A Year Without Amazon

Saying “No” to the big online retailer.

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Elena Lacey: Getty Images, borrowed from Wired.com

One of our New Year’s resolutions for 2020 my wife and I decided on was to no longer shop at Amazon. You’d think that as a collector Amazon would be the ultimate retailer for me. Well, if I didn’t have a conscience, it probably would be.

Constant stories about how Amazon doesn’t pay its staff correctly, doesn’t allow them toilet breaks, is killing off bookstores only to then have the cheek to donate £250,000 to “save” them, selling books below cost to undermine other competitors, trying to smear those ex-employees who dare speak ill of the company and more makes one wonder how anyone could support such a business. Further to this, people we know very well who are in the publishing industry have spoken to us about unscrupulous practices that Amazon has forced upon them.

Amazon actually charges publishers to investigate bootleg copies of their books that are being sold on the Amazon marketplace!

With lockdown, it turns out that while many people are losing their jobs, Jeff Bezos’ earnings actually went up. As always, the rich are making money off the suffering of the poor, and Amazon is one of the biggest recipients. Now, this would be fine if Bezos funnelled those profits back into his staff, or helped the research for a COVID cure, or donated to relief efforts. But no, he’s done none of that. He’s too busy becoming a supervillain.

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Image Credits: cdn.geekwire.com

We decided we didn’t want to continue supporting such a company. It’s been a year (well, pretty close) and I have to admit…I’ve not missed it at all. Over 2020 so I’ve purchased something like 20 to 30 graphic novels, as many collectables and at least a dozen books. None of these have come from Amazon.

For my books and graphic novels, the majority I’ve bought from Waterstones and Forbidden Planet, British bookstore and comic chains. (And yes, I admit Waterstones haven’t been without their issues). For collectables, they’ve come from Forbidden Planet, Zavvi, eBay or directly from the manufacturer. Games I now buy either digitally or, for the few I really want the physical copy of or can get it cheaper than the digital price, from Game.

The thing is, you really don’t need to rely on Amazon for your stuff. Especially in the UK, an probably for many other countries, too.

Honestly, with all the things I‘ve bought I found there was no or very little difference in price between buying it from Amazon or another store. In some cases Amazon was actually more expensive. Plus, in buying from a local UK company I have a decent idea of where my money is going, and it’s not into the pocket of some bloke overseas who won’t even pay his taxes.

I understand why people love Amazon. If you subscribe to Prime the shipping is fast and free. Everything is under one “roof” like a gigantic virtual department store, so you don’t need to visit a dozen different sites to get what you’re after. But consider what this means. Prime’s promise of having your stuff almost as soon as you’ve clicked “buy” has resulted in the company putting ridiculous demands on delivery drivers. And, like real-life department stores, you’re not going to get the knowledge, passion or loyalty from Amazon as you do smaller stores.

While I understand ditching Amazon won’t be a practical thing for some people, if you care about workers rights and the rich not getting richer off the back of the less fortunate, I would like to suggest maybe taking a look at if you really need to shop there. It may have everything under one roof and offer fast shipping, but is convenience and not having to wait a few extra days really worth this Orwellian-esqu company growing more powerful?

Collector. Writer. Artist. Geek. I write mostly about the hobby of collecting. Check out my full portfolio at JMDWorks.org.

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