How many of us have purchased something from Amazon recently?
As Amazon gears up for their Prime Day soon, more people need to be aware of the very real consequences of shopping from big online corporations.
Many of us are turning to online shopping first without even questioning. it, but this is hurting our entire community in more ways than we might be aware. Instead, we should be supporting locally owned businesses that value their employees and customers.
So while buying something from Amazon or another unethical big corporation might save you a couple of dollars, the money spent at mom and pop shops is better put to use. Locally owned businesses provide more and better paying jobs. They also provide much safer work environments than those who work in warehouses encounter.
And the majority of the money spent at a locally owned business will stay circulating in the town’s economy and allow for improvements to be made.
Now for those of you that don’t know, I work in my city’s only independently owned bookstore. And before I started working there, I would shop at Amazon or other big corportaions and not see any issue with it.
But Amazon and other big corporations are killing the small businesses unique to our community. These businesses add a lot of value to our town, and the money spent allows for better schools, libraries, and other public infrastructure.
On top of that, shopping local is also substantially better for the environment as it saves transportation fuels and all the materials used to package online orders.
So every single time we spend money at a company like Amazon, we undermine our own community and future.
By now, most are probably aware of about how many people have lost their jobs because the place they worked at was not able to keep up with online competition. But I’m not sure we are aware of just who and how many people were affected.
According to Dr. Jack Rasmus, an economics and politics professor at St. Mary’s College in California, “It’s no secret that Amazon’s business model has destroyed tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of jobs of US workers in industries like bookstores (independent and chains like Borders Inc.). Its business model then expanded beyond book selling to general retail and resulted in destruction of local electronic, toy stores, and other mom & pop retail. In recent years this effect has begun to expand to what are called ‘big box’ retail stores like Sears, JC Penny, and others. Severely weakened by Amazon competition, they have begun closing stores and thus eliminating thousands of jobs.”
However, you may be thinking that Amazon has helped to create plenty of jobs as well. And yes, they have. But the employees of those jobs are not valued.
There are many accounts posted all over the internet from those who have worked in Amazon warehouses and complained of being denied being able to use the bathroom when necessary or having to constantly push themselves to get tasks done so that their rate doesn’t drop and they don’t get fired.
John Oliver, a television host, recently did a segment all about the dark truths of working in at a warehouse for Amazon. Here’s a link if you want to watch: https://adage.com/article/media/watch-john-olivers-spoof-ad-about-what-its-really-work-amazon-warehouse/2181016
As I mentioned before, I work in an independent bookstore. And part of my job is to greet a customer and ask if I can help them find something. Many people take me up on my offer and I will look through the store and try to find a book for them that I think they will love. And many people appreciate that.
But unfortunately some people will look them over, and then tell me that they will just purchase them off Amazon instead since they are cheaper.
This happens to mom and pop shops more often than you may realize…
Yes, products off of Amazon are cheaper. They are cheaper because Amazon can sell products for the cost it takes to make the product and then make money off of shipping or memberships. Locally owned businesses can’t sell them for cost price because then they won’t be able to make a profit and stay in business.
Rest assured though that your money spent at an independently owned business will have so much of a greater impact than handing your money over to the richest man in the world’s company.
With small businesses, the owner and the employees care so much more about making sure the customer is satisfied. If you’ve ever had a bad experience at a Walmart, Wendy’s, Zaful, or other big corporation then you know what I’m talking about. I know that with my job, I always try to do my best to keep the customer happy so that they will want to come back.
Now I want to paint a picture of what a future with more people shopping local could be like.
Imagine ten years from now, you hold your kid’s hand as the cashier at a locally owned business smiles and hands you your change. You know that behind that smile is gratitude for you helping them to earn a paycheck. As you leave the building you look down the street and see the newly built school your child now attends. You know it was able to be built because of the money spent at locally owned businesses that stays circulating in the town’s economy. The small business owner, the employees, your child, the community, and the environment are all better off because you chose to support somebody’s dream.
I want you to know that this can be a reality.
The best way to support a locally owned business is to shop from them. But there are other ways to show your support as well. Tell your friends and family good things about the store. Or write a positive review on social media and encourage your friends to do the same. Really there are so many different ways to help promote your favorite independently owned stores!
So the next time you want to buy something online, check with your locally owned businesses first. Because whoever is reading this might one day open up their own business, Let’s hope that the locals will be there to support you in your entrepreneurship.