Why I’m not Shopping at Amazon (& O.co) and why you Might Give This Some Thought

by Orin U. Unphare – Guest blogger

Why is Amazon.com smiling?

First, let me lay it all out. This is not my real name. I am using a pseudonym because I fear retaliation from Amazon. Why? Well, first, as far as companies go, it is an AMAZON. Second, it is known for retaliating, which is why I’m walking away to begin with.

            To be honest, I got fed up with Amazon a while back when I discovered it sells fur. Fur is a needless product that involves the tormenting and killing of animals. Amazon sells fox, raccoon and rabbit fur.

But now Amazon is retaliating against the State of California because the Golden State feels it’s unfair to sell stuff to  people here without collecting sales tax, the same sales tax that every business in the state must pass on to the government. It seems that our state throws money around for crap like schools, hospitals, roads, cops, firefighters, mental health and junk like that. How arrogant.

  Internet-based retailers already have a pricing advantage over brick and mortar stores because they don’t have to . . . well . . . have brick and mortar stores. No buildings, no land, no sales clerks, no business taxes, no property taxes, yada yada. But with most California communities charging taxes of more than eight percent in order to pay local and state bills, Amazon and other Internet retailers can undercut local business even more by saving their California customers eight-plus percent. As Bill Dombrowski of the California Retailers Association puts it, “This is nothing more than some companies trying to get a competitive advantage though a tax loophole, and now we have closed it.”

            So Amazon and Overstock.com (now going by the sobriquet O.co; I guess the J-Lo and A-Rod thing has spilled over into the Internet retail arena) feel they don’t have local retailers tightly enough by their cojones, so they have decided to get even with California.

Overstocked or undertaxed?

            How? As you may know, these retailers often do business with affiliated retailers all over the country. Since Amazon and O (not to be confused with Oprah  whatsername’s magazine) and other Internet businesses that meet certain criteria and that are affiliated with businesses in California, they must turn the sales tax over to the state. Instead, Amazon and O have opted to sever all relations with their California affiliates. In other words, they have found another way to screw greedy California, which is laying off more public employees than it can count.

            Well I have had enough. And this isn’t easy for me. I have bought some stuff at O.co for a fraction of what it would have cost me locally. I did that because there are some items that sell for outrageously inflated prices at retail locally. But that is fair competition.

            Now you may say, “Why should I give a rodent’s behind about California’s problems?” How’s this for an answer: According to the June 30, 2011 San Jose Mercury News, Amazon has pulled the same maneuver in Illinois, Arkansas and Connecticut, cutting out its local affiliates in those states. It is also suing New York State over similar legislation. U.S. Supreme Court, here we come! And with the current “Big Business Rules!” court, I wish all these states good luck. You’ll need it.

            As for me, taxes are what pay for essential government services. So if the big Internet boys won’t play – make that “pay” – fair, they can shove their businesses up their assets. I’m shopping elsewhere.

            Give this some thought. Your state may be next. And your local mom-and-pop may be steamrolled out of business.

Comments

  1. Sure, I don’t see any real reason why internet sales are exempt from sales tax. But should it be based on where the merchandise comes from, or where the buyer is? Every state (and country) has different taxes. The California lawmakers would no doubt like it both ways, the same as they did for retirement pensions. They demanded that residents of other states pay income tax for pensions that originate in California, and that California residence pay tax on pensions that come from somewhere else.
    Maybe Amazon should let the voters figure out what states can do and let the market take care of itself.

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