Discussing
Should Christians use Amazon's Price Check app?

Caryn Rivadeneira

Grizzly
January 4, 2012

I just don't get it. I generally, go in the other direction for big purchases. I do a bunch of on-line research. Sometimes I read what Amazon says about a product. Are you saying that I don't "love" Amazon if I go over to Best Buy after Amazon took the time to write a description "helping me" in my decision?<br><br>When I buy a car I usually pick a year and model first and then shop for price. Are you really saying that I'm obligated to the first dealer I go for a test drive with?<br><br>When I go to Mexico and shop for a hat is it un-Christian to point at another vendor and say "Can you beat his price?"<br><br>I believe we all need to be much more charitable but I don't think that means we should should abandon our wit.

Ken Leonard
January 4, 2012

Using Price Check? I guess it's okay, though I'm among those who thinks that it's a lousy promotion. I'm not legalistic enough to call it sin, but it's classless, at least.<br><br>I agree completely about the abuse of shop owners, though. Employees put a lot of work into helping customers, and I can tell you how frustrating it is when the person takes all of your advice and information then leaves to go order online. Five years in retail burned this into my heart.<br><br>While Amazon serves a purpose, I much prefer my local stores which keep most of the money I spend local. Yes, I pay more than if I went to even the big boxes, but I've never seen Amazon sponsor a local Little League team, run a food and toy drive, or put up a Make-A-Wish donation bucket to help the community.

Kara Jade
January 4, 2012

We are in a rapidly changing economy. I don't believe it is our Christian duty to salvage the jobs of store owners and workers. Head's up brick-and-mortar owners - better get a price match policy together.

Jamesggilmore
January 4, 2012

My major issue with Amazon is that they have an unfair advantage over brick-and-mortar stores which <i>isn't</i> even reflected in the Price Check app, but which every consumer is bound to know about regardless; when most of us are at brick-and-mortar stores, we know we need to mentally add 6-10% to the price of any product to account for sales tax.<br><br>Did your city or county have to cut public school budgets this year? Did it lay off teachers, firefighters, or police officers? Did it turn off streetlights at night in order to save money, or cut back on maintenance of parks? Are the lines at the DMV longer because there are fewer people working? Is your child in a classroom of 40 kids, or at a school without a nurse or a librarian?<br><br>In part, people buying from Amazon—and other online retailers—are to blame for that, since the Supreme Court has ruled that those retailers <i>aren't</i> required to charge you the sales tax you'd be charged at a brick-and-mortar store unless they have a physical presence in your state.<br><br>Technically, in most states, you still <i>owe</i> the tax—which is generally called a "use tax" instead of a "sales tax"—but you have to tally up and declare it on your state income tax form yourself, something the vast majority of people <i>don't</i> do and that we don't generally talk about.<br><br>It's a guilty little secret of ours—a secret guarded well by online retailers like Amazon, who strongly resist online sales taxes—that we're dodging our responsibility to our states and localities by buying online and not paying taxes to fund things we all need.<br><br>Until online retailers are required to collect local sales taxes for the buyer's jurisdiction, I'm not going to be installing the Price Check app on my phone.

JCarpenter
January 4, 2012

Classless indeed. Amazon's app reminds me of the time I chaperoned a group of young people to Europe: in one town Rottenburg-on-der-Taueber, famous for its Christmas shops, one of the kids took photographs of displays/ornaments "so I won't have to buy anything."  He couldn't understand why the shopkeeper was angry at him.

AdamLehman
January 4, 2012

Focus on the environmental impact of shopping from home vs a brick and mortar store. Focus on the impact of self-employed individuals or small businesses who are utilizing Amazon to make a living. Focus on the large retailers that are squeezing profits out of vendors, paying employees minimum wage &amp; offering anything BUT a "local experience. <br><br>Whichever focus you take here, you'll come with a different opinion on the Amazon App promotion. <br><br>You can argue that the promotion doesn't promote "neighbor love." But this post assumes one set of neighbors without loving another.

Anonymous
January 4, 2012

I'm a Best Buy employee and when you see exactly how much money stores make on certain products you would understand why we don't price match online.  The stores would and do lose money with price matches because of online stores.<br><br>I make less money than most people on welfare.  But you're right, why help me continue to be a valuable part of society and help me make money so I can pay my bills? <br><br>But really, thanks for your comment...

JCarpenter
January 4, 2012

*Rothenburg*

Adrienne
January 4, 2012

Interesting. I need to think about these issues more.

Mara
January 4, 2012

You know the App could backfire and allow the sales guys in the B&amp;M stores to price match or throw add ons not with the Amazon price. It is what I would do. Yeah they might lose a bit in the overhead at first. But I like knowing I can bring a product back to a bricks and mortar store with flesh and blood people who live in my town even if the products weren't made here. I like Amazon for hard to find books but that's about it for me.

Laura's Last Ditch
January 4, 2012

I don't know if anyone ever does this, but if there is a great price online that a local store can't beat, but you really want to pick the brain of a knowledgeable salesperson, couldn't you pay them for their expertise? Then you wouldn't need to feel guilty, and you could still save money.

MWorrell
January 4, 2012

Re: “Consumers should not use the showrooms, free advice and customer service of a brick-and-mortar store, only to go home and order the same items for less money on the Internet.”<br>Actually, this is the best opportunity a brick-and-mortar store has to show a prospective customer the advantages of buying local from a real human being. I don't feel duty-bound to buy from a store just because I stopped in and asked a few questions, and the very worst thing you can do to a retailer is go right to the internet without even stopping by their store. I've ended up making purchases on the spot thanks to particularly good and knowledgeable service.<br><br>Retail is going to change in the next several years, and I think the only survivors will be those who offer an excellent shopping experience. By almost any standard we have far too much retail space per capita, and the days of having stacks and stacks of product laying around on the chance someone might stop by and want it are coming to a close. Even with softcover books, within a few years they'll be able to be printed in-store on demand, eliminating inventory and transportation costs.<br><br>In general, prices have to differ significantly for me to not buy something that is sitting there on the shelf when I want it. I don't have time to visit three stores and research online for an hour to save ten bucks.

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