Is Amazon Online Shopping To Blame For “Ma and Pa” Shops Disappearing?

Are Ma and Pa shops disappearing because of Amazon?

Once in awhile I get beat up on this blog for linking to relevant Amazon products in a given article. After all, they are to blame for putting “Ma and Pa” shops out of business, right? I want to address that issue in this article.

Why do I get beat up? A number of reasons. Primarily, some believe that Amazon is to blame for the displacement of the “Ma and Pa” shops that used to dot the landscape years ago. There is a belief that Amazon has put small business out of business. And that I am part of the problem by using their services or promoting products on their platform.

First, I need to explain to you why and how I receive compensation for the work I do here on this blog / website. It’s “my job” so to speak. Then I’ll get into my opinion regarding Amazon. Keep reading.

Revenue is Required | Amazon is Part of it

I am approaching the tail end of my 5th decade on earth. I worked several rewarding careers during my life. Nearly 10 years ago I parted ways from a well paying job and chose to step it down several notches. I did this for a variety of personal reasons which I won’t go into.

I started this blog during 2010 shortly after leaving my previous career. It was for fun, to unwind a bit. I was into preparedness and had concerns about our future (still do). The blog seemed perfect for that.

After the first year it was actually earning some advertising revenue. Not much, but it indicated potential. I decided to stick with it. The site grew over the years. It was then, and still is today, my revenue earning “job”. It pays the bills here at the homestead. I don’t think people realize that. If the blog were not financially successful enough, I would have to end it. Focus efforts elsewhere. Period.

Blogs like this one may earn revenue from the following ways:

  1. Direct advertising. Companies paying a monthly fee for branding & advertising their banners. My directs are in the right-hand sidebar and I promote them with specific articles on occasion when it’s appropriate. I hope that you visit them.
  2. Affiliate commissions. There are many affiliate platforms out there. Amazon is obviously the biggest one. Depending on variables, a commission is earned when a customer purchases a product through a website’s link (with caveats).
  3. Donations and contributions. They come from the readers themselves. This is becoming increasingly important in this particular arena where this blog resides. A sincere thanks to those who do.

There are other means, but the point I’m trying to make is that a company like Amazon helps to keep this blog online.

Okay, now that I got that out of the way, lets address whether or not Amazon is to blame for “Ma and Pa” shops disappearing (or are they?).

Is Amazon to Blame?

Is Amazon Putting Small Business Out Of Business?

I wonder how many of you know this: There are more than 1 million small businesses who sell through Amazon. I actually know a few people who sell their products from a home business through Amazon, and couldn’t have done it otherwise.

According to a recently published “Small Business Impact Report” Amazon has “helped more than 1.9 million U.S.-based small and medium-sized businesses (SBMs) generate more than $160 billion in 2018.”

~ USA Today

Now before you label me as a promoter for Jeff Bezos, which I am certainly not, please understand this: Technology, Markets, and Market Channels Change over time. I sometimes write about it on the blog, and “it” is the ability to adapt and overcome.

How many businesses have been left in the dustbin of history because they could not or would not change with the market conditions?

Although I do not sell a physical product on Amazon (I just link to products once in awhile), if I wanted to start a small business making and selling widgets, you betcha I would look into having a storefront on Amazon. It’s like the big mall of yesteryear except it’s online instead with a huge customer base.

Does that mean I don’t wish there were more “Ma and Pa” shops around? No, it means that I must accept the changes in conditions and adapt to it.

If I do not participate in buying products from Amazon, will that make a difference? Of course not. Why? Because a company like Amazon is the result of a complex set of circumstances which has enabled its existence.

How Can Amazon Exist?

In my opinion, you have a ruthless leader who has utilized modern technology to build an empire. I wonder if that has ever happened before in history? (sarcasm)

Has Amazon grown too big now? Maybe. They have the money to do it, a desire to get bigger, and influence within the halls of government. As with most spreading empires, they gobble up more and more.

How Did This Happen?

If I had to sum it up as brief as possible, Amazon’s success has been a combination of technology and government policy enabling someone like Jeff Bezos to do what he has done.

TECHNOLOGY

It marches on. As technology advances, it is often utilized to replace what came before. Why? Cost advantages, improved services, features, capabilities… Is that a bad thing? Maybe sometimes, if used in ways that are detrimental. Detrimental to what? Our freedoms, rights, liberties? I’m on board with that. However is all technology bad? No, I don’t believe so…

The world wide web. The internet. Online. Our world has changed dramatically because of the ability to transact and interact online. There are inherent risks and dangers which I write about on this blog once in awhile (systemic risks thereof). But the point is that we have come from the “cave man” to “modern man” due to technological advancements (and the discovery of cheap oil energy). But that’s not what this article is about.

Government Policy Impact

Do you remember when NAFTA came out? Government policy opened the door to cheaper manufacturing outside the United States. Lots of jobs began to leave. Cheaper economies of scale.

The big one is products coming from China. Talk about cheap labor… This has entirely changed the playing field. We live and participate (often unknowingly) in a global economy due to policies put in place by our own government. Who’s government is it? We the people, right?

Industry has leveraged and advantaged cheaper products from China and elsewhere. We the people have become addicted to these cheaper products to the extent that they won’t buy more expensive products if given a choice “Made in the USA”. But I digress… What does that have to do with “Ma and Pa” shops or Amazon?

Where Have the Ma and Pa Shops Gone?

Are they really gone? Or just some of them? Or have some of them shifted their markets? To be clear, I see quite a few of them in my travels. Though it’s not like many decades ago.

My Little Town

In my tiny town of about 1,000 residents, we have a sort of “Ma and Pa” shop. It’s the ‘Old Corner Store’ owned by a family in town whom we know (everybody knows everybody here). The store is not very big, but they have a lot of basic supplies inside. They have a great little deli, and kind of a small convenience store which also sells some local products (among lots of other little things). They sell gas and diesel out front too. In fact I just got back from picking up some burger buns for grillin tonight.

When I travel, I nearly always notice small “Ma and Pa” stores in a little town here and there. They’re still around. Even in bigger areas there’s a niche.

The Next Town is a Little Bigger

The next town over, about a 10 minute ride, supports about 3,500 people. They have a number of “Ma and Pa” small business shops downtown! In fact they’re doing great. There’s also a decent size hardware store owned by a family company from a neighboring state which has expanded their reach. Up the road from there about 10 minutes is a bigger chain ‘ACE’ hardware with even more product to choose from.

About a 30 minute ride south, there’s a bigger town of about 6,000 where you can find some ‘Big Box’ stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, and others. People will drive there from the entire surrounding region to get what they need. I do too, when I need to.

The more population, the more Big Chain stores (same with grocery stores).

You will still find “Ma and Pa” shops there. Though they are usually of a specialty variety, restaurants, boutiques, touristy, and other types which set them apart. In fact that town has the world’s longest candy counter in one of those shops. Pretty cool… There’s an awesome fresh vegetable store “Ma and Pop” shop, and a ton of others actually.

That said, the “Ma and Pa” grocery stores and hardware stores of decades ago are few an far between. The technology train and economies of scale have shifted and altered that landscape. In many instances “Ma and Pa” sold their grocery store or hardware store to “the chain” store who in turn are now servicing the people there.

Back to Amazon…

People used to buy their books at a book store. A few chains still exist, but that’s how Amazon got it’s start. Jeff Bezos was selling books online. After awhile, online sales started catching on. Consumers liked the convenience, broader product selection as Amazon enabled more markets. And now with Amazon Prime membership you can get your ‘stuff’ shipped for free to your door in a day or two. Evidently people like that. Hence part of their success.

I do not live in close proximity to many products without having to drive for awhile. I save a lot of money buying products off Amazon in this way. Not to mention that “time is money”, right? Am I wrong or a bad person who is “feeding the system” for purchasing some of my products online? Do I get ‘good’ credits for buying my diesel for the Truck at the Old Corner Store? (and the hamburger buns I bought today)?

I look to my left as I type this and I see a ‘Camping World’ flyer that I got in the mail. Is it just as ‘bad’ if I buy something from them (being a chain store) compared to on Amazon? Or is it just a little better with regards to my ‘social credits’ because they’re not as big?

Will Amazon Take Over The World?

Most businesses want to grow. To increase their profits.

Not all though. For example there’s this excellent little bakery / coffee shop the next town over. She started her business a few years ago. It has been a hit in the local area. Will she expand into being the next Starbucks or Dunking Donuts? No, I think she’s happy doing what she’s doing.

I could go on with other examples just in my own area.

That said, yes, most companies will expand to the extent that their leadership wants to.

Could a company like Amazon basically swallow up everything and take over the world so to speak? It seems like they could! It sure looks like therer is enough people who are using / buying their services to enable ongoing expansion…

How Big is Too Big?

That is a powerful question isn’t it? Who’s to say what “too big” is? What are the thresholds? What are the impacts? I don’t have the answers for you. Your and my opinion may be different. Or maybe not. This is big “think tank” stuff. Policy decisions.

If for the sake of argument the government breaks up Amazon, would that trigger a chain reaction crash as their massive distribution channels break and people can’t get their ‘stuff’ like they used to?

Maybe the price for that stuff goes up 33%? Maybe Walmart takes over the slack, but now you’ve got another big chain like them to break up?

People and their budgets are reliant on the current price scale. What if all that goes way up?

Is there a way to turn back the clock to the days of “Ma and Pa” shops everywhere? Or are those shops now mostly relegated to vintage photographs?

These are just questions. There are so many more.

Lets land this plane…

Alright, I’ve got to finish this article. What was the question again?

Oh right… Is Amazon to Blame for “Ma and Pa” shops disappearing and are they putting small business out of business, and am I as a blogger “feeding the system” when I link to their products for a small commission of sales?

I don’t know. You tell me…

** Amazon deals of the day

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123 Comments

  1. Ken
    Perhaps you can answer a question about the direction Amazon is going, As I buy from them I notice more and more products are coming directly from Amazon distribution centers and not from independents or middle men if the products are imported. Is Amazon cutting out the import sector companies in favor of direct from manufacture purchases and stocking themselves – is their control spreading?

    It appears that not only are there changes in the Ma & Pa retail sector but in the larger chain operations – Sears, Payless, Gap, Best buy, JC Penny, …. is on-line shopping responsible? I believe it is.

    1. hermit us,
      There are many independent small businesses who sell through Amazon that stock their widgets in Amazon warehouses. I believe the business needs to have a threshold volume of sales in order to do that. And I’ve read that Amazon is indeed focusing on leveraging their own channels for popular products.

      To address your second question, yes, I believe online sales has greatly impacted many other traditional brick and mortar businesses in general. Amazon had the early lead in online sales and distribution, and therefore massive public awareness over time. Joe and Jane Public seems to like it.

      1. Business needs to adapt.
        If not they disappear, is just the way it goes in this day and age, not so sure anyone is to blame

        1. Economics 101 teaches us that the Prices that business charge are controlled not only by supply, but also demand. Now everybody likes a low price, but we all need to stop and think about what happens once Amazon, or other large on line retailers (Walmart) succeed in running all their smaller competition out of business.

          Once that happens they will be the sole providers to the marketplace, thereby they’ll be in a position to charge whatever they like. And if you want, or even worse need what their selling, you’ll have to pay their price or go without.

          Now on a personal level for me, i don’t like the owner of Amazon’s politics, nor do i like his anti American mouth piece, the Washington post, so I’ll never spent a cent at Amazon helping this man destroy America!

          Even though it definitely costs me more money to buy the supply’s i need from my local mom and pop shops, instead of buying them online. I’ll still continual to spend that money locally supporting jobs and business in my community.

          1. AirCav,

            I have some bad news. 95% of Ma and Pa’s don’t have the juice to make deals for inventory. So they join co-op’s or manufacturer reps which operate like a multi-level marketing scheme. The toilet valve you bought off Paw last week for $14.99 started out in China for less than a buck. At least 2 entities, often as many as 5, take their cut of that action long before Maw makes the order to purchase them “wholesale” for $11.88 each… so they can maybe, hopefully, make back their money and skim a couple bucks profit, then you get to pay sales tax too; on $15, not a buck. The toilet valve – might last a year.

            Is this really what you want to support? The only Ma and Pa’s that thrive are those who do services and produce things that China can’t. Yeah, they carry the inventory; but it is not their core business.

            As for AMZ, well, you are spot on there. I saw what they were doing 3-6 years ago to reel in new customers with loss-leader deals. Whoa, did I pimp that stuff and how; sometimes half a dozen boxes on my porch in a day. But then something happened. I think their AI algo’s got wise. Suddenly everything and anything I wanted to buy from AMZ shot way up in price. So I dropped AMZ and Prime and I went from 200 orders a year to maybe 3.

            You see, Ma and Pa Hardware aren’t the only folks worried about survival. I am too actually. And given the peek into Ma and Pa distribution which I just explained… No, I don’t feel like I’m part of the problem because that ship sailed long ago.

          2. tmcgyver,
            I’ve done a fair amount of reading/research into how the distribution channels work. It’s pretty interesting (and scary at the same time – given the number of people needing to be served). What you said is absolutely correct.

        2. Tommy,

          Market forces do work. You aren’t going to rally a significant number of people to protest in favor of much higher prices; for any cause; no matter how worthy.

          We have too many people living in America who have no allegiance to America. The Chinese call us “Gold Mountain”. And by golly just like those rough, greedy folks who went west in 1849 – they are here to mine. Do you blame them? I don’t. I work with them. It is utterly astonishing how well they understand us and our culture. We’ll be discussing let’s say a commercial piece or some ad copy… and some guy in an office in central China comes up with a concept that brings the mind back to some very American childhood memory from the 70’s let’s say. And my jaw drops as I wonder in awe, “how dafuq did they know about THAT?!” It’s called: “knowing your customer”. And they do it extremely well.

          Ironically, the only thing I see that can reverse this trend, is a massive disaster and a cull of most of the population. Then we get sent back 200 years where survival dictates that we get along and stop screwing each other. Until that happens, all the jaw-boning, and personal indignation in the world won’t matter a bit.

        3. Sears could have been Amazon! They were the premier mail order company for years but didn’t have the foresight to adapt!

          Pretty sad really. Sears is/was an American Icon

      2. The whole process of how we shop is evolving, as is how we communicate with others evolving. Life is constant motion and we have to adapt if we wish to succeed. Each of us has to decide what is acceptable to us. I believe it is good that we are willing to share our opinions on this site, to let others know what we perceive as a danger/bad or opportunity/good. And I truly appreciate Ken’s effort to keep this a top notch informational center with easy links to what we may be interested in obtaining. Thank you much Ken.

        I also appreciate that we are all thoughtful when we put our ideas out there and others can take them or leave them. This is an awesome group with a lot of different mindsets that provides me with interesting ideas and sound advice.

        In our small, rural town, we have small shops that serve the needs of our people. When they can no longer do that because their customer service is poor or they don’t carry what is needed by the locals, they no longer exist and someone else comes in and takes up the slack. If the food is not good, the restaurant closes. If the hardware store doesn’t carry what is needed, another will come in to take care of that need and one will not survive.

        Yes, the next town 20 minutes away has a Walmart that everyone said would put the small shops out of business, but many of them adapted. Many people prefer to shop at the small shops if they meet our needs, even if it costs a small amount more. But I don’t allow anyone to take advantage of me price wise. That being said, I utilize Amazon and other online shopping opportunities after price checking also. I can get items quickly that are needed at times when other stores are not open. Although in an emergency our local hardware store would open if we were to call him to ask if he had a particular part that was needed.

        Things are changing quickly in how we shop for everything and how we communicate with others. What is that saying? “Adapt and overcome”.

        Another really interesting article that drew me in Ken – thank you! Now I have to go outside and overcome the the giant weed that I am truly hoping is not hogweed. I will wear protective clothing to be on the safe side. Take care all.

        1. DAMedinNY
          From the movie “Shawshank Redemption” a quote which I have always liked.

          “Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin”

          In place of the ‘Adapt and Overcome”

    2. I purchase a lot from Amazon and companies must realise the financial stress that many people are under. My loyalty is to myself not some company so price is important as is convenience. As I get older I realise that I am a minority as the world caters to millennials. I do not trust any form of government to look after me or my interests as there is the extreme left and the extreme right and I am centrist s to politics. The only general store I go to is Walmart as most others are either specialists or have gone out of business. Decades ago Sears and Kmart were my main stores for everything. If I want luggage I go to Bentley luggage, purses are at Lug (which is mostly online), clothing – Penningtons – a store that only sells plus sized women’s clothing. Groceries are expensive so sometimes I go to buy in bulk from Amazon. I also realise that there are groups against my demographic – first generation Canadian of post-ww2 immigrants to Canada from Europe, Christian based, white, and older. I do not accept white guilt or white privilege or responsibility for the residential schools for Indigeneous Canadians as my ancestors were struggling in Europe and did not land in North America until the mid 1950s.

  2. Ken,
    Good provocative subject about today’s marketplace. From what I have been able to find out after reading countless articles about the reduction of small businesses around the country ; internet shopping accounts for about 15-17 % of retail sales.

    I would think high startup costs ,overregulation , higher minimum wages and the litigious nature of people all contribute to fewer small businesses. Having had a retail business for 30 years ,we were very glad to sell it and move on with life. In the beginning we had about $ 3,000.00 startup cash. Today to do the same thing I would want about $ 100,000.00

    A business today must adapt to the changing marketplace or slowly go out of business.

    Our nearest town is 2500 people and we support businesses there when we can. The next one is 40 miles away and that is where most of our buying takes place. We are retired on a fixed income so we must buy within our means and that often dictates where we buy.

    I do not think that Amazon itself is solely to blame for any demise , but it is part of the equation that a small business has to be aware of in today’s marketplace.

  3. Thank you for your article, Ken.

    In a perfect world, it would be easy to say shame on Amazon, and it’s a shame that all of those mom and pop businesses that get wiped out can’t have what it takes to evolve with the economy, etc.

    But this is not a perfect world, and the truth is I can either cry for them or I can cry for me.

    If you are wage earner, then you have an income, and only some of it is generally disposable. Meaning you have the volition to buy what you want with that money instead of take care of your essentials and responsibilities. Time is also a commodity, there’s only so many hours in the day and depending on our goals, we must maximize our productivity even at the things we want to do, in order to accomplish what we need to. I know that all sounds elementary but it prefaces my point.

    The economy and the movers and shakers in said economy are what they are. It is what it is. How much time I have free and how well I utilize it also is what it is.

    If I have to shop for things to prepare myself for what the world may throw at me, I can sit in front of my computer and shop for a best price, and click a button share a little information and this thing shows up in a truck, in a couple days. From the buyer standpoint this is really a best case scenario of usage of time and money.

    If what I’m looking for brick-and-mortar style can be found via telephone two hours away from my location, and that is the only copy of what I am trying to find two hours away from my location, then perhaps I spent 45 minutes to an hour researching this, 2 Hours Drive. time to the seller, 15 to 30 minutes at the seller, considering my options and making my purchase, and another two hours of Driving back. So it looks like I have the better part of the day burnt trying to make a buy instead of maybe that 45 minutes to an hour of research before I click a button. And I still haven’t even accounted for the fuel and where and tear on my vehicle just to chase this one thing. And maybe online I chased many things in the same amount of time.

    This is just half of the deal. If I don’t call around looking for said item, then maybe I drive around looking for said item, and maybe I spend an entire day looking and never finding. I don’t really think I want to walk the aisles of every store within miles of here just because I may or may not find what I’m looking for. Back in the day, the stores probably had what you were looking for. Today they can’t afford to be so well-stocked. Very few of us are going to come for some of those items. And they really can’t afford to pay taxes on warehousing it until we do.

    I love to support the brick-and-mortar, but if the brick-and-mortar doesn’t bring the things I need anywhere near me, it not only doesn’t pencil out, it doesn’t pencil out more than twice. Because what is your time worth, what is the best price you can get for the item, the costume time plus fuel also adds to the cost of the item. Are you really treating your paycheck fairly by doing all of that, and with so many things to acquire, when will you have time to enjoy anything? The brick-and-mortar’s of the local level simply don’t stock all of the stuff that they used to, they only stock was sells the most, what is most popular, and quite frankly I’m not always in pursuit of that.

    So as much as I lament the days of old when Sears and Roebuck and Penny’s had what I needed, rounded out by a few of the local shops that have the rest, I have to treat myself well as I can. That paycheck is a lot of work to earn, and I need to get the most for my money and my time that I can get.

    So if clicking on links through your website portal helps you out and gets me what I need so I can get on with the things I need to do with my life it’s a better deal and me spending the rest of my life assigning every spare our to acquiring stuff that I may or may not find locally at all.

    Anybody who makes an argument contrary to this is welcome to do so, but I don’t think they value their time or their money very much, my calendar watch says is 2019 and I’ve got to do the best I can. In spite of the evil Amazon, and their political ideology, China or whomever overseas as the manufacturer, there aren’t many options that pencil out better if they pencil out at all. And thank goodness for those people who can remain unfettered by that fact. If they can advise me where to go get more time and money I would love to be just like them. In the absence of that, I’m going to have to continue to shop Amazon, and do the best I can.

    1. I think your time thing is a big point. One time I intentionally wanted to support local while buying my son shoes. Two hours later, many low stock stores later, plus a hit n run rear end/police report later I still didn’t have the shoes I needed. After arriving home and 10 minutes after shopping online on Amazon the shoes were scheduled to be a my house in two days. And they were.

  4. Amazon has taken advantage of a changing world while the others have stood still. A good example of archaic retailing is Sears; their stores are hardly much different than they were in the 70’s.
    Anyone who can get financial support by affiliating is just using good business sense.

    I avoid making purchases based on politics. I don’t care who is selling it or where it is made, my welfare comes first.

  5. I beleive Amazon is round two. Wall-Mart was the first round of pound on the little guy, Things are always changing, around here and everywhere. Its like self improvement, you are working to improve yourself (loosing weight, controlling your temper, etc) or you are going backwards.

  6. Many years ago I went on vacation to the Oregon coast. They had a single grocery store in the town–WalMart–and a collection station at the hotel for the staff because they couldn’t afford to eat. The prices were astronomical. I’m talking $8 for a quart of milk (I believe this was in 1998) and $16 per pound for meat. People living there carpooled to go to the cheaper grocery store 50 miles away. When there is no competition, there is no limit on prices. They were selling the same cheapo products as every other store, but because they had no competition no one could afford to shop there–except the tourists, who were willing to pay the asinine prices for the few days they would be there.

    The Mom and Pop stores have been driven out of business by many factors, primarily political and regulatory, but what comes in their place? There is an argument for lower prices and convenience, but once a business creates a monopoly THEY set the prices and everyone bows to their whims or goes without. So when you go online to look for that widget-mobile and the price has doubled, don’t go looking for a better price locally. It won’t be there.

  7. Here is a perspective on what local stores have to offer. What I have to say may surprise you. Two recent experiences at local bicycle shops (which are largely based on service) have left me wondering what local shops (and other businesses) have to offer. In one situation, I was delivering vintage wheel parts (hub and rim) to be laced into new wheels. The quote was $120.00, and when I went to pick them up, it was $184.00. The excuse given was, at best, laughable. In another shop, I took in a vintage fork to have the steerer threads extended, as the replacement was too long. They charged me $40.00 for a five minute job. Okay, that’s fair enough, since I don’t have the specific tool to do that. When I went to assemble the headset, the threads were not properly chased and cleaned, and the locknut wouldn’t thread on. So I took it back (with the receipt). They quoted me three days to fix it. Eleven days later, they finally had it ready and I went in to get it. The owner explained that whoever did it didn’t do it right, but they weren’t going to charge me additional fees….huh? These two experiences certainly assuaged my guilt over spending 27K+ over the years with online bike shops on my seven bikes.
    The point here is this….What do local businesses have to offer other than SERVICE and INTEGRITY??

    1. Jon Dowe,

      ‘Integrity’, at the local Ma ‘n Pa? hehehehehee. You ought to see some of the returns they try to jam down our throats. 5+ year old serial numbers. Expensive product, totally waterlogged, the corrugated carton digested by black mold. Too many of them are liars, cheaters and thieves. But who can blame them anyway? On the other side of the fence there are the customers, who proudly as an American can be… march into Ma ‘N Pa rural hardware with a thoroughly trashed, abused and destroyed piece of equipment… and the DEMAND their money back … because… well… They have their rights, and they are doing Ma ‘N Pa a FAVOR by patronizing their store, you see; rather than going to THD or Lowe’s.. It’s quick macabre to see this up close in large scale. We don’t care. The cost of supplying these folks goes up, and so does next year’s price book. Where it ends, who knows.

  8. Excellent article. Clear and logical explanation of how things work. I was able to get a spark plug for my lawnmower, one for my generator and a cordless drill delivered in 24 hours. No tax. No shipping fee because I am a prime member. And if I would have driven to buy those. I would have used between 1/4 to 1/2 a tank of gas.

    1. Is Amazon to blame?
      No
      We are…(along with the rest of the supply/demand and competition system.)
      Convenience.
      Click on a wanted item and bingo delivered and you didn’t even have to leave the farm to get it.
      Which I don’t blame people….having to travel 40, 50, 60 miles one way for items.
      I pretty much blame big corporations for Mom and Pop closures.
      Walmart was the start. To the South of me, a well to do community. I think I had at one time counted 5/6 lumber stores. They are all closed now and one remaining. Menards.
      I miss my local hardware, not but a couple of miles away. An emergency run for this or that. Ten minutes and back home. Now an hour+ and fuel.
      The only thing that remains are gas/party stores and they usually have decent prices in items. I give them the business almost daily.
      I dislike seeing these small villages dry up.
      I do my part

  9. I like to do business with local people when I can. I often do horse trading deals where no money or receipts change hands. I don’t like wally world but my budget insist I shop there. DW used to work at the local grocery store which was a chain store. It closed because it was not making as much profit as the stores in bigger towns. Now a local guy that has a store in the neighboring town is opening a store in our town again. I will buy as much as I can from him but if his price is too high I will have to go to the big stores. I will pay a little extra to get stuff from local people but I can’t afford to spend too much. I don’t buy anything on line if I can avoid it. I am very skeptical about putting our card number out there. That’s just me and yes I know I’m a dinosaur.

    1. Carguy

      “..don’t buy anything on line if I can avoid it. I am very skeptical about putting our card number out there. That’s just me and yes I know I’m a dinosaur.”
      I guess that makes me a younger dinosaur….
      I like to see/feel what I purchase. I guess my refusal to buy online is made up for by FWTB, son and brother.

      I’m adding for an example on big name retailers….
      I’m not a beer connoisseur, but…..the usual beer purchase from the major stores taste like bear wizz, compared to the locals….the majors can sell it cheaper, because of a poorer quality product.
      Same as TSC selling Husqvarna. Home Depot selling Cub Cadet and so forth.
      Junk
      And that’s no bull…

  10. Wal Mart did not cause the small mom and pop stores to go out of business.
    The people who flocked to Wal Mart and quit shopping at the locals caused them to go out of business!
    Amazon–although I do not like what Bezos is trying to do– does not either.
    Shoppers cause it!!

    1. Tango
      “Is Amazon to blame?
      No
      We are…(along with the rest of the supply/demand and competition system.)
      Convenience.”

      What burns my butt, is these large corps that move in, shut Mom and Pop down, then these big names, years later, close down and mom and pop businesses don’t have the funds to start up again.
      Walmart for example, nation wide.

        1. Tommyboy
          Aww come on, man.
          Yes, you are included….in the realm of…..things.🙄🤔……(I can’t find the halo emoji)

    2. My exact thought. I have said it many times. When the consumer decided that the dollar they saved meant more to them than keeping money in the community they also made the choice to put the small store out of business.

  11. I always try to find a source, other than Amazon, when buying an item.
    Often a local store has it, if you search–

  12. Well when Amazon started, I remember Jeff Bezos stated his goal was to be the only retailer for all your needs. I’d say about 20 years later he’s done that. The thing is with most mom and pop shops is their pricing is still high. The other thing is that I have notices is the mom and pop shops are picky about returns, Amazon is not. Also Amazon typically almost has everything our need and can get it to you in a day or two. For those three reasons, I think that s why the mom and pops fail.

    1. The mom and pop stores generally have higher price because they pay more for the product. They are pickier about returns because they don’t always have the pull to get their money back from the manufacturer. I managed a large retail Auto parts store and our return policy is lenient because we know that no supplier is going to say no to us.

      1. Poorman,

        Not so true anymore, then dung now rolls uphill. Man and Pa will give refunds to anyone who yells loud enough. Ma and Pa then demand full credit from their distributor for product they neglected, destroyed or accepted back from a customer who did it for them. The distributor kicks it up to brand management who simply deducts the amount from our amount due each month… and essentially dares us to do anything about it. We let the credit fly, then nail them with price increases to compensate for stupidity. In the end, the consumer ALWAYS pays for it.

        When did this “customer is always right” cult, nonsense start? Is the guy who coined the idea still alive? What a load of high overhead garbage.

        1. Tmcgyver,,,,,,the more I see from you , the more I would like to get to know you ,even with the vegetarian thing ,HA HA , if your ever up north stop in for a visit ,

          1. Wow, tuff crowd.
            I say throw up your hands and let big name businesses take over.
            That’s how they’re sticking it to the small time farmer, ain’t it, OH?
            ….And if ma and Pa can’t run a business, how about this for my corporation’s decision making…and I’m not talking M & P, we are global.
            Buy an overseas motor for $40 ea. that we will now sell to a purchaser for $19 ea. Tariff costs, you might add. BS.
            Stupidity is abundant. This area Corp might make it 35 yrs. max. A lot of Mom and Pop shops have turned over generations to those willing to work, make smart business decisions, and not allow personal greed to be as a bottom line.

          2. JOE C ,,,,,i have seen both sides ,some of the bigs have a hard time with the crap ,some of worst crooks are little guys. What matters in the end is what the person is really is. ,,a good test I used years ago was to drop a hundred dollar bill as I left the room doing a interview of new employees ,thought that was a good investment with new potential employees ,,,hiring is so much fun ,,cows are very honest,,,,,,,there is a reason I keep talking about John galt ,, and the study of human nature in the book,,,, moo

          3. Oldhomesteader – The honor would be all mine. People are shocked by the vegetarian thing; I really don’t fit the stereotype. Missus and I were looking at a piece of R1 zoned property in Alturas recently. Maybe I’ll bring you a generator in honor of PG&E.

          4. Mcgyver
            Suck up….
            Valley must be callin’ for a marketeer, I would imagine.
            LOL

          5. Tmcgyver ,,,,the,hayyouranch2 is 65 miles north lot Portland Or,,new place is in north central Idaho,, want to say bring your fishing pole. We have a trout pond ,,guess you could do catch and release,,we are off grid ,use mostly yanmar diesel gensets ,left the grid 35 +years ago,bet we could sit up most of the night talking shop ,,,have been involved in prototype thorium/salt (MSR)reactor development Would produce 6 to100 kw 24 / 7 ,,,9/11 changed a lot of things as to what you can do,, will run 10years on 6 dollars of thorium ,,not a dream any longer ,under 10 grand to build , not made the way most think ,,, no metal in the reactor ,,would like to know more about your product line some time ,,,was thinking about a line of large home freeze dryers ,i know that China is capable of quality work for such a project ,,
            Tea and chocolate

          6. Joe C,
            I’m tech/Eng/R&D; my brother from another mother. To the extent I aid and abet marketing people it is driven by equal parts curiosity and pity. I also keep them from accidentally killing themselves on commercial shoots. — Stories for another day.

          7. Oldhomesteader – I would be doing most of the listening and note taking. Such ideas are far above my head at the moment. My wife keeps begging me to check out Idaho. She just doesn’t ‘get’ the whole Cali ex-pat thing, why some might be less than welcoming. Plus, despite being the friendliest, happy-go-lucky gal you’ll ever meet, she wasn’t born here, and it shows. She has great romantic ideas about county life, but she is a city girl through and through. All things to consider before a major lifestyle change. You are correct! China can, and will build to exactly the level of quality someone is willing to pay for. Sadly, we know what the market demands are here. So they build it.

            But we also have a major partner we build for. A brand name that would stun most people; to learn it was made in China. And you really cannot tell either. It costs more than the low end crap line. But geez what a handsome, well built machine. I was placed in charge of that line effective 1 JAN this year. A lot of work to do. It’s getting done.

          8. Well howwdo, mcgyver.
            Yeah I’m a life long factory rat…drive forklift.
            You may think I’m uneducated….nahh
            Got an Associates in CJ with high honors.
            Being smart never paid off, so might as well continue to be a dumb duck.
            Don’t give a damn about being a PC, proper spelling, Grammer, complete sentences, sources, nothing’s.

          9. How doo to you too Joe C. I would have never figured you for “uneducated”. Heck, I finally cleared 10th grade (honor roll), while a guest of the the state as a juvenile. After that I was homeless and truant until I slipped out of the Midwest at 17 and punched the old reset button. Got my forklift license 25 years ago. I can drive a 10k triple mast like a surgeon. Comes in handy after the warehouse guys have already left and I’m on my 12th hour and the girls up front need some crap loaded late in the day. We all work dude.

          10. Tmcgyver ,,,,,,,would really like to talk on the phone for a start ,,, would like to see if you are the person I’m looking for ,,i have a project that I can’t do by my self ,,as long as things are kept reasonable money is not a problem. ,,as for DW fitting in ,,in Idaho i’ve seen some surprises ,,,I all ways say like Dorothy in the wizard of oz ,Toto were not in Kansas any more ,,,,think about the above ,there is a way to get in direct contact to talk ,,,

  13. Ahhhhhh!!!! Boy.
    Tis a good thing I did not have time at work to read this Article. And tis late with a Gin down me.
    So Ken you might be ready around Noon to do some editing.
    NOT about Amazon, but more on the Communist POS thats so brain dead as to chastise you AND the BLOG for your refferances and links to Amazon.

    1. NRP ,,,,,,,CHILL DUDE , did you missed one of the points I was making ?,Amazon is moving in to food ,three of the BIG chain food stores are expecting losses this year ,thanks to Amazon ,,and the plan is to cut 300 stores ,that’s only 30,000 jobs ,,most of those are local ,,granted when the trucks stop your prime will stop and so will trucks to the stores ,then the hungry game starts , ,,Amazon is building a prime airport to the tune of 1.5 billion ,what’s next your medical? ,ken did a nice piece for today don’t you think ?,,my take on things is as the person that sighs the payroll check on the front ,and had to hand out the pinkslips and look the person in the eye ,and loses sleep worried about making the payroll, I knew the names of there wife and kids ,this Amazon thing is bigger than what’s convenient for you , folks are digging a hole that one day you won’t know how to get out of,dig ,dig and dig some more ,just remember I told you so ,
      Tea and chocolate

      1. 0ldhomesteader;
        Yes Ken did a help of a good Article, as he always does.

        My rant was NOT about the jobs, the takeover, the millions out of work because of Amazon. It was for those that have no respect for the work that Ken puts into this BLOG and the way he tries to get a little income from the link to Amazon.

        Ya don’t like Amazon, I get it, don’t chastise the messenger, Just don’t buy or support Amazon if ya don’t want to, Simple as that.

        1. NRP ,,,,, if I was trying to come down on Ken you would know it ,i will call it as I see it ,, and I agree ken’s got job I would not want ,and he’s good at it ,there are other ways to help support him ,when I order silver I order it from golden eagle and remind them if they want my business to advertise with him ,after all i can buy from my old supplier. When camping survival stopped advertising with him I called and told them I would no longer be buying from them ,and why ,,when I stocked up on radios for the trading post I did so with one of ken’s advertiser ,remember I don’t buy one or two ,i buy case lots for the trading post ,,be it fish med or radios or silver for trade ,to bad he doesn’t have a TP add,and yes there are 80,000 rolls in a 48ft ,i have talked with tattlar lids about Ken ,,,,I have emailed Ken about add rates,several times he has not gotten back to me ,
          As for Bezos ,he is trying to change the nature of the USA and doing it , along with Google and the Alphabet ,those folks are a enemy of freedom ,i do not give a enemy quarter ,,,,i know you have been under a lot of stress lately ,take care of your self , at least for blue’s sake,,,,,,,,
          Tea and chocolate,,,,,

          1. 0ldhomesteader;
            Is all good.
            Tea and Chocolate

            PS; I will not disagree with you one bit about TPTB setting up the US for a total 100% collapse, As with you, I can see it in the wind.
            Crypto Currency is not a good thing, The “false” Stock Markets, Food Shortages are on the way, Help, even PG&E is ‘testing’ Lights-Out in CA right now, calling it ‘because of fire dangers’.
            Tis all in the timing, exactly when will TPTB putt the plug? If ya happen to figure that one out, give me a call.

            XOXOXO, and a nice shot of Shine old buddy. HAHAHA

    2. Still fired up, but will do absolutely no good to tell others this is Ken’s BLOG, and he can advertise in any manor he want’s.

      And that is exactly what it is, go take a look at other sites, 100s of ads and dozens of “popups”, the Newspaper 1/3 ads, TV 20 minutes per hour of ads, even the friggen highways are filled with Bulletin Boards aka ADs.

      So the Man is making a living, spending a LOT of time babysitting this Forum and writing an Article a day (almost), and someone (and many from the sound of it) are bitching about him linking to Amazon? Really? Well guess what ya don’t have to link (go there) if ya don’t want to, you don’t have to buy from Amazon if ya don’t want to, heck, ya don’t even need to read the name “Amazon” if you don’t want to.

      So give Ken a break, if you HATE Amazon and the power they are gaining, blame the Capitalist system, Blame the People that support the “I want that and I want it right NOW”, blame the Free Market system that you so much enjoy.

      OR should we dissolve Capitalism and the current way of life, heck lets go back to the 1800 and all sit around waiting for the wagon train to show up with Aunt Millie’s stool softener. Even better yet, let’s go full onboard with Socialism and Communism and become just like Russia, China or even better just like Venezuela.

      Yes this fired me up, I ran a Forum for many years, and I’m telling, ya it’s a LOT LOT LOT of work, and gets really boring when someone that pays ZERO to read and use the Forum than complains about something as trivial as linking to a source……

      Rant is NOT over, but will digress to shutting the help up….. for now.

      PS; Sorry Ken, you’re wayyyy to nice to really say it like it is, I’m not so much…

    3. NRP
      Free enterprise!
      Some folks just dont get it,
      Personally i dont fault Jeff Bezos, i actually applaud him, quite admirable the vision and direction, i doubt his intent is nefarious, he is giving people what they want regardless of others views on the subject and if Ken can draw in a little extra corn by simply linking to Amazon and soon WFM then more power to him.
      I look at Amazon and Whole foods as beneficial overall, in time with the trend and the essence of free enterprise,
      It is up to the individual what they want their shopping habbits to be, nobody is twisting their arm. Free country

  14. My big brother worked at a mom and pop video store till Blockbuster put them out…now where is Blockbuster? My mother in law told me that in her small town decades ago they had a plethora of shops including Sears. Now they have walmart and a few other places….so this is not new it is just on the largest scale we’ve seen and with add on such as tracking, ect.

    1. In the 1990’s video stores just started appearing and since vcr’s were so new nobody had them so when you rented a video you also rented a huge VCR that came in a canvas carry bag. Years later you shopped DVD’s at Best Buy or Barnes & Noble; rows and rows of movies. That’s all gone now.

      1. Yup, now its a digital download,
        Honestly, i much prefer the digital download, much more convenient, plus then i dont have to go to some grubby store where thousands of other people have been and haul home a plastic case covered with gawd knows what

  15. Nope, not even close. We routinely make fun of those who talk about climate change and only reference their personal experience with the weather when we know that climactic cycles are much longer than the span of a life. Economic cycles are similar, and often technology driven.

    The first Sears catalog – actually more of a flyer – was issued in 1888. It offered more than the small prairie outposts could. Mostly because owners could not afford to tie up a lot of capital in inventory that didn’t move quickly.

    Many decades ago I watched the small five and dime begin its slow slide to oblivion when JCPenney and Montgomery Wards came to town. Their HQs were elsewhere and merchandising was supported by faster mail and broader availability of telephone services.

    Downtown stores dried up when shopping malls came to be and most American families had automobiles. Driving to one destination to accomplish a wide variety of purchasing saved time and money.

    The incredible busy-ness of our lives and the availability of credit cards began to drive remote shopping, first via paper catalogs then through e-commerce.

    Many small business people I know market exclusively on-line, with “stores” on eBay, Etsy, Amazon, etc. Others retail in-person at holiday fairs, craft markets, or by paying a commission to occupy a corner in a shop or restaurant.

    Technology, personal time available for shopping, and global market forces are in constant flux, and always have been.

    1. Malls perhaps did more hurt to mom & pop stores before Amazon or Walmart and now malls are becoming deserted. Malls also put a lot of pressure on downtown stores. When I was a kid going to the mall with the family wasn’t too different than going to a carnival. The Mall of America has invested in that concept and has turned into a micro-city with gangs, and other societal ills. You do not have to encounter that with online shopping.

  16. Get over the idea any business has a right to exist, or be protected from changes in the marketplace. Why even have a brick and mortar establishment at all, if you can run a business without it..and without any employee problems? Why market to a small town, when you can market to the entire planet?

    I sell from Singapore to London, 24/7, all on-line, and have warehouses in several countries. Yet, I have only one employee…me. I can run my companies from any location on Earth, purchase inventory, make deals, ship goods…collect payments and transfer funds…even from a moving car, or during theatre intermissions.

    It is really a good time to be in business.

  17. I guess I have one thing to say….
    When the Shtf,. how many of you would wish you still had all those local Mom and Pop’s and the few provisions they could provide in a short term.

    Just a ‘carguy dinosaur’….and a click of a non existent button and a no credit card transaction…..
    Hopefully, you have your shift together and are well prepaired for those last minute must haves.

    1. Dude,
      The ones that are gome are long gone, the ones still here,
      Will still be here,,,
      This place is different than most of the lower 48, just not even close in dynamic

    2. Joe c,
      Which is one reason why we prepare, right? If Shtf, in the context of true SHTF, “all those local Mom and Pop’s” wouldn’t make any difference at all. Everyone would be fending for themselves and/or their own ‘tribe’ with the inventory on hand at their own home/location. Any supplies in stores, on the shelves, no matter where they are, be it Ma or Pop or Walmart or wherever, would be stripped bare in short order.

      In the mean time, during modern times, we live within the system that’s dealt us and carry on with life in the pursuit of liberty and happiness. All the while being prepared to the extent that we can.

  18. Joe, the only Mom and Pop places ’round here are thousands of small eateries, local craft breweries, and boutique pot shops. In shtf, I expect all three market segments will swiftly adapt. As for last minute must haves. Well, two is one and one is none, but three or more; that would be me.

  19. Tommy & Mcgyver
    I guess we all live in our different areas….
    I have my ideas, you both have your own.
    One thing we should agree on is knowing our areas and what to expect, if shtf, but I’m not expecting Amazon, eBay,Chewey or Wallymart to save the day….
    We are adapted/programmed to have our convenients,.saving a buck here and there.
    We are only haphazardly digging our own graves….and ‘they’ love it.

    1. Joe C – WMT? AMZ? EBY? That’s so… turn of the century. Brace your self for Ali Express, TaoBao and DX. Right now the last three mostly supply the first three. But their direct sales platforms are coming online with lightning speed. I personally believe this is a big factor in President Trump’s tariffs.

      I need to replace my phone. The one I really want (and can partially justify for business) is $1,500 online, w/o a contract. That’s because the new Huawei flagship I wanted was shot out of the sky by The Donald. Solution? I ordered a private label knockoff of the Huawei, direct from Shenzhen, for $200, delivered to my door.

      What would you do? Wait for Motorola to tool up the NAAMPS brick phone again and start building them in Schaumburg? There isn’t even a network for that anymore.

      1. I recently had an online order that was due for delivery (whatever day it was) and I was a little surprised when at 10pm I was closing the front door and saw a car stop out front. Some lady in her car with dog riding along delivered my package.

  20. People are the reason small businesses close. Owners and patrons. Most small businesses are run exceptionally poorly, especially by the time the third generation are working there.

    People are habitual. If you disrupt them they are likely to change. So if you give anyone a reason not to shop there they will change and source what they need elsewhere. And even if a person spends an hour on a website buying something because there are so many choices it seems more convenient than brick and mortar… And probably is.

    A 6-store family-owned grocery store chain quit selling Annie’s Ketchup. I haven’t bought groceries there since and it saved me $100/month. A local Ma and Pa auto parts store didn’t have a Delco 12si alternator and they wanted me to order it… I did… From RockAuto for half price. A local boutique grocery store quit selling normal grocery items with low marginss and high overhead like hamburger buns… Why would I stop there to get their remaining high margin items like grass fed black angus when I have to go to another store anyway?

    If you make it difficult for me to give you my money I’ll find something easier…

  21. Ken
    I get what you’re saying, but…..your local Wally has x amount of people scavagenging for provisions.
    Your locals don’t have the herd to try to trample you for that extra set of batteries, snack cakes, 5 extra gals of gas, meat sticks. Yes and stripped bare in x amount of time.
    Yeah, we prep and there are those that do the best they can with what they have.,.. today.
    Maybe they can’t take the extra side road and pick up this or that on the x mile hike home…maybe the local Ma and Pa will have it when on my trek home…
    If even an extra bottle of water/a SlimJim.

    1. Joe c,
      From a preparedness standpoint, if you don’t already have what you need if and when SHTF, then you will be part of the “herd”.

      1. Ken,
        You are absolutely correct.
        But let’s say an emp Shtf.
        I’m hoping at least one of those four mom and pop shops, I and countless others are passing, are open to sell walkers a $15 bottle of water, a $20 stick of jerky. I cannot carry provisions for all and more than a handful are fellow co-workers.
        They don’t have comfortable walking shoes, let alone food and water for a trek, such as that.
        Not my problem, I know.

  22. With more online sales and less local retail and therefore less opportunity for robbing at the local level, will thieves resort to holding up modern day stagecoaches; UPS/FEDEX/USPS delivery trucks??

    1. Its already happening my friend. When we were growing up, if you were a porch pirate. That meant you rang the doorbell and said
      “Argh. Trick or Treat”.

      Now if you have a porch pirate. Chances are that its an under privileged, reparation deserving, upstanding urban/suburban youth. That just so happens to be stealing your new ring doorbell security camera, that you ordered from amazon, to prevent porch piracy, because someone keeps stealing your packages!! LOL

  23. I am sure Amazon is hard to compete with. From what I have seen big box stores have been putting small business out of business for many decades. Amazon is just a continuation of it.

    In my area, a 700 person town in the western Dakotas, the largest loss of business here has been due to depopulation. We had over 7500 people in the County decades ago, 2800 in the early 2000s and now we are just under 2500 people. The loss of farmers has killed the businesses here.

    Why have the farmers left? Various Reasons. Technology, government regulation, agricultural mega-corporations, etc. You can’t even buy enough land to start farming unless your already well established in life.

    Amazon here supplies residents with resources which are simply no longer available. Most of the resources disappeared long before Amazon came around. If anything Amazon has made it possible to acquire goods without having to drive for over an hour.

  24. Amazon has such a vast variety of inventory it makes it possible for me to purchase items I cannot find anywhere near where I live. One example would be butchering supplies, (1 and 2lb capacity freezer bags, tape dispensers, etc. etc.). As for shoes, clothing, food, home goods, hardware, that stuff is all purchased locally due to fit, freshness, or need.

    As a long time employee of a big retailer that went bankrupt I can attest it was the corporate critters and not Amazon (though they blamed Amazon) that caused their demise. Instead of stocking items that people could afford and want they doubled down on expensive items we could not sell, and spent millions on shelving to reduce our actual inventory space, and displays for items we would not stock.

      1. americuh and Ken
        Perhaps it is just my perception in my smaller market area, but, I see a narrowing of choice in many merchandise categories. I know it has been many years since all stores carried the same product line – they all began to look the same. The greatest changes seem to be in footwear and clothing coming from the far east. I suspect many lines come out of the same sweatshop factories but simply have different colors and labels. My DW hates change and I hear regularly “why can’t I find non-stretch jeans and quality cotton button front tops like I used to get from Columbia sports wear”.

  25. I suggest it comes down to the choices by the consumer; do people want a decentralized economy based on local/regional production, inventory, and distribution? This historic system has less product choice and higher prices for some goods.

    Or do people want a “just in time” supply chain that is susceptible to collapse at any time? The addiction to year-round fresh food, cheap plastic furniture, and electronics, has come at a cost – the increased risk of mass starvation in my opinion.

    Is this why many of us prep?

    1. hermit us,
      People will always want more choice, more convenience, less cost. As you (and most people here) know, the massive (just in time) distributions systems enable all this (and the inherent risks of disruption and result thereof). And yes, it’s partly why many of us prep ;)

      1. Ken
        Is it as simple as what is given to us in the “Bill Of Rights”, the pursuit of happiness? Or is that self-sufficient peasant with the rice paddy as happy as we? Or is the Afghan goat herder as happy as we, without all the stuff we covet.
        We seem to have more nervousness about our future as the control of our daily supplies become evermore remote.

        1. I dont know Hermit,
          Personally i am feeling pretty well empowered because of my abilities and knowledge,
          I could do without all the modern convenience and get by, the stores could disappear, electric, phones, transportation, and i could get by, perhaps even thrive as one of my biggest wastes of time is sitting here tippitytyping on these blogs while drinking my tea rather than furthering my education on any manner of endeavors for which i have accumulated much printed info on.
          It can all go away, im there, sure theres always more stuff i could accumulate, but don’t really need it, i have enough to get by, chickens, garden, seeds, plantings and supplies i may or may not need, and none of it needs anything most associate with civilization.
          For myself, its more a morbid curiousity than anything resembling nervousness

          1. We live in a community with a lot of Amish, who are well known for being “off grid”. So it is common to hear remarks on how they would survive a societal, economic collapse. This is an ignorant observation, they are perhaps more dependent on the infrastructure than most are aware. They do not have refrigeration and are highly dependent upon the auto and trucking transportation, they have access to cell phones and forms of electrical power tools on a daily basis to do business. If I were Amish when the SHTF I’d shave, throw away my straw hat and hitchhike into town.
            Were not going back to raising backyard chickens, reading books by candlelight and plinking piano keys. We will want grocery stores, Kindle readers and MP3 music players. Somehow we will get the system up and running because we will want to and because it can be done.

  26. A popular theme in Science fiction is government replaced by corporations. This genre can be seen in the space shows where corporations are waging war against other corporations in outer space. Wasn’t here some talk recently about outsourcing the war in Afghanistan to Blackwater?

    I only see this as becoming more common when we have corporate leaders now in cabinet level positions making rules that benefit the corporation more than the citizen.

    Jeff Bezos has the resources to influence the world in ways we are only beginning to understand. Once he gets those drones delivering packages anybody want to bet as to whether or not they will be flying everywhere and will all be camera equipped? A blurb on the net the other day was about using ring cameras ad part of a nationwide surveillance net.

    Walmart supersized in our town by adding a grocery. The local grocers banded together to fight it. Their lawyer was a day late filing the paperwork. Now three grocery stores have gone under. And we have the convenience of buying our fishing lures, under wear, kids school supply’s and very low quality semi fresh vegetables and old eggs at one store. Anyone think maybe there was payoff involved somewhere?

    It would appear that Walmart on line is trying to give Amazon a run for the money. Wonder if there will be a merger called Amazing Mart?

  27. Where you shop is your financial business, like many here I/we have HAD to use Amazon because what I required was not to be found in this area. Example–the fertilizer mentioned in the U tube videos put out by Leon in OK. The closet garden shop is another half hours drive from THD or Lowe’s, which did not carry what I required.
    Had to order via Amazon, they had suppliers who were advertising on that site. Yes, I am just as capable where we spend our financial monies. I still prefer to buy from the stores in town before using A for our shopping.

    “16 Tons”, “what do you get, another day working and deeper in debt, St. Peter don’t ya call me as I can’t GO, I OWE my soul to the company store’!

    That is why I limit my shopping at the Big A!

  28. It takes a special Antique Collector to quote Tennessee Ernie Ford. … I thought it was “another day older and deeper in debt.” In my case, no difference…

    1. tmcgyver
      Yes, caught my mistake after I posted it, but it still works(for me🤩).

      By the way I love that song, as it speaks of this nations working class which rose up from indentured servitude placed their by the massive singled owned companies.

      You lived in THEIR housing projects, worked at THEIR place of employment, purchased your food from THEIR company store , in the end you died in debt to the business/company owner(s). Because you were paid in script, an the owners made sure you never had anything left over to escape. Now we as a nation of working are going back to that indentured status under the Bezos plan.

      Either way, our volatility of our shopping habits will be our undoing.😣

  29. Amazon launches credit card for deadbeats. Now we can all qualify with a reasonable interest rate of 28.24% :) On ZH
    Me thinks that sucking sound we hear is the big corporations vacuuming up what is left of our personal wealth and resources.

    1. hermit us:
      Come-On-Man that is nada, (according to Debt Clock) the debt on CCs is right at 1,074,043,xxx.xx and growing very FAST, that’s gata come from somewhere ya know?

      1. NRP
        Right out of your pay check when the student loans are forgiven, when the CC defaults are forgiven, …. I’m the idiot for not running up credit for others to pay for as well – could have had the vacations, toys, …
        What happened to negative interest rates? Ohh ya I forgot that just applies to our savings.

        1. hermit us;
          Heck, ‘they’ already will be giving FREE medical Insurance to illegals PLUS EBT, SS, Housing, so-on just for being a criminal and breaking Federal Laws and running the boarders.
          And how about all the terrorist that are just walking in, anyone here think that ISIS is not just loving the Dems right about now?

          1. NRP
            Just to get back on topic – who else would run our 7/11’s and Ma and Pa stores that cash EBT cards at a slight discount. I’m sure if e-verify was implemented at all Amazon locations, there would be more jobs for the people now on welfare that prefer not to work.

    2. I’ll do ya one better hermit…. the latest trend in sub-prime retailing is to LEASE your new consumer gadget. This totally abrogates usury laws because…… it’s not a purchase…. just has the look and feel of it to a typical American idiot. We had one ranting and raving today, my staff threw their hands up, no proof of purchase, no actual ownership; couldn’t do much for them. Felt like I was channeling Dave Ramsey, mumbling “yeww ‘ave gatt to be kid’ang mae”.

  30. What national chains have collapsed in the last several years?
    K-Mart, ShopKo, Toy R’ Us, Radio Schack, Macy’s, Gander Mtn, MC Sports, Payless Shoes, Macy’s?, Sears is struggling…
    Who’s doing great? Home improvement stores, warehouse grocery stores….

    1. Hey, lets go back a little, how about Woolworths, the 5 & dime on the corner.
      90 percent of the grocery stores are owned by only 3 TPTB. Anyone remember the corner Gas Station that would actually check the oil AND tire pressure?
      ALL brought out to the Big Boys.
      Now Amazon is the Big Boy…… BUT what is next? Alexa, controlling everything in your life?
      Makes one wonder if a simple Article like this can cause discontent, just imagine whats next

  31. Over time I find the local businesses carry less of what I want. This has been going on for the better part of 15 to 20-years.

    I would like to buy local and do when I can find an item locally. I’m willing to drive 25 to 40-miles or more (I live in a city) to get something.

    But the problem is that the local stores don’t feel the need to have much of a supply on hand and only have a limited number of items.

    Not my fault if they are unwilling to invest in stocking things. I also think the Japanese method of “On-Time” inventory where no store has a reserve of items they do carry contributes to this.

    So I go to on-line buying and I feel not the slightest bit bad for companies that are unwilling to adapt and or buy things (as in have them in stock) people want.

    These days stores have no stock room, all their supply is out on the sales floor.

    PS: On-Time delivery / inventory systems are full of all kinds of problems if there is any kind of hiccup in the ongoing delivery system. All it would take is a serious hike in the fuel cost and trucks may not run.

    As a prepper this concerns me, I in effect have built up my own supply room as I see this problem can cause massive shortages.

  32. In the end does it really make a difference how you get what you want?

    I don’t think so.

    In the past (Old West time) people ordered from catalogs (like Sears) and waited for the Postman to deliver it. How is this much different then on-line ordering?

    I buy what I think I need or what I want and where or who I buy it from doesn’t really come into play.

    1. Chevy, thanks for pointing that out. You’re right, if people save that link to their bookmarks, and use it for if and when they shop amzn, it helps the MSB coffers at no additional cost to the shopper.

      1. And for those who would like to see less money going to Amzn and divert some to the “other side”, this is the way to do it.

  33. I’ve been reading the blog for over a year now, but never felt the need to comment until this article.

    This isn’t a mad rant or trying to argue, I just want to give some food for thought.

    We have a family owned business selling quality Zero Turn lawn mowers. Because of the price and the fact that they are mechanical machines, people see a value in buying from us because we service what we sell.

    Does Amazon make us nervous? A little. I see where some brands are represented on Amazon Prime, and I would imagine that those brands, because we deal with them and their new sales policies are to go direct to consumer, are probably direct from company to Amazon to Consumer.

    This brings me to my food for thought. The price of those units on Amazon are the same that we are able to sell them for.

    Now technically we would be direct dealers and have little buying power, so our prices should be higher, right? Only a few months ago, we had a great distributor for the product. Were our prices higher when there was a middle man? No, in fact they were less.

    We’ve had other companies take us direct, and they always say that our new prices will be better, never happens. What we loose is next day shipping on whole goods and parts, great service and support, and overall the brand starts to loose its value.

    So, just because it goes through several hands to get to you does not always mean that you are spending more money than if you go from manufacturer to one middle man to you.

    But there is a good chance that you will lose service, or get the wrong product and have to keep waiting because you couldn’t see it first.

    Best to everyone, I enjoy reading the blog and the comments, always great food for thought!

    1. Travis;
      Great comment and as you said, food for thought.
      Without trying to sound like a nutcase that I probably am, Lets toss out a few little things, and again NOT trying to get into an argument.

      When/If I purchase on Amazon, I pay around 1/4 to 1/3 the Tax of 8.25% I pay locally.
      When/If I purchase on Amazon, I don’t need to fight the crowds and wackos in 90% of the Big-Box stores.
      When/If I purchase on Amazon, I can sit on my fat butt and just click away to find exactly what I want.
      When/If I purchase on Amazon, I don’t spend fuel and wear-tare on my truck running 40 miles to town, unless I’m smart enough to do 20 things all the same time.
      When/If I purchase on Amazon, It (normally) shows up on my door step in 2 days or less.
      When/If I purchase on Amazon, I ordered the ‘wrong’ thing I simply click 5 times and print a fully paid return slip, toss in on the curb and Fed-Ex picks it up and I order another.
      When/If I purchase on Amazon, and this is a Biggy, I don’t need to go to 10 different stores to find what I want, AND 50% of the times I hear the clerk “Sir we can order tha in and will be here in a week or two”.

      Ok enough, you get the idea why Amazon AND Wally-World and 100’s of other On-Line buying is so popular.
      Do I know what’s happening to Mom-Pop stores, sure I do, and honestly the same is happening with Fast Food, the Mom-Pop restaurants are getting squashed because McDonalds can sell a crapo Cheese Burger for $2.00.
      I do feel for those that are losing their businesses because of “Modernization”, unfortunately it will not stop, TPTB are in control of 99.99% of everything, selling online is just one more thing that We-The-People will adjust to as it’s stuffed down our gullet.

      PS; Welcome to the “comment” side of the BLOG. We, or at least I, appreciate the comments. Thank You

      1. NRP
        I too use Amazon and Costco for all the reasons you listed.

        But Travis does have a good point about service for some type of goods like machinery. The only answer for the Ma and Pa stores may be to deal in more service oriented products, more local perishables, more local artisan goods, …

        It is impossible for small outlets to compete with Amazon for the same market. Amazon can underprice you and get priority in the supply chain. Change with the market trend or be forced out.

        1. hermit us;
          1000% correct, I had a heck of a time sending in my broken Chain Saw to Amazon to get it fixed……

          1. NRP,
            If you order a product from Amazon, you can generally return it within 30 days without issue. They are very good about that.

            From that point on, you’re on the manufacturer warranty (whatever that may be for a given product). So, you do not send back your chainsaw to Amzn for repair. Not sure why you were trying to do that.

            You send it, or bring it, to a authorized service center.
            Not

          2. Ken
            That was my point on a previous day. As Amazon does more importing and stocking goods in their own facilities, there is less of a contact line with the manufacturer to have a problem solved. If you ask the Amazon contact about any problem, they defer to the standard policy script – we can only take returns when approved and take no responsibility for product performance etc.
            Just try to get help when you buy that house from Amazon and it comes as a pile of lumber. :)

          3. hermit us,
            Amazon is incredibly accommodating with returned products (within 30 days). They have a very good reputation with this. In fact, they will likely take back a product for no reason at all. You simply don’t like it, or whatever reason you come up with. They do not have a ‘standard policy’ which makes it difficult in any way. I just wanted to point that out.

            That said, didn’t Sears used to sell a house kit?

          4. Ken, you said:

            “Amazon is incredibly accommodating with returned products (within 30 days). They have a very good reputation with this. In fact, they will likely take back a product for no reason at all. You simply don’t like it, or whatever reason you come up with.”

            Yes sir, that is exactly correct. In fact, as a consumer, you will likely be interacting with an AI bot which is programmed to auto-kiss the backside of any customer, as you said: “for whatever reason you come up with”. (They do keep track though, so don’t get carried away)

            Here is the flip side to such institutional stupidity… Shipping is nearly $200, each way, on the bigguns. Spoiled consumerist snowflakes (Americans are bad, Canadians are the WORST), exercising their “rights” often refuse to even defuel the thing… so it can’t be shipped… so it gets written off… after they use it for the camping trip; of course. Market forces do, ultimately work, just like water finds its own level… price discovery is rather formulaic.

            AMZ sales volume, (our sector) falls because most consumers are strictly driven by price. Eventually someone asks “why?”

          5. NRP
            I think you may see tiny homes and rv trailers before they get into modular housing. By that time they will sell you a setup to print your own house – cuts down on shipping.

          6. NRP,

            I remember the Sear’s homes. Years later, we had a lumber outlet called Southerland’s that sold home kits, basically all the materials to build the frame home chosen from a number of floor plans following architectural drawings that came with the purchase.

            Remember “Jim Walter’s Homes”? They would build shell homes on your lot, all the way up to a turn key job. I actually almost started out with one, until they tried to increase the agreed to price on contract signing day. Seems they had forgotten to include the extra cost of meeting city codes originally, or so they said. I balked, they talked, I walked.

    2. Travis, Thanks for your comment.

      When I moved to my present location, I purchased my zero-turn mower (Made in USA) from a local distributor next town over. I couldn’t imagine myself buying something like that from Amzn. Why? Because the distributor next town over has great service on their products and treat their customers well. I value that. I bought my used tractor from them too. In a small town a company cannot get away with screwing over their people. They will go out of business as word travels fast.

      So for me, it’s not always about the money. I support ‘local’ when and where I can, especially if it is of value for me to do so.

      With that said, I believe more and more people are indeed buying direct for larger products (at Amzn and elsewhere). It’s tough to beat shipping to your door. But will it arrive in one piece? Not dented or scratched? Will it be what you expected? How difficult to return something that’s ‘big’ and heavy?

      Yep, food for thought.

  34. Hermit us & NRP
    You missed the Amazon ad for their new availabilty for tiny homes.

  35. ac/acdh
    Sorry, I should have clarified my use of ‘tiny homes”. I meant the ones on wheels that can be moved like trailers to Amazon customers. Ready to move into, not with some assembly required. The ones they advertise need a lot of finishing inside and out – perhaps the framing as well, but I’m not sure of that. I can deliver a house package to you as well, comprised of lifts of studs, plywood, shingles, floor joists, …. and a brief set of instructions hahaha

    1. hermit us
      Such a deal, is that to be constructed on the corner lot near you & Mrs. hermit us?? lol
      ac/acdh

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