Last week we had Thanksgiving, and then Black Friday. I didn’t hear any stories of anyone getting stampeded over an Xbox, so THANKS FOR NOTHING, AMERICA. How are Canadians supposed to feel smug if you don’t do that stuff?

Yesterday was the worst part of the whole shopping week, the holiday more forced than conversation with your old senile Grandpa. I’m talking about Small Business Saturday, a day invented by American Express to appease local businesses that got tired of seeing their customers shun their terrible Black Friday sales for better ones at Wal-Mart and Best Buy. “5% off your already overpriced merchandise? Oh boy!”

(drowns self in a bucket of flat Orange Fanta)

Small business people, collectively, suck. The ones in my small town bitch relentlessly about how people have the AUDACITY to venture into the city to shop at better stores that offer lower prices, better selection, and an overall better shopping experience, while doing nothing differentiate themselves in any way. Their whole value appeal is “I’m the only place in town you can get this shit.” Gee, thanks.

Their only argument is it’s good to keep money in my own community. Screw that. You have to offer a better value proposition than g.d charity. My dollars couldn’t give two craps about how your kids need new shoes. They demand I spend $10 less to get the exact same item on the internet or at Wal-Mart.

Small business people constantly feel the need to remind people that it’s hard to be a small business person. I get that. Just stop using it as a justification to try and win my business. If charity really mattered, Salvation Army thrift stores would be outselling Wal-Mart.

The best businesses in my small town care little about guilting you into shopping there. They focus on their value proposition. That’s it.

Links I liked

Here’s what I liked this week.

1. Let’s start things off with Freedom 35 Blog, who argues that comparing your personal finances with your peers is a good thing because it creates a sense of competition. I’ve never been one to compare to others, but even I’ll admit it’s nice to see when I’m doing better than someone who I think is pretty successful. TAKE THAT, JERK.

2. Million Dollar Journey has a series where he follows the net worth journey of a number of selected readers, and then commenters weigh in and give advice. The advice is usually spot on. Here’s the latest update from an oil and gas engineer who just bought a house.

3. Holy Potato and Sandi Martin have put together a valuable tool for people looking to use one of Canada’s robo-advisor services, which calculates the fees charged on each based on the amount invested.

4. Happy to see Money Time Blog is back after a long hiatus. He wrote about the opportunity cost of entrepreneurial ventures, something the average person looking to branch out on their own never considers.

5. An interesting question posed by one of my fellow Motley Fool Canada writers this week: are dividend-growth stocks a better investment idea right now versus real estate?

6. This has already been shared approximately 4,392 times by the investing community on Twitter, but most of y’all don’t follow them, so it’ll be new to you. Here are the highlights of Warren Buffett chatting with university kids.

7. Oddball stocks uses an interesting metaphor to try and explain the fundamental difference between people who run businesses and those who analyze them.

8. The province of Alberta is banning door-to-door sales on electricity, furnaces, windows, energy audits, air conditioners, and so on. I think most people would be for this, yet my rural Alberta Facebook feed is giving very little kudos to the NDP government for doing something good for a change. What a surprise.

9. Steveonomics thinks the Prius is the perfect car for someone who’s much richer than they look. He makes good points, but I’m still a fan of my Buick, the car that everyone assumes is being driven by an 85 year-old man.

10. And finally, more good stuff from Afford Anything, who points out that it’s time to think bigger. 10 times bigger, to be precise. 

Stuff Nelson wrote

As a reminder, you can hire me to write for your blog, newspaper, or poorly-Xeroxed newsletter. Hit the ol’ contact me page to get the ball rolling. 

1. Not much on the ol’ Nelson appearing everywhere else on the interwebz front this week, so I’ll just link to a couple of Motley Fool posts. The first is how you can use covered calls to get a 26% annual yield on Teck Resources, a stock more volatile than your neighborhood crazy person.

2. I also took a stab at identifying the best stock in Canada. You’ll probably have a different favorite, and that’s okay. Actually, it isn’t. Agree with me or else we can’t be friends.

Tweet of the week

Have a good week, everyone.

Tell everyone, yo!