With all my anti-Big Box talk and having finally completed my breakup with a certain purveyor of bulk, there is one relationship based on corporate consumption I maintain: Amazon.
It is one of my original Big Box exceptions, and it’s the one I’m sticking with. Why? Well, it’s complicated. Let’s try to do this without making me seem like a total hypocrite. If that’s possible. In my mind, my pro-Amazon argument goes something like this…
Local-ish. I’m in the PNW. Seattle even. Hey, so’s Amazon. How bout that? Around here, Amazon’s a good employer. An employer that provides jobs very much like the one in which I’m currently
indentured employed. That means good paying jobs. Jobs with benefits, and paid holidays. Jobs that keep my little region robust economically. They certainly aren’t the only “local” corporation, and Dog knows I’ve severed all ties for less. Still, its something. A contributing factor, if you will.
Money Saving. Oh yeah. That. See, I am the not-so-proud holder of an Amazon Visa. I use this Visa for all my regular spending, paying it off in full every month. I am one of “those” people. Amazon bucks are also my requested gift card of choice, a fact everyone knows by now. I’ve recently learned the beauty of exchanging not-so choice gift cards for Amazon dollars via Gift Card Granny. Between all these avenues, I have a considerable stash of Amazon monies at any given point in time. I use these for everything from washing soda (for laundry soap) and lye (for regular soap) to chick feeders (for my impending arrivals) and Buffy comics (occasionally!) You know, the necessities of life (Buffy counts!). Here’s the thing, even though I shop at Amazon regularly, I spend very little money with them. A quick check of my spending for the last year, reveals less than $200 spent at Amazon. Yet, I have 4 pages of purchases under My Account.
Convenience. This is really where they win out over miserable visits to brick and mortar stores. There are no crowds. No lines. No obnoxious music driving me to make impulse purchases. Not only that, but if I want random things like reusable drink straws or glass lunch containers I don’t have to go running all over town to find them. This has been particularly helpful when embarking on a new project, like cheese making or chicken raising. Activities where I haven’t yet figured out “the place” to procure my supplies, nor had a chance to shop around. Amazon gets me started, and gives me a baseline for future cost comparisons.
How about that. Amazon saves me money. They save me time. They fuel my frugal exploits, and they create real non-retail jobs in community. After I shop with them, I don’t feel like I’ve just been through war.
Big Box exception, they shall remain.
Sure, my preference is to shop local. Purist that I am, I’d prefer to do that 100% of the time. Amazon has pissed me off once or twice. I’ll always have to keep tabs on them as Corporate Citizens. But, with two working adults and a house full of dogs, reality gets in the way. Compromises must be made as a Conscientious Consumer. Amazon is one I can live with.