It’s “Cyber Monday” — get out there and buy stuff!
But you don’t actually have to go 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 the use of crude anti-competitive forces 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, lives in and supports the community. But he has noticed that more and more shoppers come in to try out bikes and get advice, yet don’t 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 — and, yes, 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.
This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.