Amazon vs. the high street

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

no_amazonWhen buying your presents for Christmas this year consider carefully and think ethics before you think price. I know that in an age of austerity this is not always easy but thinking we must that way nevertheless.

While Amazon may be cheaper than high street stores and even other mail order companies it comes at a price for the workers and the environment.

In addition to that Amazon is playing the tax avoidance game big time and pays little to no taxes in the UK or the US because they are, basically, with their head offices, based in what can only be described as “tax havens”. Furthermore they pay the lowest wages that they can possibly get away with and hate trade unions and the way they deal with their workers is exploitation bordering on slavery that is a risk to the health of those workers. They also are wreckers of bricks-and-mortar bookshops, especially of the small, independent ones but even the large chains are far from immune to their influence.

Yep, "all the bad stuff at once" but you can make a change here, every single one of us, and that is by refusing to make use of Amazon.

Personally, for reasons of ethics, I refuse to buy from Amazon and also will not accept, even when free, as it would be in that case, to take an Amazon published e-book for review. And for the same reason I refuse to publish in the Kindle format and only offer PDF.

It is for the same reasons of ethics, because of workers' rights and treatment and of exploitation of labor and environment, that I will not buy at Walmart or its subsidiaries, such as ASDA in the UK. The old ASDA once was a favorite place to shop for me when they were ASDA, as in Associated Dairies, but that is long past.

As shoppers we can make a difference to the way companies and stores do business and how they operate. Voting with our wallets and our feet is the best message that we can send to them.

So, let's send them the proper message, a message that will hurt them in their profits for it is the only one that they will ever understand. Let's buy our books and other things from local stores and local makers and if it comes to e-books let's insist that they are in PDF and not in Kindle or other format designed to work with but one device type often and being tied to one store.

Help bring life back to the high street – or main street as our American cousins call it – by shopping there as much as possible. And while not all goods may be local, the shops are and best choice is to give our custom to the independents wherever possible.

We can all bring about the change that we wish by even small steps and one of those small steps is to support the High Street and its shops wherever and whenever possible, and give our custom especially to the small and independent stores and the co-ops.

© 2013