“Cyber Monday” is coming up — get out there and buy stuff!
You don’t actually have to “get out there” anywhere, for this gimmicky shop-shop-shop day lures us to consume without leaving home, or even getting out of bed. Concocted by Amazon, the online marketing monopolist, Cyber Monday is a knock-off of Black Friday — just another ploy by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to siphon sales from real stores.
Seems innocent enough, but behind Amazon’s online convenience and discounted prices is a predatory business model based on exploitation of workers, bullying of suppliers, dodging of taxes, and use of crude anti-competitive force against America’s Main Street businesses.
A clue into Amazon’s ethics came when Bezos instructed his staff to get ever-cheaper prices from small-business suppliers by stalking them “the way a cheetah would pursue a sickly gazelle.”
John Crandall, who owns Old Town Bike Shop in Colorado Springs, is one who’s under attack. He offers fair prices, provides good jobs, pays rent and taxes, and lives in and supports the community.
But he’s noticed that more and more shoppers come in to try out bikes and get advice, yet not buy anything. Instead, their smartphones scan the barcode of the bike they want, then they go online to purchase it from Amazon — cheaper than Crandall’s wholesale price.
You see, the cheetah is a multibillion-dollar-a-year beast that can sell that bike at a loss, then make up the loss on sales of the thousands of other products it peddles.
This amounts to corporate murder of small business. It’s illegal, but Amazon is doing it every day in practically every community.
So, on this Cyber Monday, let’s pledge to buy from local businesses that support our communities. For information, go to American Independent Business Alliance: www.amiba.net.
[Editor’s note: In Colorado, see Good Business Colorado.]
OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. Distributed by OtherWords.org.