This is a tech blog. Why are we talking about department stores? Because our old nemesis Amazon is on the move again.
The picture shown above was taken at a Macy’s department store in Crossroads Mall in Portage, Michigan, a suburb of Kalamazoo. The merchandise was beautifully displayed and plentiful in colors, sizes, name brands, and variety of styles. Most items were discounted, and prices seemed reasonable.
Two things were missing: customers and sales associates. It is hard to afford good help and enough of them when store sales are down.
About fifty miles North of this store, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Amazon has just signed the papers to build a new one million square foot (that’s 1,000,000 sq. ft.) distribution center that will employ over 1,000 new full-time workers.
This will be the fourth new Amazon distribution center in Michigan (the other three are in the greater Detroit area). Where will these new workers come from? Other retail, wholesale, and service organizations in the area pay their warehouse people about $13.00 per hour. Amazon pays their workers about $17.00 per hour. You do the math.
As consumers, we all love to buy from Amazon. Variety (paper diapers to tablet computers), lower prices, no state sales tax (in some states), and free shipping (if I’m an Amazon Prime member.) Amazon is squeezing retailers from every angle and will soon offer same day delivery in medium-size cities (they are already doing this in larger cities.)
I was recently in the market for Philips Hue programmable LED bulbs and switches. I was amazed to go to my local Home Depot store and find that their selection of Philips Hue items was at the same discounted prices as Amazon. I have also experienced that both Staples and Best Buy will price match Amazon prices if asked and if Amazon (not a third party) directly delivers the product.
I would like you to consider shopping locally. Ask the merchant if they will match Amazon’s price. The worst thing they can say is no.
Unless we all want to work for Amazon and shop only Amazon (can you say the word monopoly), we need to keep local businesses alive. Regardless if the store is called ”Bob’s Books” or Barnes & Noble, keeping them alive brings wages to local employees and service company’s.