In today’s economy, the average person feels frustrated by the pace and agitation of transactions. Shopping can be so impersonal and brutal. Thus, people seek the human touch that calms down the process and adds a spiritual dimension so often lost in the midst of the cacophony of the marketplace. Gone is the balance of admirable industry in making things and the calm placidity of the craftsman at work.
It doesn’t take much to trigger a reaction to today’s fast-paced economy. A new yarn store in New York City is one example of a place that sparked nostalgia for worn-out Americans. Why? Because the store incorporated inviting human elements in the shopping experience that reflected balance and reflection.
Leti Ruiz opened her store during the pandemic. She soon found recently laid-off and burned-out New Yorkers came to soothe their sorrows by stopping by to talk. The shopkeeper would show them yarns, give tips and engage in small talk. By making an extra effort, the consumer-producer relationship flourished as Mrs. Ruiz tried to accommodate the needs of her customers.
“It started with people in the neighborhood just stopping in at the door, and I was showing them yarns,” she said. “It felt like, oh, wow, we’re a little village. We’re a community. And it’s all OK.”1 The business took on something living and not a machine-like order fulfillment center.
She described her shop as a place for healing during trying times. Commerce fulfills material needs for goods and services. However, it should also satisfy spiritual needs found in human contact. This role as a stress-reliever is an integral part of a healthy economy. Leti’s flourishing yarn stop is proof that the business model works.
A real economy is governed by strong principles and norms that guarantee a just system is in place. It acquires temperance when grace and virtue are added to its core. The result is a human enterprise that is attractive and picturesque.
Business, technology and fashion should be judged not only by their efficiency but above all whether they were just and, ultimately, favor salvation, which should be everyone’s final end.
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