Oak Park’s Shop the Village promotion is back for the holidays. But, this year, there will be no annoying little tickets to keep track of, no treatises on the benefits to the environment of shopping local, no pie charts to indicate what portion of your local purchases fund public education.

No, in 2009, Shop the Village is all about instant gratification and merchants saying thanks.

Starting Friday, shoppers anywhere in Oak Park may find themselves being tapped on the shoulder by a 6-foot-1 red-and-yellow-clad superhero. Don’t slug him. He’s Super Shopper Spotter (better known, at least in his mind, as S-Cubed). And he’s got stashes of gift cards from local shops, restaurants and service offices to hand out to any person caught in the act of shopping locally.

You’re more likely to be rewarded if you are wearing the “I Shopped the Village” sticker provided by local businesses when you make your purchase.

Shop the Village is the continuing effort to reward people for shopping in Oak Park. It’s the brainchild of the Business Association Council, a group representing all of Oak Park’s business districts, the Village of Oak Park and Wednesday Journal and Oak Leaves newspapers.

Don’t tell the kids, but Super Shopper Spotter is actually Matt Baron, a local public relations guy and good sport.

If you’e gifted by S-Cubed, watch for your picture – maybe even video – at Shopthevillage.biz, at YouTube.com/ShopTheVillageOP, on VOP6, the village government’s cable channel, at WednesdayJournalOnline.com or in the print editions of the Journal and Oak Leaves.

Staff reports

Join the discussion on social media!