I’ll tell you one reason many ordinary people shop on Amazon:

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    • #439373
      closeupready
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 2,658

      So recently, I went to get lunch, and as the burger joint was located in a shopping center, I drove around a bit to see which stores they had. There was a big box sporting goods store, and as I wanted to look at bermuda-style shorts, I parked in the lot and went to look at what they have.

      Right by the entrance, they had a display of thermal tumblers, the kind that fits in your car’s drink holder. They were attractively designed, but the smallest one was $33. They had larger, camping style containers for drink or hot food, for $54. In addition, the top of the tumbler’s appear to be nothing more than a piece of plastic. No thanks.

      So I go take a look at t-shirts. They had a lot of casual wear, and I found some comfortable ones with a nice silkscreened design … $35.

      Looked at socks, shorts, other stuff like that. Same deal. Way, WAY overpriced.

      I’m sorry, but I’ve bought quite a few perfectly adequate, no-frill t-shirts on Amazon for $5 each, thermos containers for $15, socks by the dozen for $20. I hate Amazon’s labor policies, yes, but I have a budget, and I do not have money to just throw away on overpriced basics. Most ordinary people don’t, either.

      Is there an argument in favor of overpaying for casual wear and home/sports goods?

      The opinions and personal views expressed herein are solely those of the author, and should never be taken seriously.

    • #439378
      Pam2
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 9,043

      For me the main reason is convenience. I’m taking care of my Mom and I really can’t drive all over every time I need something. I’ve been trying Ebay sometimes to cut back on Amazon. The thing is- Amazon could treat their employees much better and it wouldn’t even affect the service much. So what if the item takes 4 days instead of two or whatever. People would still use it. They don’t have to kill the staff to maintain speed.

       

       

      • #439398
        ArtfromArk
        Participant
        • Total Posts: 1,619

        ***

         

        “There’s a new spirit abroad in the land. The old days of ‘grab and greed’ are on their way out. We’re beginning to think of what we owe the other fellow, not just what we’re compelled to give him. The time’s coming… when we shan’t be able to fill our bellies in comfort while others go hungry, sleep in warm beds while others shiver in the cold.... And God willing, we’ll live to see that day…” Basil Rathbone,"Sherlock Holmes Faces Death" (Universal 1943)

        • #439412
          game meat
          Participant
          • Total Posts: 1,533

          Mall stores paying people a decent wage? Come on now…

          Amazon/Bezos may be evil, but one of the things that gets lost in the shuffle when all the focus is on the biggest player is that people forget a lot of these mom and pop operations are just minor league versions of Walmart/Amazon. They don’t treat their employees any better, and a lot of them are actually worse.

          We tend to romanticize the “small business,” but most of these guys make their living with a low wage/high turnover model that (imo) amounts to blatant wage theft when it’s the norm on a large scale (and it is).

          Look at the ridiculous myth of the “‘labor shortage,” a narrative straight from the business lobby to the media, often word for word. The whole thing is nothing but small business owners raging because workers have a tiny bit of leverage for the first time in decades, and they’re petrified that they will not be able to exploit their victims to the extent that they’re accustomed to.

          Everything considered, I can’t consider buying stuff on Amazon a moral failing since the alternatives are no better from a labor perspective.

        • #439416
          closeupready
          Participant
          • Total Posts: 2,658

          Did you know that the pay of the average CEO has risen WAY above the pay of the average employee? From something like 50:1 to 3,000:1 or something crazy like that.

          So yeah, they have rent and overhead, but they are paying the management WAY too much, and not getting in exchange the value they should be getting.

          The opinions and personal views expressed herein are solely those of the author, and should never be taken seriously.

    • #439380
      Ohio Barbarian
      Moderator
      • Total Posts: 21,869

      I’m paying an additional hundred or so dollars a month in property taxes to pay for a tax abatement to Amazon for one of their dark, satanic warehouses. So every time you use Amazon to save yourself a few bucks, or for convenience, you are helping harm those who live near these things because that is a very common practice.

      I will not use Amazon. I’ll go without first. So far, there has been no need to shop Amazon for me or my family.

      It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

      You can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution.--Fred Hampton

      • #439417
        closeupready
        Participant
        • Total Posts: 2,658

        I am always mindful of the kind of stuff Amazon/Bezos is doing to the American economy and Amazon workers, but I am not paying $35 for a single t-shirt. If I need a t-shirt, I suppose I should look at online merchants who are alternative to Amazon. And on reflection, I realize that I often will go directly to retailer websites rather than Amazon (Old Navy, Bob’s Red Mill, etc.) when placing online orders. So maybe I’m not as bad as I’m thinking I am, lol.

        The opinions and personal views expressed herein are solely those of the author, and should never be taken seriously.

        • #439423
          Ohio Barbarian
          Moderator
          • Total Posts: 21,869

          At least you and others here offer reasonable explanations for enriching Bezos from time to time, unlike a liberal friend of mine who says “I know, I know, but I’m lazy.” Of course, he has more money than everyone in this thread combined, I’m sure.

          It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

          You can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution.--Fred Hampton

    • #439382
      NV Wino
      Moderator
      • Total Posts: 8,141

      I can’t even find any stores that carry everyday stuff for the worker bee. Years ago we had a great “dime” store in town. Man, they carried everything for reasonable prices—Hanes tee shirts, socks, greeting cards, sewing supplies, art supplies, holiday decorations. You name it, they had it. They had to close down. Couldn’t afford the continually increasing rent. I think there’s an overpriced juice bar and an overpriced gym in there now. Not sure, really. Things go in and out of business so fast it’s hard to keep track.

      In spite of the city fathers and mothers stating that they don’t want St Helena to be another Carmel, all we have are overpriced clothing stores, high end art galleries with few, if any, local artists, fancy jewelry stores, a designer knife shop, and overpriced restaurants that the locals can’t afford to eat in. The only things that serve the locals are the hardware store and Safeway.

      “As we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore.” Barbara Lee
      “Politicians and pro athletes: The only people who still get paid when they lose.” William Rivers Pitt

    • #439385
      retired liberal
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 4,330

      Neither one treat their employee with any kind of respect. Without employees neither would exist for long.
      The problem is too many people see the low prices and not the abuse and slavery behind the “low prices”. People don’t see the obscene profits that allow the billionaire owners to finance and build their own rockets so they can go into space on their own dime.

      We are an arrogant species, believing our fantasy based "facts" are better than the other person's fake facts.
      If you are wrong, it will be because you are not cynical enough.
      The older we get, the less "Life in Prison" is a deterrent.
      Always wear a proper mask when out and about. The life you save could be both yours and mine.

      • #439486
        gordyfl
        Participant
        • Total Posts: 1,842

        “The problem is too many people see the low prices and not the abuse and slavery behind the ‘low prices'”.

        I think you hit the nail on the head. Also, there are many people trying to stretch their paychecks. The key is politicians must support workers…and unions — and not just at election time, as we’ve seen in the past.

        I don’t believe Amazon would be paying its workers $15 / hour if it wasn’t for Bernie Sanders pushing Bezos. Remember the feud between Bezos and Bernie? And Bernie’s “Jeff Bezos Bill”?

        There’s one rule I have always followed — never shop at a store where I see striking workers.
        There have been times I’ve seen employees on strike standing on the highway, far away from the entrance of the store. Yet plenty of shoppers are heading inside because the store is promoting big sales. No matter how small the group of workers on strike, no matter what sales the store is promoting, I won’t go inside.

        I recall one time on the Las Vegas Strip there were workers on strike standing on the sidewalk in front of a casino / hotel. They had a bullhorn. There were cameras pointing at the strikers, most likey installed by the casino. The casino was giving away many freebies inside, and many people were walking inside ignoring the strikers. I don’t remember the name of the hotel but when I went back many months later, the employees were still on strike, and the casino was still attracting customers.

        • #439628
          Jim Lane
          Participant
          • Total Posts: 874

          @gordyfl

          You report seeing a long-running strike at a Las Vegas casino. That was almost certainly the strike at the Frontier, which lasted more than six years (1991-98), with 24-hour picketing by the strikers. It ended only when the property was sold and the new owner reached a settlement with the union.

          A key difference between the Frontier and Amazon was the intense competition faced by the former. With the construction of more modern casinos on the Strip, many of the older properties couldn’t survive. Several have been closed and demolished. That fate befell the Frontier in 2007.

          It takes a lot of capital to start a new casino – but that’s as nothing compared to what it would take for someone to start a true competitor to Amazon. There are specialized online retailers. AFAIK, however, there is no other company that offers Amazon’s comprehensive “A to Z” product range.

          • #439632
            gordyfl
            Participant
            • Total Posts: 1,842

            As I remember, as you head downtown, it was on the left hand side. Near Circus Circus. With all those casinos, I couldn’t understand why so many people would choose that casino and walk right past the strikers.

            Like you said, Amazon has very little competition. We have very few options. Like Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft, YouTube — very few options. I guess we can call them monopolies.

            I think it would be a good thing if Amazon workers unionized. They lost the battle in Alabama, but I think they’ll try again elsewhere. If at first you don’t succeed….

    • #439389
      gordyfl
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 1,842

      I only use Amazon as a last resort — when I can’t find what I’m looking for at the box stores.

      I don’t buy clothes or shoes online and don’t mind paying more so I can see the product, feel the material, and try it on for size. I don’t like having to return things.

      I once bought a book through Amazon. It was from an Amazon vendor. The book was “used” they said, but “like new”. The book was in absolute terrible condition. I complained to Amazon. They told me to keep the book — no charge.

      Also, I try not to use my credit card online so I always purchase those cash / gift cards in advance.

      As for Amazon employees, I’m glad they’re now making $15/hour minimum. Walmart is catching up. I think it’s a matter of time before employees of large companies unionize and get better benefits. Maybe a pension. They’ve got to keep plugging away. Ford Motor unionized because the employees fought for it, not because people stopped buying Fords.

      That’s my take.

    • #439391
      RufusTFirefly
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 2,504

      They destroy good paying jobs and kill local businesses. The few local businesses remaining have little choice but to raise their prices in order to pay their rising rents and stay afloat. Further impoverished, people are left with even less disposable income, which means they feel they can’t afford to shop local anymore. Thus, more businesses die, and the pattern continues. Lather, rinse, repeat.

      We have to break the cycle.

      Buy local, buy less, go to garage sales, get better at fixing things instead of throwing them away, and resist the temptation to impulse buy or to purchase things you don’t really need that marketers or your media-mesmerized relatives, friends and neighbors have convinced you to crave.

      • #439419
        closeupready
        Participant
        • Total Posts: 2,658

        What about OSHA? Or the NLRB? The federal government has incomparable power to regulate businesses like Amazon, but they have chosen instead to look the other way on so many of Amazon’s abuses. In doing so, they have given Amazon a green light to go ahead and grow bigger and bigger and more powerful, without limit.

        In the face of that, the ethical consumer can still do whatever they want to do, but it will not have any impact, IMO.

        The opinions and personal views expressed herein are solely those of the author, and should never be taken seriously.

    • #439394
      game meat
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 1,533

      That’s the one thing I thought would be immune from the shift away from retail. I would think that the convenience of buying shirts and what not online would be negated by the annoyance of having to return stuff all the time. I find that sizes are a rough estimate at best, and that you can’t trust that one size will fit the same even if it’s the same brand. That’s why I despise shopping for clothes. If I go to the store and try on ten things and half of them fit, I consider the outing a smashing success. Either way, it’s done in a day,and I get it over with.

      For instance, in general I have a 34in waist, but some brands are strangely big so it’s a 32 there, or maybe the legs are too tight… Same with shirts, more often than not I take a medium, but sometimes it’s a large. You just never know. The first thing I try on is rarely what I end up buying. Idk, maybe I’m a bit pickier than most in having stuff fit just right. I do see lots of people wearing clothes that don’t really fit.

    • #439401
      ArtfromArk
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 1,619

      ***

      “There’s a new spirit abroad in the land. The old days of ‘grab and greed’ are on their way out. We’re beginning to think of what we owe the other fellow, not just what we’re compelled to give him. The time’s coming… when we shan’t be able to fill our bellies in comfort while others go hungry, sleep in warm beds while others shiver in the cold.... And God willing, we’ll live to see that day…” Basil Rathbone,"Sherlock Holmes Faces Death" (Universal 1943)

    • #439403
      beeninthewoods
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 117

      but some country “nationalized” an Amazon like entity. Works just like Amazon but the state has some control over it. Makes sure that vendors get decent contracts and pricing, makes sure employees are treated fairly. Roll the profits back into the business.

      Seems like a great solution to me. A not for profit online mega retailer.

    • #439434
      doh1304
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 1,701

      The difference between the minimum price of “necessities” (things like jeans and t-shirts and such) and the “designer” stuff is so narrow that there is little difference between the cost of living for the $30k income and the $90k income – except that now the $90k can actually afford a pair of jeans without going without supper that week.

      I used to have a social group with both earning types. We saw very little difference in life styles. Today, 25 – 30 years later – the same group has a huge difference in lifestyle. The higher end earners have essentially the same lifestyle while I am still wearing the same clothes (not the same style, the same clothes)

      • #439490
        djean111
        Participant
        • Total Posts: 6,536

        Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.

        But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

        This was the Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socioeconomic unfairness. —Men at Arms

        Not much to add to that – it is perfectly true.

        America is not a country, it's just a business. (Brad Pitt, Killing Them Softly)

        Everything I post is just my opinion, and, honestly, I would love to be wrong.

    • #439495
      MizzGrizz
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 3,551

      ..about where I shop or much of anything else.

      I’m not fond of Wal-mart,but if I can get some food item there I can’t get at my preferred  local grocery store,I’d use it once in awhile.I buy Kindle books from Amazon to save space in our house,but when I buy out of print hardbacks I go to an Amazon third party seller.

      If that shows lack of morality,so be it.Don’t care anymore.

      • #439501
        closeupready
        Participant
        • Total Posts: 2,658

        There was a topic here a couple years ago about self-checkout replacing human cashiers, and how this was a bad development because it would put people out of work.

        I got flamed for replying that the cashiers at my local supermarket were horrible and rude, and that I would not shop at a supermarket without self-checkout machines. But it’s still true, though a few of the new cashiers have actually gotten nicer and I will go to one of their lines if I see them open. It gives some people a kick to play a game of “who’s ruder?” with supermarket employees. Not sure why, except their lives are sad and boring, but I am not going to engage in that. And I will put my items down and leave the store before doing that.

        If that makes me an awful person, oh well.

        The opinions and personal views expressed herein are solely those of the author, and should never be taken seriously.

        • #439515
          MizzGrizz
          Participant
          • Total Posts: 3,551

          ..so many people willing to play that game of “I am more moral than you”…that even their shopping choices reflect their virtue and goodness.

          It’s just another game,@closeupready,like politics,and I just can’t care anymore.I’m just so relieved that someone else gets it—these days,you never know.

      • #439618
        Ohio Barbarian
        Moderator
        • Total Posts: 21,869

        This may not be an option for you, I don’t know. We bought a Kobo reader directly from the manufacturer. Kobo is headquartered in Toronto, while the parent company, Rakuten, is Japanese. It’s at least as good as the Kindle. One model has Overdrive downloaded onto it.

        Here’s the catch. Our local public library is hooked up to Overdrive, so we can check out just about any book in the library system and download it for free. You can also buy books from Kobo to download, and their selection is quite extensive.

        It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

        You can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution.--Fred Hampton

    • #439590
      doh1304
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 1,701

      Background: I am in my mid sixties and look it. I have 1 credit card. I also have Parkinson’s. I do not shake much, but I do have very bad balance, such that when I carry something I must distribute weight equally or I will fall to one side.

      The story: I was in a supermarket with an in store pharmacy. I picked up a prescription. Since the store and the pharmacy were separate I paid the pharmacy. Then I bought groceries. My bank saw 2 charges from the same address and assumed the card had been stolen. They blocked the card and sent a text message to my cell phone – the one with the buttons that are as big as quarters so that someone with Parkinson’s can use it (hint: it doesn’t exist) I had to go home and use my landline to call and get the card unblocked. But I still needed food, so I went back to the store. I bought 2 quart bottles . Well, the checker tried to load them both into the same bag. I said “No, use two bags. She produced a second bag and started loading a jar of pickles into the second bag. I said “No.” so she tried to double bag a third bag. “No, Just two bags.” so she double bagged the one with the 2 heavy bottles. She would up calling her manager – he tried to load the bottles in one bag and the pickles in a second.  It was a Monty Python skit and I was John Cleese. I finally  bagged it myself.

       

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