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The Amazon Effect

Huntn

Misty Mountains Envoy
Joined
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Chupacabra wrestling in Tejas
Amazon appears to rule the retail environment. Years ago in another thread, in another forum, I mentioned this. I told you the story of spending 3 hours driving all over town looking for a specific kind of swim trunks for lap swimming and no one had them in stock. Amazon did, recieved in 2 days. Then there was the wireless phone battery, where I called the local Batteries Plus store, and they did not stock them, but could get them for me in 10 days. And finally the plumbing gasket I needed that the local plumbing supply store that caters to contractors did not stock. Amazon? Overnight. In all cases less expensive. In all cases, except for the gasket, multiple pages to choose from.

Ok, fast forward to today, visiting my Son in Wichita, Kansas, needed some stuff, went to the local Walmart Super Center.
  • House slippers- all crappish and on the expensive end for what they offered. Ordered on Amazon.
  • An inexpensive PC headset with a mic and volume control- haha, JBL, Bose. The somewhat inexpensive ones were wireless which I don’t want and where crappy looking, not sure if they had mics, because they were locked up in a case, no mics were visible, and no one around to help me. Ordered on Amazon.
  • Lightning charger cable- locked up and expensive. The Apple ones, if I did not misread them were $30. Ordered on Amazon.
So again, Amazon wins despite the chance of getting cheap Chinese crap, they have fast delivery and free returns … if you are a Prime member. Isn’t everyone? 😉
 
Thankfully Amazon has not taken over Sweden yet, especially not my area. I have pretty much everything I need within walking distance and multiple options for everything. Groceries, hardware, electronics, furniture, clothes, shoes, you name it! Competitive prices too, typically options ranging all the way from el cheapo to pricey.

Still, not gonna reject a good deal just to divert business from Amazon. Ordered an Xbox Series X from amazon.se at 9:59 AM today, had it by 5:19 PM. Feeling dirty. 😬

Including streaming with Prime is a stroke of genius. And the “Saved for later” basket to simplify waiting for price drops before buying something is awesome. Not to mention their immensely useful aggressive price matching, perfect when one of my locally available stores have a sale and run out of the item I wanted.
 
I don’t buy anything from Amazon. It is possible even in America.
 
Amazon was a real lifesaver when I found myself suddenly living in Tokyo without knowing the language. Amazon offered scheduled home deliveries and sported machine translated webpages, saving my bacon. I remember feeling super nervous waiting for the first delivery though, the required input format of the address when ordering differed from the one I had been given for my apartment... 😬
 
Unfortunately there are no angels amongst big corps/biz. So I use Amazon sparingly, but had no real choice even Pre-Pandemic due to our location here in Virginia. The last year or so we shop more often with Walmart as there's a super center relatively close. I've watched more Prime stuff, especially my Yanks, to take advantage of Prime membership the last couple years as well. It's nearly impossible to watch every Yankee game with restrictions, blackouts and exclusives.
 
Amazon was a real lifesaver

Amazon and Walmart both were lifesavers for me in the early days of the pandemic, it was when Instacart was still just getting their feet on the ground around here and the supermarkets were of course caught up in the disruption of supply chains. I was already not a driver any more and so I had to resort to the big box guys.

Still, these days, I have mostly quit buying from Amazon because the couriers (FedEx or else Amazon home-brew?) were dumping the parcels on the lawn in a drive-by... leaving them 12 feet from county road. Some say that in rural areas Amazon's FedEx is sometimes USPS contracted carriers for last mile. Either way, they lost my biz. Walmart does better, using UPS which almost always does bring them round to the back porch as specified in my delivery profile. Also what I buy is usually a few specific kinds of groceries in bulk and the Walmart prices are better on that stuff nowadays than at Amazon, at least for stuff like canned salmon or noodle bowls I like to have in my pantry. The supermarkets do have those items, but for an arm and a leg price-wise, so I bulk-buy from Walmart instead.

But Amazon still gets me for Kindle books now and then, and they own Audible, so when I can't find a title on libro.fm I do still keep a stash of Audible credits.
 
What it boils down to for me is convenience. I rail about the Corporatocracy, but I weigh that against local limited
inventory, my time, and ability to acquire a needed item in a timely fashion. Imo, noone can currently compete with them, although on occasion, I I do order items from other entities, eBay, Etsy, and shop the local hardware/lumber yards.
 
What it boils down to for me is convenience. I rail about the Corporatocracy, but I weigh that against local limited
inventory, my time, and ability to acquire a needed item in a timely fashion. Imo, noone can currently compete with them, although on occasion, I I do order items from other entities, eBay, Etsy, and shop the local hardware/lumber yards.
Of course nobody can compete with them. The result of them illegally abusing their monopoly power.
 
Of course nobody can compete with them. The result of them illegally abusing their monopoly power.

Right. And be sure that it crosses my mind EVERY TIME that I avail myself of a Walmart shipment, It was Walmart that drove my general store out of business in 2014. The store was a half-mile down the road and sold everything from barn boots to birthday cards and had operated continuously since 1841.

Sigh. When in the 1990s, a Walmart opened over the hills in Oneonta, which is the location of most non-farm employment around here, business began to drop off at general stores in this area's villages. People who worked in Oneonta and lived on this side of the mountains would stop in after work to shop Walmart for the price breaks, which were substantial. Alas, they could not resist the bargains, even knowing that if they managed to forget something like a quart of milk, eventually the little stores would fail and then it would be --as it is now-- at least a 30-mile round trip to fetch it. Even gas pumps are a 20-mile RT for most villagers in the area now.

To the bitter end, I stuck with the general store because I could afford it. But the other kicker was the Republicans' pressure to close rural village post offices. Once that went and the nearest PO was 7 to 15 miles away, foot traffic in the little general stores fell away and they began to close. The proprietress of the stores nearest here were wizards at knowing what to price low and what could take a hike at least in summer. But nothing could really save them from Walmart in the end, and the post office closures were really just a coup de grace.

So now those of us in retirement in these villages are at the mercy of different wannabe behemoths, the grocery and food delivery services. I won't complain since i appreciate their growing willingness to serve rural areas, but we're all cognizant that monopolies invariably mean less variety and higher prices...
 
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