The Nerve of Amazon

On Saturday December 10, 2011, Amazon offered customers $5 off a $100 purchase if they walk into a store, scan the price with a mobile phone app (to provide the info to Amazon) and then leave the store without buying the item. Read about the deal here and here.

Essentially, Amazon is bribing people to do their market research. And it’s a horrible way for Amazon to undercut competitors. Worse, it’s a cruel way by which Amazon can undercut all brick-and-mortar stores. Locally owned business, as always, stand to suffer the most from this stunt.

While online shopping is one debate, Amazon shopping is an entirely different debate. Amazon cannot and does not support and give back to communities. If everyone bought everything online, where would people work? How would people interact in communities? Shopping is an integral part of daily life (this includes grocery shopping, the hardware store, books, bicycle tires, tools, toys, clothes – you name it), and if that part were to vanish from all of our communities, where would we be?

Sure you can argue the free market economy and capitalism and business strategies. Go ahead. However, just because these giant conglomerates of businesses are typical for today’s world, does not mean it’s the best way of living. I have shopped on Amazon many times, but I’m pretty sure that article was the last straw for me. Thankfully, I did not do any of my Christmas shopping via Amazon.

I like the way this article from Gawker balanced the issues at hand:

By all means use Amazon – they have amazing selection! – but there’s no need to be a tacky jerk to your neighborhood store in the process. Unless that store is a Wal Mart, Target, or American Apparel, in which case go to town (by which we mean, go out of town).

Has anyone else heard about this ploy? How do you feel about Amazon?