Supporting Small Businesses

Discussion in 'Business & Economics' started by Bowser, Sep 30, 2017.

  1. Bowser Right Here, Right Now Valued Senior Member

    So I made a choice today, pay more at a small local shop rather than save money on Amazon. The difference is that a shop owner can answer questions in much greater depth than you will ever get from Amazon, so I suppose those extra dollars paid for expertise, which has value.

    I worry that those small shops will die with the escalation of online shopping, and I try, from time to time, to shop at small businesses.
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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Online commerce is one of the few ways small businesses can compete with outfits like Walmart.

    The two biggest killers of small business in the US have been the body of tax incentives for foreign investment of US capital, and the steep rise in the cost of domestic health insurance. Both of these are consequences of Republican Party ascendancy in US national politics.
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  5. Jordan.S Registered Member

    I think it's not right to have the notion that Amazon has ousted small businesses. It is us, the people who have destroyed these small business. I mean most people need instant gratification and convenience and Amazon simply happened to provide a channel that was able to achieve just that. They saw an opportunity and they decided to capitalize on it.
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  7. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    They also used political and economic leverage to alter the legal and customary environment in which business is done - giving themselves further advantages.

    Amazon started out selling books - and its CEO is on record as being unable to read for any length of time without falling asleep. He doesn't like books, or reading them, and did not when he launched the business. So nothing he did took any consideration of the effects on the social practice of reading and writing and publishing books - no management or preservation of the exploited resource, no maintenance of the business or its supply and customer base, received any attention from him. The net effect was to have mined a large amount of a certain kind of equity, in a fashion similar to a landowner highgrading his woods and overwheating his fields - a large pile of money up front, a degraded resource and reduced stream of earnings left behind. Whether this continuing operation will destroy the book publishing industry altogether is hard to predict - but already it shows signs of becoming a niche business catering to the fairly wealthy and the professional class. Which is as it was, of course, many years ago - we may see a return to a society in which only the elites read and write as an art, and are therefore fit to judge, govern, advise, etc.
  8. River Ape Valued Senior Member

    If you shop through Amazon rather than go to the local shop, you may still be supporting a small business -- one of the countless small businesses that sell through Amazon. Here in the UK there have never been more people running small, sometimes family, sometimes one-man (or woman) businesses. The great majority of these small businesses are selling online, whether through Amazon, eBay, Delcampe, etc or through their own website.
    So what has changed is less a BIG** vs SMALL issue as INTERNET defeats HIGH STREET. This makes a big social change to communities. The general disappearance of big manufacturing plants that used to see neighbours working for the same firm, the replacement of buses by cars, the decline of churchgoing, and increasing ethnic diversity are all factors which tend towards the decline of community integration.
    As a former shopkeeper from a family of shopkeepers (living in a "nation of shopkeepers") I regret the disappearance of diversified small shops and even of retail chains. But it seems to me a smaller problem than the dissolution of community based social life.

    **But the unrivalled power of Amazon is something I do not feel happy about. Competition often used to arise through the geographic separation of rivals but that no longer applies. The web has killed geography.
  9. Bowser Right Here, Right Now Valued Senior Member

    Yeah, great point. I'm not a huge shopper, but I would hate to see vacant store fronts in my area. When you consider the arrival of the shopping mall, and now online commerce, the small business owner doesn't have much of a chance unless they can supplement their revenue by getting in on the game. At the very least, Amazon does hold the door open by partnering with independent businesses.
  10. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I don't see it as my obligation to "support" any business. I live in a large city but the main local shopping I do is just at my local grocery store. I've never been overly impressed with local small businesses.

    When I was a kid, small shops are all that existed. They didn't carry very much, it was overpriced and the sales staff wasn't particularly knowledgeable about anything other than selling.

    Local small businesses that embrace the internet can do well and without an effort from me to go out of my way to "support" them.

    The ones that "support" me will do well.

    A job "selling" refrigerators is not a job that should support a grown man and his large family. He needs to do more than that. I already understand how refrigerators work.

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