austinites who spend their money in Austin, rather than the Waltons. 7) It is important to understand what and who you support with the money you spend. It has to be a better feeling knowing you are keeping your money local rather than supporting sweatshops in other countries. Everyone can make a difference with the ways that they choose to spend their money. To find out more about local businesses and compare prices you can visit www.austin-iba.org or www.austinunique.com. These Web sites give information about all different types of businesses and services that are local.