Consumers' disconnectedness from the extraction, production, distribution, and disposal of goods (great summary at the Story of Stuff) allows the illusion that consumption is an isolated act, instead of a consequential one in a complex system. A stronger connection to other participants in the system, such as buying produce directly from the farmer at a market, or an object directly from its designer or maker, alters the consumer relationship within the system - revealing, among other things, the political implications of the global industrial vs. the local artisanal modes.
The artisanal competitive strategy is to produce something special rather than a commodity at the lowest cost possible. Although proposed in an agricultural context, Allan Nation theorizes that:
This artisanal model works only so long as it doesn't attempt to imitate the industrial model in any respect. It must not try to replace skilled labor with capital; it must not grow for the sake of growth; it should not strive for uniformity in its products but rather make a virtue of variation and seasonality; it shouldn't invest in capital to reach national markets but rather should focus on local markets, relying on reputation and word of mouth rather than on advertising; and lastly, it should rely as much as possible on free solar energy rather than costly fossil fuels.