We are no fans of Amazon here at The Rumpus. When we link to books we review, we link to small publisher websites or spdbooks.org or Powell’s. We’ve written about the online behemoth’s desire to avoid collecting sales taxes in California multiple times. The Daily Show’s John Oliver recently did a piece on how the California initiative process makes it harder for the state government to deal with fiscal crises and how Amazon is currently exploiting that process in an attempt to stop the state from forcing them to collect sales tax.
I want to emphasize that for a second–this isn’t a tax on Amazon. This is sales tax, which you would pay if you went into any store in California and purchased something. Amazon doesn’t want to collect it because it would lessen the competitive advantage they currently hold over local retailers.
But Amazon isn’t satisfied with that. Nope, they want to run local stores completely out of business, it seems. They have announced that they “will pay customers $5 to go into a local store, scan an item, walk out, and buy the same item on Amazon.” Gawker responds with “By all means use Amazon – they have amazing selection! – but there’s no need to be a tacky jerk to your neighborhood store in the process. Unless that store is a Wal Mart, Target, or American Apparel, in which case go to town (by which we mean, go out of town).” I don’t know. I get the sentiment–pit the big retailers against each other–but really, I don’t think I can bring myself to do it. Amazon can bite me.