I’m no Amazon fan. But I don’t just want to say “Amazon bad.”
I want Amazon to be a force for good. It’s not there.
In a democracy, in an era of climate crisis, we all need to do far better, and Bezos and Amazon could be far more eco (no plastic, styrofoam, not ripping off small businesses, authors, publishers) and mindful if they so chose. Amazon needs to do better.
Here’s some resources on “why Amazon is not worth supporting” I put together.
I’m a fan of supporting local shops, for vibrant downtowns and fun, cheering communities.
I’m no Amazon fan. I’d prefer to support middle-class jobs than Bezos. While that may seem simplistic, Amazon has gutted the publishing/book industry and counterfeited many other once-profitable products. They push their employees to the brink, and beyond, all the while rubbing their hands together gleefully at the prospect of further automation.
And there’s a better way.
Support eco, mindful, independent businesses. We’ve gathered a bunch here. Or support your local moms n’pops or artists you find on Etsy, a company that offsets all its shipping and at least tries to be good for our world.
Here’s a list of reasons I’ve compiled, with sources, for why to skip the buy button on Amazon, and what to do instead (see the last line):
1. We’re cluttering our streets with polluting, idling, bike and car-blocking trucks.
2. We’re shuttering mom n’pops, silencing fun downtowns (and putting middle-class jobs out to pasture). We’re sometimes buying (sometimes fake) things on impulse, that we may not need, instead of supporting authors or craft (more on that below) that genuinely fulfills and improves our lives.
3. We’re filling climate change-gassing container ships.
4. We’re making the very, very, very rich, richer.
5. We’re feeding into Big Brother back door surveillance and Big Data. Echo, Echo, Alexa. Ring, Ring.
6. We’re 1) outsourcing jobs…to b) places with lax environmental regulations, polluting our world and killing our oceans.
7. We’re creating tons of plastic packaging. Maybe they’ll improve in the near future?
8. We’re pushing Amazon workers to the brink, and beyond. And of course Bezos plans to get rid of all of ’em.
9. We’re paying for Amazon twice, via tax incentives. Then, we’re paying a third time in food stamps and benefits for workers who can’t afford to live on their pay, and get sick or hurt on the job.
10. We’re getting conned: we’re paying less, often, saving us money in the short-term–but because vendors/creators/artists get less, and local businesses get nothing or less, we’re gutting jobs (as discussed) and hurting our middle class, ultimately making it harder to afford anything. It’s the long-con—what liberals used to rail against about Wal-Mart, only on a much more ambitious scale (see Cheap Words, below).
Instead, shop local. Shop green. Shop small. Shop craft. Shop less. Shop fun. Shop community.
Amazon is coming for your money, in everything you ever want to do. And it’s eating away at quality and craft and the incomes of those who bring you the products you didn’t know you wanted.
It’s Amazon Prime time—but our local communities have never needed our hard-earned dollars more—ever. It’s literally a matter of Open or Closed.
What do we value more: convenience or craft? Click or community? Amazon or farmers markets or outsourcing vs. middle-class jobs? Why pay a janitor when you can cast a magic spell to clean up the bathroom? Same goes for robots vs union jobs. When I lived in Vermont we had one or two little stores on Main Street to shopping in the nearest town and once in while we would go to Littleton or one of the larger towns a little bit away.
Now everyone buys in big box stores or online. Now those little stores are gone.
Liberals love to hate on Wal-mart, but Amazon is about 10,000 times bigger and more ambitious. You want anything, you can get it without any story, with just a click. And save money. That sounds nice until you realize that the story is craftsmanship, expertise, middle-class jobs, healthcare for hard workers, community, and a strong local and national economy.
For a little taste of why Amazon is gutting America (etc), read “cheap words New Yorker.” Shop local. Support small businesses. Use your hard-earned dollars to protect middle-class jobs. Shop fair-trade. Shop ethical. Create a kinder world. Feed the wolf of equality and environmental responsibility. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.
We must all come together to care for our planet, and each other, lest it cease caring for us, lest our communities can no longer show up for us. Please share:
Cheap Words, in The New Yorker. Read it here in its entirety—it’s riveting.
What’s another effect, wholesome or otherwise, of shopping on Amazon vs. shopping locally or directly from an indie business?
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