The price of paradise

To the Editor:

In the letter “Shopping locally has a price”, published in your January 12 issue, the author blames local store owners for the fact that the Steamship Authority, R. M. Packer, and local landlords all charge too much. How they are responsible for this remains unclear.

It appears the author is also under the mistaken impression that those local store owners are part of the so‑called “one percent.” Having lived and worked on the Island for almost all of my life, I can, with experience, say that this is not true. Local store owners work hard to keep their businesses afloat. Many take out loans in the beginning of the season in order to stock merchandise. Inventory is taxed, whether it sells or not. One store owner I know qualified for affordable housing. The author is accurate in his estimation of retail clerks’ salaries. I am one of them, and I admit I do not make a lot of money. But then, neither does my employer.

Sadly, America’s Main Streets (and their small businesses) are disappearing, along with the sense of community they provide. The reality of the situation is that we live on an island, where items are more expensive. It is the price of paradise. We who live here choose to do so, accepting the sacrifices we have to make in order to maintain the unique quality of life that the Vineyard has to offer.

It might be unkind to suggest that if the author prefers off‑Island prices to those on the Island, he should consider relocating. However, it might also be true.

Akeyah Nunes

Vineyard Haven