You know, I honestly used to enjoy buying certain books from this giant non taxing paying Walmart in the ethernet sky. That was before slave labor was discovered, and the foisting of kindle on the masses began. This new development takes the slime bucket award. Mysterious Galaxy, a fantastic indie bookstore featuring mystery and science fiction stock posted this on their newsletter:
“This week Amazon.com announced that customers who go into bricks-and-mortar stores this Saturday, December 10, and use the company’s smartphone price check app on selected products will be rewarded with a discount when purchasing from them instead, up to $5. While books are not included in the promotion, we want you to know how much we care about independent businesses and how antagonistic we think this move is.”
Mysterious Galaxy went on to urge customers to shop indie this Saturday, to show support for your town and neighbors.
I came to this info late, obviously, and am simply furious. Of course I know amazon is doing nothing illegal, and naturally those who love capitalism in all of its ugly forms will claim it’s just business as usual. But sometimes legality isn’t the issue, morality is. And we can all rest assured that Jeff Bezos isn’t well endowed, in the morality department.
Here’s what the CEO of The American Booksellers Association had to say in an open letter:
“Dear Jeff Bezos,
We’re not shocked, just disappointed.
Despite your company’s recent pledge to be a better corporate citizen and to obey the law and collect sales tax, you created a price-check app that allows shoppers to browse Main Street stores that do collect sales tax, scan a product, ask for expertise, and walk out empty-handed in order to buy on Amazon. We suppose we should be flattered that an online sales behemoth needs a Main Street retail showroom.
Forgive us if we’re not.
We could call your $5 bounty to app-users a cheesy marketing move and leave it at that. In fact, it is the latest in a series of steps to expand your market at the expense of cities and towns nationwide, stripping them of their unique character and the financial wherewithal to pay for essential needs like schools, fire and police departments, and libraries.
But maybe we’ve misunderstood.
Even though you’ve spent millions on lobbyists, fired affiliates in seven states, and threatened to shut warehouses to avoid collecting sales tax, maybe you really mean it now when you say you support a level playing field.
It’s up to you to show us.
In the meantime, indie retailers remain the heart of countless communities — offering discovery, energy, support, and unique experiences. See you on Main Street.
Oren Teicher, CEO
American Booksellers Association”
Unfortunately for all of us, Bezos doesn’t give a rat’s you know what about any one’s opinion. Clearly, he has taken the robber baron moniker seriously and intends to carry through with as much selfish behavior as possible, to maintain his empire of ill gotten gains.
What I want to know is, where are all the people who championed Bezos early on, who are usually so in tune with the common people? I’m talking about you, Oprah Winfrey. I remember seeing Bezos on your show when he just began his enterprise, and you couldn’t praise his accomplishments enough, even though he’d yet to turn a profit, except for himself. Where are the condemnations for him–now that amazon has been exposed as an operation whose labor practices include working people to the breaking point, supplying no relief from unheard of temperatures, not even to open a side door to the warehouse, and utilizing a temp agency as a come on to laborers with the false promise of permanent employment, only to lay every person off who comes within spitting distance of that promised land? You who champion reading, you who created a book club that millions followed like lemmings, where are you now when your book god has decided he is above paying taxes like any other legitimate business, and has declared war on brick on mortar businesses by bribing amazon patrons to go into their neighborhood stores and find the product they need, and then go to their computer and buy from him?
We all know how you kindled his gadget to replace the physical book–you practically swooned over the thing, and him. Does it bother you at all that the only books you are allowed to read on his kindle must be bought from him? Why do I think, probably not? You’re rich enough to have every damn electronic device to download whatever book you feel like browsing at any given time–kindle would be just one. You certainly would never feel the unfairness of this practice. God, you even have a class on how to use it on your website! Nothing morally appalling for you at all? Given the newest knowledge that your pal refuses to pitch into helping the economy recover, has no problem trying to collapse any other business out there that local communities depend on for their tax revenue–for those schools you are always supposedly championing? Or, is Africa the only spot deserving of decent schools?
I’m disgusted with Bezos, but I think I’m more disgusted with those who built up his reputation, who practically make his fortune for him, in their criticism-less ballyhoo. And who now remain silent while his power hungry juggernaut takes out as many little bookstores, businesses, that it can.
Is this supposed to be the future of the printed word? One man controlling what is downloadable onto devices, one man trying to keep from paying his fair share to help our country responding to demands for him to be morally responsible, he begins an assault designated to gut REAL businesses?
I’d love to hear from Ms. Winfrey, on how SHE justifies support to a man and company whose practices would have once been exposed on her program as morally reprehensible and in need of stopping.
And since hell will freeze over before that happens, in the mean time, we who understand just exactly what Bezos is doing and hoping to accomplish in the future, should be spreading the word, ending all purchases, and try to buy what we can from our local community tax paying businesses who have a stake in OUR future, as opposed to Bezos, who only cares about how much more money just HE can make. If he were a real man, a real human being, he would step up to his responsibilities gladly and contribute to someone else’s future other than his own selfish morally bankrupt one.
Visit Mysterious Galaxy: http://www.mystgalaxy.com/