Who Hijacked Our Country

Monday, November 19, 2012

Boycott Cyber Monday?

Several activist groups are urging consumers not to do any online shopping on Cyber Monday — that’s next Monday, the first Monday after Thanksgiving.

Two groups, American Rights at Work and Jobs With Justice, have joined forces on an anti-Cyber Monday campaign.  Their main objection is “dangerous, sweatshop-like working conditions facing U.S. warehouse workers who fulfill online orders for retailers like Wal-Mart and Amazon.”  Complaints include the “backbreaking pace of work,” “extreme temperature,” and “expendable employment.”

These problems need to be corrected, but I think a boycott would only accomplish mass layoffs and firings.  What say you?

I have a totally different reason for opposing Cyber Monday and online shopping in general.  I live in a small town — population just under 20,000 — and the downtown is thriving.  (Knock wood.)

Needless to say, online shopping is about as popular among local merchants as Greenpeace at a frackers’ convention.  The common wisdom — I’ve never seen any proof of this but it makes sense — is that when you shop at a locally-owned store, sixty cents of every dollar you spend stays in the community.

If you shop at a large chain or Big Box, only SIX cents of every dollar stays in the community.  And obviously if you shop online, ZERO cents stays in your community.

If nobody in your area has the item you’re looking for, then obviously you’ll have to buy it online.  But other than that…

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Blogger Mr. Charleston said...

Great idea Tom and great logic vis a vis local merchants. Unfortunately, in large cities the big box stores have virtually driven the small guys out of business and I dislike them so that I buy online simply to avoid the hassle. I guess I'm a sinner.

November 19, 2012 at 5:19 PM  
Anonymous Jess said...

I'm doing the small business buying Sunday again this year. They have been doing it for a while where you frequent your local mom and pop places. I do that anyway but I can get a faster finish to my holiday shopping this weekend and not have to go into any malls or wait to have things ship, that may not get here in time like a couple yrs ago. Everyone should try and do that so money stays local. I know it is hard in some areas of the country, but if you can do it. Store people will get to know you and you get to know them.
Here is the book of face page for it, if any of you are interested.

November 19, 2012 at 7:15 PM  
Anonymous Jess said...

OOps, that should read Saturday.

November 19, 2012 at 7:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well California finally taxed online purchases, that I have to figure a lot of people are still broke.

I still believe in Local, but I wish the merchants would remove that attitude thinking they are the only game around when I walk in.


November 19, 2012 at 10:06 PM  
Blogger S.W. Anderson said...

This is complicated. I understand your sentiment, Tom, and to some extent I share it. But the choices aren't always so simple.

I have run into too many situations where virtually every store in my area of a particular type carries the same items, with little difference in selection and price unless one is offering a loss-leader or clearance special. Too often, if you need something a bit out of the ordinary or an item to go with something your buying, local stores won't have it. If they order it for you, it may or may not come in a reasonable time and may or not be the right thing. And, any more if they don't have it, they're quick to tell you to go online to get it!

Mall stores are especially problematic. They pay plenty to locate in their fancy surroundings and pass that high cost on to customers. Too often, the selection is limited and the markups are outrageous.

I have consistently been able to find the out of the ordinary things and add-on or accessory-type items I was interested in at Amazon, Newegg or some other major online seller's. Just what I wanted and at a decent price. Sometimes at a remarkably low price. Over 10 years, I've been sent the wrong thing exactly once.

I do shop locally for a good many things. I do that when I can, when the place has what I'm after and the price is fair. At the same time I don't feel guilty about shopping online.

November 20, 2012 at 12:39 AM  
Anonymous Jolly Roger said...

I prefer mom-and-pop if available, and I still have the means to do it. But there are, it seems to me, fewer things all the time that I still have that as an option for. The deliberate actions of the big box set have left us with a dearth of choices. I'd rather swim in a hog trough than shop at a Mao-Mart, of course.

November 20, 2012 at 5:15 AM  
Blogger Demeur said...

Not planning to shop at all this year thereby keeping all the money in the community. Exactly how a family can spend an average of $500 to $700 for the season is beyond me. That's not a celebration, it's pure narcissism.

November 20, 2012 at 9:34 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Mr. C: In your case, if "local" means nothing but national chains, you're probably better off shopping online.

Jess: Thanks for the link. That's an excellent approach. I clicked on "Like." That means a lot coming from me since I'm not much of a Facebook person.

Erik: That's true, local stores run the gamut from "Hi, I'm glad you're here" to "I'm busy staring at my fingernails, what do you want?" Needless to say, I only patronize the former and avoid the latter.

SW: I can relate to all those problems with local stores. My wife actually does a lot of online shopping, but only after making sure her favorite local shops don't carry the item.

JR: Hmmm, swimming in a hog trough or shopping at Mao-Mart, that's a tough call.

Demeur: I'm a notorious cheapskate myself, so I do very little shopping (Christmas or any other time).

November 20, 2012 at 12:19 PM  
Anonymous Jess said...

@Demuer, we only shop for the kids in my family. Adults pick a name and it's usually send a donation to this cause or that one in my name. I think our family pool this year, is going to animal shelters in the areas affected by the hurricanes, at least that is what my aunt told me last night. My gfs and I are doing our friend one, to the Trevor Project and Ali Forney center for LGBT youth like last year.

November 20, 2012 at 2:05 PM  

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