Shipping Is Never Free: One Businessman’s Argument To Shop Local
Like many people who run their own small- or medium-sized business, I pay attention to what’s being said in the news, especially when it comes to business trends. One thing that has been getting a lot of attention lately is the growing tension between Amazon and America’s small businesses.
We’ve all seen it: the growing wave of Amazon deliveries on the doorsteps of our neighborhoods is unavoidable, and evidence of a transformation in the way we live. And Amazon sits astride this change.
And why should we care whether or not local retail survives? Some say local operators just can’t compete with a behemoth like Amazon. When you’ve got virtually every product in the world just a keystroke away, why shop locally?
Let’s start with the retailers, mostly small businesspeople trying to make a living by selling something of value to their fellow citizens. They have always faced competition from national retailers, but they had one ace in the hole: convenience. The Amazon model eliminated that.
So more each year, small retailers are going belly up. Some will be replaced by national retailers, but as Amazon grows, even the nationals are starting to look over their shoulders. This is bad news for our neighborhoods, for our cities and for our communities.
And for our planet. Don’t think so? Then consider the following scenario.
The Amazon System: A Model Of Waste
A young woman orders a pair of shoes online. She chooses the free shipping option, and they are promptly shipped to her address.
The fulfillment center that sends them to her has typically already received these shoes in a shipment from the factory–or from yet another middleman.
If they don’t fit (or she just doesn’t like them), she returns them, and they are shipped yet again.
The process repeats itself, until the young woman has the perfect shoes.
Now consider that this waste of time, energy and resources happens millions of times a day, every day. It’s a crime.
The Solution: Shop Local
Our culture has become used to the endless options and easy satisfaction of online shopping. But when something seems too good to be true, it generally is. The costs of this practice already go beyond what we can imagine: the Amazon model of commerce is causing harm to our already hurting planet, and threatening our very existence.
But just like things changed, they can change again. So, the next time you need to do a little shopping, please remember what you can do to help a local business, and your planet: Shop Local. Hey, you might even get a little exercise.
See you next time!