On a recent walk in my neighborhood, I saw a large, white, unmarked van pull over. Two men got out. They walked around to the back of the van, opened the double doors, and proceeded to remove a package. When they did, I couldn’t help but notice nearly every visible box stacked inside had the Amazon logo.
I assumed the men were extra drivers hired for the holiday season, either by the post office or a package delivery service. It didn’t really matter who they were working for. What mattered to me – or rather, what bothered me – was the fact that Amazon appears to be taking over the world.
What started out in 1994 as an online bookstore, has morphed into a one-stop-shopping destination for nearly everything you could ever want or need. With their recent acquisition of Whole Foods, they’re now in the grocery business as well. From books to bananas, they’ve got it all!
I guess putting local bookstores across America out of business wasn’t enough. Until everyone everywhere buys everything from Amazon, I doubt founder Jeff Bezos will be satisfied. He wants our money, and he wants it all.
Apparently, we are happy to comply. As of Black Friday, Bezos has now become the first person in the 21st century to reach a net worth over $100 billion. I’m all for free enterprise, but this is going too far. No one needs that much money – OR that much power!
Well, I take that back. There’s a lot of people who would truly benefit from being empowered by having a portion of that money. If you haven’t guessed, I’m talking about the people who live and work in your community and in mine.
The Alternative to Amazon
That is why I stopped giving my money to Amazon quite a while ago. Preferring to feed my money into the local economy, instead of contributing to a conglomerate, I either buy from a local retailer or a private seller.
If I can’t find what I need locally, I’ll order online. But even then, I try to buy direct from the manufacturer or from a person selling it used on eBay. I guess what I’m saying is . . . I go out of my way to avoid buying anything from Amazon.
It’s not just that every dollar that goes to Amazon is a dollar that isn’t going into our local economy. It’s that Amazon isn’t in the business of empowering people. Instead, they are here to dominate the market. And that, my friends, is never a good thing for anyone anywhere.
I don’t care how convenient it is to go online, find exactly what I want, and get it delivered right to my door. Convenience is not a virtue. Convenience just means something is easy, and that’s what Bezos is banking on.
But true virtue is rarely easy or convenient. True virtue is looking at the big picture and doing the right thing. It requires us to look beyond our own little microcosm to see how our behavior affects the rest of humanity. When it becomes clear we are helping feed the monster devouring us all, we must own up to our collaboration.
Severing All Affiliation with Amazon
Although I haven’t bought anything from Amazon in a long time, I have encouraged others to do so by continuing to be an Amazon Affiliate. In the beginning, I reasoned people were going to buy from them anyway, so my taking a stand wasn’t going to make a difference. Even so, having the Amazon book links on my website bothered me.
I felt like a hypocrite. Many times over the course of this past year I wanted to remove them, but didn’t. I reluctantly let them be, since one of the ways bloggers make a living is through affiliate programs.
Now, however, I can no longer reconcile my behavior. That is why I have officially and finally and gladly severed all ties with Amazon. A visit to my LIBRARY page will confirm it. Where once there were links to purchase recommended books on Amazon, there are now simply book images.
Of course, I hope you’ll still read the books. But I hope you’ll buy them from a local bookstore. If they don’t have the title you are looking for, ask them to order it for you!
It might mean having to leave the comfort of your home to pick it up, but that’s not a bad thing. Going out into the world and interacting with actual people might seem old fashioned, but there is a name for it. It’s called community.
Until we value community above convenience, the monster called Amazon (and others like it) will just keep getting bigger. We the people have immense power. Our power is in how we spend our money. We can use it to feed the monsters, or we can use it to feed the kingdom of people residing in our good land.
As for me, I’m for feeding all of you. Together, we can ALL prosper!