The Amazon Effect Transforms Retail Shopping, Hammers Brick & Mortar Locations

Huntn

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I went down to the local home supply store (Lowe’s) to pick up some Christmas lights, found a few, but my wife did not like them. We went to Amazon and there are hundreds of choices, 69 pages worth.
This is what I bought:

Is this good or bad? In someways, it’s very good for the shopper, in others maybe not. This rings back to the Walmart effect in the US when Walmart invaded small towns in the 1980s and obliterated mom and pop stores, with large retail outlets.

Note, this article from 2019, because of COVID, even bigger this year:

Online shopping overtakes a major part of retail for the first time ever​

 

lizkat

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I went down to the local home supply store (Lowe’s) to pick up some Christmas lights, found a few, but my wife did not like them. We went to Amazon and there are hundreds of choices, 69 pages worth.
This is what I bought:

Is this good or bad? In someways, it’s very good for the shopper, in others maybe not. This rings back to the Walmart effect in the US when Walmart invaded small towns in the 1980s and obliterated mom and pop stores, with large retail outlets.

Note, this article from 2019, because of COVID, even bigger this year:

Online shopping overtakes a major part of retail for the first time ever​


Yeah... so what we don't run into at Amazon is what I used to run into in the general store in the nearby village..

(quite aside from a local post office which the store also housed and which drew some of the remaining foot traffic after a Walmart opened up 20 miles away)​
Amazon offers no howdy-neighbor opportunity... and in a rural area, those can be few and far between except for the occasional fund raiser for the firehall or a church roof repair job etc.

Amazon offers no sudden insight via in-store "gossip" back by the deli counter that the Smith-Jones family that just moved into the old Bradford place after Thanksgiving this year has three kids and no one told them about the drawing for Christmas gifts for kids in the village and its environs, so...

Amazon is not going to press upon me a perfectly good 9" Pyrex pie plate for nothing after I helped an old guy up the road spread plastic tarps over his yard sale stuff when a sudden but passing downpour threatened to ruin the look of his offerings that day. ( Nope, I'm gonna have to shell out $7 to $9 for that plate at Amazon)

Amazon does not have the reputation of having continuously employed two or three people down through generation after generation, right from the neighborhood, for the past 175 years. Nope. You can get a job there but you are definitely a number to them, and a cost of doing business, and as soon as Amazon can replace you with a robot, they will. The general store here was still paying people proper wages even as Walmart drove it into the fricken ground...

People here who used to have jobs in Oneonta when there was still a general store in the village, well they took to shopping at Walmart on their way home from work. Now they curse themselves because a) a lot of them don't even have a job any more and b) even if they do, that forgotten quart of milk is now a 40 mile round trip away.

So yeah, sure, I patronize Amazon now. There's always Walmart too... and thank goodness for Instacart so I can shop remotely for perishable groceries. The convenience is attractive, but the main reason I don't shop locally is that there is no more local shopping now here except for farmer's markets in season... here and in a couple thousand other near-village spots in the USA.

The jury is probably out in most thoughtful Americans' minds on the migration from bricks and mortar to online shopping. But warning bells should be ringing when we contrast "69 pages of Christmas light options" at Amazon or Walmart versus the absence of Main Street shopping. We live in a consumer-based economy. Big retail doesn't like to pay big wages. Oligarchies don't have to pay big wages when push comes to shove, and they don't have to pay any wages to the robots they buy (and in which they then invest only low-maintenance budgets) to compete more efficiently with each other. At some point these behemoths will have become the proverbial two dogs facing off over an empty bowl, except the bowl is not really empty. We're in it.
 

SuperMatt

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No Amazon for me. The last thing I got from there was 2 years ago, and it was a gift from somebody else.
 

SuperMatt

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Two stories I read about Amazon today:



Yep, they’re not satisfied with their market dominance yet. They want to literally own everybody in America. They are also using their spy software to determine if workers are starting to try and organize a union. Again, I don’t buy from them... but if you do, I’d suggest not buying any tech that they make, PERIOD.
 

Huntn

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Yeah... so what we don't run into at Amazon is what I used to run into in the general store in the nearby village..

(quite aside from a local post office which the store also housed and which drew some of the remaining foot traffic after a Walmart opened up 20 miles away)​
Amazon offers no howdy-neighbor opportunity... and in a rural area, those can be few and far between except for the occasional fund raiser for the firehall or a church roof repair job etc.

Amazon offers no sudden insight via in-store "gossip" back by the deli counter that the Smith-Jones family that just moved into the old Bradford place after Thanksgiving this year has three kids and no one told them about the drawing for Christmas gifts for kids in the village and its environs, so...

Amazon is not going to press upon me a perfectly good 9" Pyrex pie plate for nothing after I helped an old guy up the road spread plastic tarps over his yard sale stuff when a sudden but passing downpour threatened to ruin the look of his offerings that day. ( Nope, I'm gonna have to shell out $7 to $9 for that plate at Amazon)

Amazon does not have the reputation of having continuously employed two or three people down through generation after generation, right from the neighborhood, for the past 175 years. Nope. You can get a job there but you are definitely a number to them, and a cost of doing business, and as soon as Amazon can replace you with a robot, they will. The general store here was still paying people proper wages even as Walmart drove it into the fricken ground...

People here who used to have jobs in Oneonta when there was still a general store in the village, well they took to shopping at Walmart on their way home from work. Now they curse themselves because a) a lot of them don't even have a job any more and b) even if they do, that forgotten quart of milk is now a 40 mile round trip away.

So yeah, sure, I patronize Amazon now. There's always Walmart too... and thank goodness for Instacart so I can shop remotely for perishable groceries. The convenience is attractive, but the main reason I don't shop locally is that there is no more local shopping now here except for farmer's markets in season... here and in a couple thousand other near-village spots in the USA.

The jury is probably out in most thoughtful Americans' minds on the migration from bricks and mortar to online shopping. But warning bells should be ringing when we contrast "69 pages of Christmas light options" at Amazon or Walmart versus the absence of Main Street shopping. We live in a consumer-based economy. Big retail doesn't like to pay big wages. Oligarchies don't have to pay big wages when push comes to shove, and they don't have to pay any wages to the robots they buy (and in which they then invest only low-maintenance budgets) to compete more efficiently with each other. At some point these behemoths will have become the proverbial two dogs facing off over an empty bowl, except the bowl is not really empty. We're in it.
Valid points, social interaction has benefits. Probably more necessary in rural areas. So being pissed at Walmart was a good option, countered by a huge selection of goods that was not formerly available locally. And each person has to weigh the pros and cons of online to local shopping, the connivence, selection, and substantial savings associated with an online shopping experience.

That said, it seems to me that retail sales clerk has always been a low pay job and that most small business models are based on slave wages. My Gradnson is currently living with us, he had to twist the local Whataburger’s arm for $10 per hour. They wanted to start him at $9.50. And the kicker, the managers make $2 more per hour than him. What the hell. A business that pulls in a large sum of revenue, should be able to pay a manager $40k, but that does not seem to be the case.

Imo any job at a minimum should pay $15 per hour, and I don’t want to hear excuses. :unsure:

Even though it seemed to me that as a clerk in a small town store in the 50s the pay was relatively better, at least that is an assumption, but maybe not.
 
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Huntn

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Two stories I read about Amazon today:



Yep, they’re not satisfied with their market dominance yet. They want to literally own everybody in America. They are also using their spy software to determine if workers are starting to try and organize a union. Again, I don’t buy from them... but if you do, I’d suggest not buying any tech that they make, PERIOD.
I got the message on my Ring device and opted out just because I had security questions. For those who don’t know, Amazon Sidewalk allows wireless networkable devices to connect to other neighborhood networks so if your internet goes out, your device can still record and communicate though the neighbor’s devices to connect to the Ring servers.
 

Clix Pix

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I am an Amazon Prime member and have been for rather a while now....until this past year, I used the service occasionally, when I couldn't find something locally after having been in local shops looking for it. Well, with COVID-19, my shopping habits changed drastically, and I am no longer going over to the local mall for an afternoon of casual browsing, some shopping finished off by a meal before heading home. These days, for the most part when I realize I need (or more likely, just want) something, I check Amazon, see if it is available, which is usually the case, and with the click of a button place my order and the item arrives on my doorstep a day or two later. Now THAT's convenience!

No need to get in the car and go driving from store to store in hopes of finding the desired item.....no risk of being in those stores with those who are careless about wearing masks (or who flat-out refuse to wear one and cause huge scenes)..... I get the item right on my own doorstep, open the box or envelope and there we are.....

That said, though, I am concerned that, yes, this is definitely making inroads on the stores which provide the kinds of items that consumers really want and often need to see in person, touch, test out, before purchasing.... It doesn't matter to me too much one way or another what the sensor-viewing loupe I recently purchased from Amazon looks like, and how it feels in my hands, as long as it does what reviewers on Amazon and in other places described, in the way they described. However, if I am plunking down a few thousand USD for a camera body and/or lens(es), by gum, I want to have a hands-on, touchy-feely experience with those items before making the final decision and purchase. Last November I headed right to a local camera shop to see, handle, decide on the A7R IV and the three lenses I purchased with it; no way I'd order any of that through Amazon! B&H? Yes -- they're a well-established, very reputable camera store with both a physical presence in NYC and a significant online presence. They're a sort of Photographers' Mecca! There have been a few times over the years when I've bought something from B&H that simply was unavailable in local shops for whatever reasons.

Right now there's a lens I've been wanting to buy but have been putting off for this reason, that reason....and the other day when I looked again, I saw that the local camera shop doesn't have it in stock right now, which is disappointing. Fortunately there is no urgency about getting the lens, so I'll wait a couple of months, see if it reappears in the local shop. If not, then I'll order it through B&H and it'll be delivered promptly and safely.... I would never, ever consider ordering that lens through Amazon (I don't even know if they have it available, actually), because sometimes Amazon is casual and careless about how they package and ship their goods. A paperback book? No problem if it's delivered in a bubblewrap envelope or even a non-bubblewrap envelope. Any sort of electronic gear, though? it better be packaged appropriately in a way which will actually protect the contents!

Also with Amazon, one has to be a bit careful about the possibility of counterfeit goods, such as memory cards for cameras. Again, ordering an expensive memory card through Amazon may work out just fine -- or the card may turn out to be a dud because it is counterfeit. This is a situation where I go to the local camera shop and if they don't have what I want, good old B&H will....

So basically my current process is, when I'm interested in something, to check online, read reviews of the item, look at Amazon, see if it is available there and the pricing, and then look online at local stores' websites, see if they've got the same thing in inventory. If it's something like an external SSD, and Microcenter, which is only a few miles down the road from me, has it, I'll get in the car and head down there preferably at a less-busy time during the work day to grab one. If no one has it except Amazon, well, it's Amazon to the rescue....
 

Huntn

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I am an Amazon Prime member and have been for rather a while now....until this past year, I used the service occasionally, when I couldn't find something locally after having been in local shops looking for it. Well, with COVID-19, my shopping habits changed drastically, and I am no longer going over to the local mall for an afternoon of casual browsing, some shopping finished off by a meal before heading home. These days, for the most part when I realize I need (or more likely, just want) something, I check Amazon, see if it is available, which is usually the case, and with the click of a button place my order and the item arrives on my doorstep a day or two later. Now THAT's convenience!

No need to get in the car and go driving from store to store in hopes of finding the desired item.....no risk of being in those stores with those who are careless about wearing masks (or who flat-out refuse to wear one and cause huge scenes)..... I get the item right on my own doorstep, open the box or envelope and there we are.....

That said, though, I am concerned that, yes, this is definitely making inroads on the stores which provide the kinds of items that consumers really want and often need to see in person, touch, test out, before purchasing.... It doesn't matter to me too much one way or another what the sensor-viewing loupe I recently purchased from Amazon looks like, and how it feels in my hands, as long as it does what reviewers on Amazon and in other places described, in the way they described. However, if I am plunking down a few thousand USD for a camera body and/or lens(es), by gum, I want to have a hands-on, touchy-feely experience with those items before making the final decision and purchase. Last November I headed right to a local camera shop to see, handle, decide on the A7R IV and the three lenses I purchased with it; no way I'd order any of that through Amazon! B&H? Yes -- they're a well-established, very reputable camera store with both a physical presence in NYC and a significant online presence. They're a sort of Photographers' Mecca! There have been a few times over the years when I've bought something from B&H that simply was unavailable in local shops for whatever reasons.

Right now there's a lens I've been wanting to buy but have been putting off for this reason, that reason....and the other day when I looked again, I saw that the local camera shop doesn't have it in stock right now, which is disappointing. Fortunately there is no urgency about getting the lens, so I'll wait a couple of months, see if it reappears in the local shop. If not, then I'll order it through B&H and it'll be delivered promptly and safely.... I would never, ever consider ordering that lens through Amazon (I don't even know if they have it available, actually), because sometimes Amazon is casual and careless about how they package and ship their goods. A paperback book? No problem if it's delivered in a bubblewrap envelope or even a non-bubblewrap envelope. Any sort of electronic gear, though? it better be packaged appropriately in a way which will actually protect the contents!

Also with Amazon, one has to be a bit careful about the possibility of counterfeit goods, such as memory cards for cameras. Again, ordering an expensive memory card through Amazon may work out just fine -- or the card may turn out to be a dud because it is counterfeit. This is a situation where I go to the local camera shop and if they don't have what I want, good old B&H will....

So basically my current process is, when I'm interested in something, to check online, read reviews of the item, look at Amazon, see if it is available there and the pricing, and then look online at local stores' websites, see if they've got the same thing in inventory. If it's something like an external SSD, and Microcenter, which is only a few miles down the road from me, has it, I'll get in the car and head down there preferably at a less-busy time during the work day to grab one. If no one has it except Amazon, well, it's Amazon to the rescue....
How long does it take if ever to figure out that a memory card is counterfeit/knockoff, immediately, or not apparent right away? I ask because those kinds of things are no hassle returns. I know Apple charging cables for iOS devices made by third parties are hit and miss, but you can usually tell by reading the reviews and noting the manufacturer.
 

Clix Pix

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How long does it take if ever to figure out that a memory card is counterfeit/knockoff, immediately, or not apparent right away? I ask because those kinds of things are no hassle returns. I know Apple charging cables for iOS devices made by third parties are hit and miss, but you can usually tell by reading the reviews and noting the manufacturer.

I've never had the situation of being confronted with a counterfeit memory card, only going by what others have commented over the years.... I think if one has a genuine card of the same brand and type, then it should be fairly easy to compare that against whatever new suspicious new memory card one has just received or purchased.... I'd imagine that some differences, even subtle ones, would show up immediately. For those who didn't make comparisons, just started using the new card immediately, apparently there were performance issues, the card failed altogether or became corrupted easily, etc. Yes, Amazon is good about returns and I think people who promptly report the situation and return the counterfeit are refunded or are given Amazon credit (for obvious reasons, sending a replacement card isn't going to be effective unless they can guarantee that the new card is the genuine article!). I think Amazon did check things out and verify their sources and are more mindful of the possibilities now than they were a few years ago.

I generally order only brand-name products from Amazon, not something that is Amazon-branded or branded by some company of which I've never heard. That way I am usually assured of getting the product that I expect, especially if it is something and a brand with which I already am familiar anyway. I'd rather pay a little more for a cable coming from a company I know has a reputation for producing good cables than taking a chance on something which may have been made by an unknown outfit which uses cheap materials and which doesn't always take care in the manufacturing process.

Of course even a company like Anker or Belkin can occasionally come up with something which is under par in quality, or doesn't work for whatever reason.
 

Huntn

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An interesting event, I ordered a lemon squeezer from Amazon because I picked up a bag of them from a friend who has more than he can eat. He’s got 3 trees. I was tired of twisting lemons on a ridged dome juice extractor and what I ordered was not electric, but seemed to be a decent quality squeezer, with 2 levers that are squeezed together.

Just one thing, the bowl that holds the lemon as it is squeezed at 2.9” was not wide enough to hold some of the large lemons so I picked out another with a larger bowl 3.8” ordered it, and when I put in for a return (this item was listed as a free return) the return form said “no need to return item”.

I’ve seen this before usually when the item was something like a cheap iPhone charging cable or charger. So now I’ll have 2 hand squeezers, oh or maybe I could use it as a gift, yes! ;) I could of cancelled the second one, but I think I’ll prefer the larger capacity item which claims capable of squeezing oranges as I think back on my college days in Florida where I had incredibly good fresh squeezed oranges from an orange grove, just north of Coral Gables. :coffee: :)
 

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Two fisted lemon squeezers! :D

Fresh lemons sound awesome, we use quite a few, it would be awesome to walk out and just pick a few. That and limes (especially limes for me).
 

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I HATE Amazon. I do not buy anything from them. Jeff Bezos is an asshole.


He doesn't need my money.
I also do not patronize his establishment. I was wondering why their employees just don’t unionize, then I read that Amazon uses tracking technology to figure out when the employees might try to organize and then try to prevent it. Another sad truth: a lot of the blue-collar workers that used to be unionized no longer are, and in fact many of them support Trump and other Republicans and rail against unions while slaving away at low-paying jobs in companies that could be paying them more if they simply organized.
 

Huntn

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I also do not patronize his establishment. I was wondering why their employees just don’t unionize, then I read that Amazon uses tracking technology to figure out when the employees might try to organize and then try to prevent it. Another sad truth: a lot of the blue-collar workers that used to be unionized no longer are, and in fact many of them support Trump and other Republicans and rail against unions while slaving away at low-paying jobs in companies that could be paying them more if they simply organized.
This is where you need a proactive government that encourages unions and does not allow them to be squelched. Yet there seems to be a lot of hostility regarding the concept of unions, which is frankly amazing considering most of us are employees, not owners, not management.
 

SuperMatt

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This is where you need a proactive government that encourages unions and does not allow them to be squelched. Yet there seems to be a lot of hostility regarding the concept of unions, which is frankly amazing considering most of us are employees, not owners, not management.
Agreed... which is why we need to get blue-collar workers back over to the Democrats. Maybe some successful union actions that improve pay, benefits, etc. for workers - and we can win some converts back.
 
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lizkat

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when I put in for a return (this item was listed as a free return) the return form said “no need to return item”.l

That happened to me when I had ordered some teriyaki hokkien noodle bowls and they sent some ramen noodle bowls instead. I too ended up with what they called a returnless refund so they just put a credit on my account. I re-ordered the original stuff and kept the ramen bowls... but I'll be throwing out the sauce packets after sampling one round. I'll just use up the noodles with stir fried veggies.

What I wonder about is their rationale for the returnless refunds. Which items get treated that way? Likely it's just about the cost to process a return back into a hub and a warehouse shelf. Surely that was the case for a couple six-pack crates of noodle bowls.
 
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