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Thread: Occupy Amazon?

  1. #11
    Mixing Old Fashioneds PhoneGrrrl's Avatar
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    Re: Occupy Amazon?

    I've been a fan of Amazon since the site started. My bookstore choices are (aside from specialty ones, such as religious shops and one that focuses on local history and writers) are Books-a-Million or the other Books-a-Million and Barnes & Noble or the other Barnes & Nobel. If I can order from my house, have it delivered to my door, and escape gaggles of free-range teens slugging back coffee, clearly I'm sticking with Amazon. Growing up we had a chain bookstore (Little Professor) really close to the house and, though it was a chain, it was fun to go in since we got to know the lady who owned it and it was very neighborhood-y and almost indie feeling. If I had a smaller store like that, I'd probably go, but I don't see that as economically viable in these times.

    That being said 95% of what I order from Amazon is not books. The last thing I ordered was a new dog leash since it was about half what Petsmart charges. (And, for the record, the last indie pet store that was around here closed two years ago. The closing was a good thing--it was terribly depressing and the animals always looked sick.)

  2. #12
    Read The Clue Bearcata's Avatar
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    Re: Occupy Amazon?

    California has many budget problems mainly due to their own machinations I don't think even Amazon can save them and it is rather sad that they go after a company to saves it's collective a$$.
    "When life gives you lemons, squirt lemon juice in your enemy's eyes."

  3. #13
    Best Buddies Gutmutter's Avatar
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    Re: Occupy Amazon?

    All this makes me want to support Amazon even more. I think I'll do all my Christmas shopping through them.
    Count your blessings!

  4. #14
    Bitten Critical's Avatar
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    Re: Occupy Amazon?

    That makes me sad, Gut, even though I understand the inclination. All of the discussion I've been a part of lately has turned me the other way. I don't know if I'll buy from Amazon again, especially books. Obviously, the fact that I don't pay for many books makes this decision easier.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bearcata View Post
    California has many budget problems mainly due to their own machinations I don't think even Amazon can save them and it is rather sad that they go after a company to saves it's collective a$$.
    It's not about Amazon saving California, it's about parity. It's not just Amazon that isn't paying sales tax - many big box sites are not. Amazon is required to collect sales tax in some states already and other states are fighting to get the laws changed so that they have to pay sales tax. IMO, this is just one more thing that favors big business over the small guy, which is why it's related to the Occupy movement. I don't think the sales tax would "save" California, but I don't think hundreds of millions of dollars is anything to sniff at either. That money could be used to keep some State parks open or keep a few programs running or pay for some teachers who have lost their jobs. The movement to force Amazon to collect sales tax was spearheaded by small indie businesses that are being crushed by Amazon because they have to collect sales tax, even if their prices are on par with them.

    Amazon just started airing a new commercial for an app where customers can scan items in brick and mortar stores and then see the price on Amazon. As a former retail manager of a small local store, I find this totally offensive. I've had people ask for a pen and paper so they can write down the title of a book to look up on Amazon and that's rude enough. I once had customers at a book fair stand and look prices up on Amazon on their phone. They realized they were being watched, so they bought a few things. Then they went inside (the book fair was outside, with a register), returned the books and then left. They knew they were being rude.

    I've spent a lot of time recently with indie booksellers and visiting their websites and I just root for them. So many of them are busting their tails to compete and keep up with all the changes in the book world and the economy. Many are selling ebooks (I was surprised at how many!) and IMO, you'll never find anyone more passionate and knowledgeable about books than an employee at an indie bookstore. Of course, there are also those employees who think they're too cool for the room, but I ignore them. I feel for communities who have lost their small bookstores or had their libraries close. I've bought books online, but you just can't replace the thrill of going into a really great bookstore.

    I’ve bought at Amazon, so I’m a total hypocrite, but I still fall on the side of the local business owners. I just don’t want to live in a world where I can only buy a book (or shoes or jewelry or anything else) from a website. I know that many communities don’t have a choice, so those big box stores and sites serve a lot of people. It just makes me very sad to see politicians paying lip service to small business owners, but do nothing to help them stay in business.
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

  5. #15
    Best Buddies Gutmutter's Avatar
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    Re: Occupy Amazon?

    Thanks for a deeper insight into the issue Critical. Our small town (actually 2 very close, really small towns) has one grocery store, a Walmart, a McDonalds, an Aubuchon Hardware, and very few other scattered small businesses. If I want anything else, I have to travel a minimum of 30 minutes and then it's not supporting our town, anyway. If Amazon were to add sales tax, I'd still buy from them. It's more a matter of convenience and availability of products for me.
    Count your blessings!

  6. #16
    Leaning Forward cantstopwatchin's Avatar
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    Re: Occupy Amazon?

    I've been using Amazon since the late 1990s, before it became 'huge', and they are my 'go to' for just about everything; books, blu-rays, music downloads, coffee, household items, toys, etc. I'm a Prime member and get free 2-day shipping anywhere, which is a big bonus for me when my family lives throughout the US and I need to send them presents. The fact that everything is tax-free is just another bonus.

    I've been using their scanning app for the last year and it comes in handy when I'm comparison pricing at Christmastime. When another stores advertises an item on my kids' list, I scan the item to see if Amazon's got it cheaper. And if they do, I buy it from them - I get it in 2 days without paying taxes! If I do it enough times, the kids could get another toy with the money I'm saving.

    I understand independent bookstores and the uphill battle they've got but when I scan a book's barcode at one and then see it for over $10. less on Amazon, it seems silly to me to not buy it online. I love taking my kids to Barnes & Noble and if they see something they have to have, I'll buy it but I'll be cringing inside. I love that my kids love books as much as I do and their bookshelves are full. Yes, I feel slightly bad about that but the bottom line comes down to saving myself money, doesn't it?

    And In all the years I've been dealing with them, I've never had an issue with returns or exchanges or anything like that - their customer service is top-notch.

    I can understand the independent bookstores' feelings about Amazon but I don't see how they can compare what's going on in Occupy Wall Street to what Amazon's doing. This feels like the same issue that happened when Wal-Mart started its rise and yet there are still small boutiques/clothes stores that are doing well...
    "We must overcome the notion that we must be regular...it robs you of the chance to be extraordinary and leads you to the mediocre." - Uta Hagen

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  7. #17
    Bitten Critical's Avatar
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    Re: Occupy Amazon?

    Quote Originally Posted by cantstopwatchin View Post
    I've been using Amazon since the late 1990s, before it became 'huge', and they are my 'go to' for just about everything; books, blu-rays, music downloads, coffee, household items, toys, etc. I'm a Prime member and get free 2-day shipping anywhere, which is a big bonus for me when my family lives throughout the US and I need to send them presents. The fact that everything is tax-free is just another bonus.

    I've been using their scanning app for the last year and it comes in handy when I'm comparison pricing at Christmastime. When another stores advertises an item on my kids' list, I scan the item to see if Amazon's got it cheaper. And if they do, I buy it from them - I get it in 2 days without paying taxes! If I do it enough times, the kids could get another toy with the money I'm saving.

    I understand independent bookstores and the uphill battle they've got but when I scan a book's barcode at one and then see it for over $10. less on Amazon, it seems silly to me to not buy it online. I love taking my kids to Barnes & Noble and if they see something they have to have, I'll buy it but I'll be cringing inside. I love that my kids love books as much as I do and their bookshelves are full. Yes, I feel slightly bad about that but the bottom line comes down to saving myself money, doesn't it?

    And In all the years I've been dealing with them, I've never had an issue with returns or exchanges or anything like that - their customer service is top-notch.

    I can understand the independent bookstores' feelings about Amazon but I don't see how they can compare what's going on in Occupy Wall Street to what Amazon's doing. This feels like the same issue that happened when Wal-Mart started its rise and yet there are still small boutiques/clothes stores that are doing well...
    For me, the comparison is appropriate. Amazon is now a HUGE company (as is Overstock, another big big e-tailer being targeted because they don't have to collect sales tax in many states) that is getting preferential government treatment - they don't have to collect sales tax like every small business in this country does. It's hard enough for small businesses to keep up with their prices, ones they get because they can buy in quantities that dwarf what any small business can come close to buying.

    The huge discounts that booksellers are allowed to offer is a separate issue. I didn't know until last weekend that not all countries allow those kinds of discounts. I have to believe that is hurting the publishing industry too.

    When it looked like the bill forcing Amazon to pay sales tax in CA would be passed, they essentially fired all of their affiliate sellers in CA. These are small businesses too who are trying to stay afloat by using Amazon. It looked like Amazon would have to begin collecting sales tax in CA next October, but now it's been pushed back to 2013.

    I do agree that Amazon is convenient and I do use it from time to time, but like you said, Gut, I wouldn't mind paying sales tax on my purchases there. It's usually not very much and I'm okay with paying my share.

    I know that Amazon is really the only way to go for many people, simply because they don't have any other options nearby. Same with people shopping at Target and Walmart and Kmart in small towns that don't have anything else. Heck, my grandaunt lived in small town in Nebraska where there was a Rexell Drugs/Radio Shack/gift store in the actual town and that's it. The only place to buy clothing in the whole town was, I think, the Kmart north of town....oh, and a t-shirt store.

    I understand that that Amazon app is convenient, but as a former retail manager, I still think it's rude. You know that customers are shopping at other places and online and, of course, that is their right. Still, it's hard to have it rubbed in your face. I've heard customers tell each other that they'll just buy it at Amazon and then ask me for a pen and paper to write down the info about a book. I guess if someone did it at Target I wouldn't have such a strong response as I do to them doing it in a small business.
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

  8. #18
    Best Buddies Gutmutter's Avatar
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    Re: Occupy Amazon?

    This whole discussion reminds me of the movie, "You've Got Mail" and the small bookstore's demise when Fox (F-O-X ) moved in on the same block. Poignant movie I can watch over and over. I was a huge Meg Ryan fan before she ruined her face, and Tom Hanks was spot on, as well.
    Count your blessings!

  9. #19
    Read The Clue Bearcata's Avatar
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    Re: Occupy Amazon?

    California got itself into its own financial mess why should Amazon help it out just because it is a successful business and the politicians of California failed in the business of governing the state. California should clean it's own house before attempting to legalize stealing from a successful business.
    "When life gives you lemons, squirt lemon juice in your enemy's eyes."

  10. #20
    Bitten Critical's Avatar
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    Re: Occupy Amazon?

    I'm not sure how requiring a business to collect sales tax from its customers (and then paying those taxes to the state) can be construed as stealing.
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

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