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Why Amazon Wants To Pay Sales Tax

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the ubiquity-is-everywhere-tomorrow dept.

Businesses 647

Maximum Prophet writes "A while ago, Amazon caved on paying individual states sales taxes. Now we know why. Amazon is setting up same-day delivery warehouses everywhere. They will put most normal retailers out of business." If that's a bet, I'll take it.

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would i rather (1, Insightful)

Simpson,Homer_Jay (2666667) | more than 2 years ago | (#40632743)

shop at wal-mart?

Re:would i rather (5, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#40632903)

You could. Walmart has free shipping. Even to Alaska.

That's completely insane - they are undercutting local businesses by 20 - 40%. Don't know how long they're going to keep this up but watching it is entertaining.

Re:would i rather (4, Insightful)

cjcela (1539859) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633199)

I fail to see how destroying competition by undercutting local shops is a good thing for the local economy in the long term. By the time you figure out what is going on, they will own the market, and the small shops will be long gone. You will have no option but to deal with a single merchant. Good luck with that. Be smart. Help the small guys, even if they are a bit more expensive. That will keep things in relative check.

Re:would i rather (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633319)

I fail to see how destroying competition by undercutting local shops is a good thing for the local economy in the long term.

In order to meet a Same Day Delivery promise Amazon will have to be LOCAL. So there went your major point. Poof.

Workers walk out of one failing business model which requires customers to come to them, and walk into a better business model which puts the "shelves" right there in people's homes (on the computer or their phone), and offers same day delivery.

You seem to have a lot in common with THESE people [wikipedia.org] . They didn't prevail either.

Don't try to convince us you have never shopped on line.

Re:would i rather (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40633341)

Leaving aside concern over Amazon being something of a monopoly in online first sale of retail products, it the long term the elimination of local brick and mortar retail is GREAT. In fact, eliminating jobs while providing the same or better service is considered to be a top priority of economics in general. The less labor it takes to provide service X means the less cost it takes, as long as there's competition it means lower prices for consumers.

Thus the primary problem becomes Amazon being a monopoly. And it's not really their fault big stores like Walmart, Target, and Costco almost totally neglect their online portions. Instead of worrying that Amazon is trying to be competitive you should be worrying that those stores aren't.

Re:would i rather (3, Insightful)

RajivSLK (398494) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633349)

And the merchant class, who used to get by owning small shops, will cease to exists. All those people will work at Wal-mart for $8/hour.

Wal-mart's low prices exist not because they have a vastly more efficient distribution system as commonly thought but rather because they have vastly more efficient systems for negotiating deals, driving down labour costs, leveraging the artificially low Chinese yuan and squeezing the profit from the supply chain.

Re:would i rather (4, Interesting)

sortadan (786274) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633025)

I wouldn't. Amazon as a system of getting goods makes sense, and if done right would cut down on gas consumption with everyone driving to the store separately. I happen to live in Seattle and have used AmazonFresh (grocery delivery) and have automatic monthly diaper delivery with AmazonMom and it's awesome. I look forward to a future where I don't need to drive anywhere to do my shopping, and can spend that time out hiking and having fun with my kid. Only thing that might be cool is an Amazon "try it" store where you can go check something out before getting it. Just drop the stuff off with my hose robot and it'll unpack, stock things in the fridge and elsewhere, and recycle the packaging, or better yet start using re-usable packaging and I'll just give it back in the AmazonFresh bins.

On the topic of local distribution centers, I'm sure that this will not be a full selection of Amazon products available for same day deliver, just a selection of the most popular items, which will still be nice to get faster.

Re:would i rather (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633123)

I'm a sucker for going to farmers markets, picking out produce which was harvested yesterday and usually picked when it's ripe, not a month ago when it was still "green". For canned or frozen goods something like delivery could make sense (though I'm usually pretty erratic in my schedule for delivery) but I still get a lot of those things at Trader Joe's because Joe's suppliers use far less chemicals in the making of their products (I really don't like looking at something like a burrito, which should be beans, cheese, flour, oil and water, but reads like The Brothers Karamazov.)

Course, it' doesn't rain 11 months out of the year where I live, either, so I don't mind being out and about and hitting farmers stands on the way home from work, like some manic pinball.

Amazon's strength was books, then consumer eletronics, then food, then eveything else. While they have free delivery (for over $25 spent on most items) there's a certain amount of waiting and if the item is DOA (like one cracked DVD I received) you have to exercise some patience. Meanwhile good ol' brick and mortar lets you have the goodies in your hot little hands now and often work out better on returns.

Re:would i rather (2, Insightful)

cjcela (1539859) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633147)

I think your post is shortsighted. While it may be convenient in the short term, the price we may have to pay for a single company providing pretty much all consumer goods may be outrageously expensive in the long term for society. By killing the small business, Amazon is not helping the economy, but actually bankrupting small shops for its own profit. Low prices today are not always a good long term strategy, because when there is no more competition, there are no more price restrictions, and we are stuck with a gigantic company that controls the market. Remember what happens when Walmart sets shop in a small town. Protect your local economy. Do your part to help the small guys - they will be your Plan B when the big company decides to screw you over.

Re:would i rather (2)

Stormthirst (66538) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633249)

Oh the joys of free market economics and capitalism. Good luck protecting the little guy. It won't help one little bit.

Re:would i rather (1)

englishknnigits (1568303) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633331)

Remember what happens when Walmart sets shop in a small town.

Prices on many goods go down and everyone in the community effectively has a higher standard of living?

Re:would i rather (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633161)

There is pretty much no way to do it right enough to cut down on gas delivery.
Because you will always have some reason to go out driving and normally you would of picked up stuff at the same time, and instead you have huge gas guzzling delivery trucks making special tricks to your house.

Re:would i rather (1)

veganboyjosh (896761) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633259)

You could run (presumably, at least some of) your errands on a bicycle.

Re:would i rather (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40633281)

Because you will always have some reason to go out driving and normally you would of picked up stuff at the same time

Tell us more about the driving habits of people you know nothing about.

and instead you have huge gas guzzling delivery trucks making special tricks to your house.

No, you'll have those trucks going on rounds to dozens of houses at a time. You've heard of logistics, right?

Re:would i rather (2)

ISoldat53 (977164) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633121)

Interesting. WalMart just opened its first grocery store on the east side of Puget Sound where Amazon's grocery delivery operations is located. Turn-about-fair-play.

Things! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40632745)

Last! I mean first!

Who remembers Kozmo? or Webvan? (3, Insightful)

Electrode (255874) | more than 2 years ago | (#40632749)

This all seems strangely familiar to me. Would be interesting if Amazon could pull it off, though.

Re:Who remembers Kozmo? or Webvan? (4, Interesting)

alexander_686 (957440) | more than 2 years ago | (#40632795)

Amazon bought Kiva Systems last year - a company that specializes in pick and pack robots. If I remember my dot.com history correctly it was the picking and packing aspect of the business that killed on-line grocery WebVan. (Which Amazon was an early investor in. I wonder f Amazon has any of the old WebVan stuff around.)

Re:Who remembers Kozmo? or Webvan? (5, Interesting)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 2 years ago | (#40632917)

Robotic warehouses are not the nirvana that so many claim they are. The problem comes when demand falls off (all demand is cyclical) and your competition lets people go while your left with the same fixed costs. This is happening right now in the industry I work in, where the former leader is plunging out of control from large infrastructure costs, particularly their very sophisticated warehouses, that their competition doesn't have.

The strategy also seems to overlook that thing where, you know, people don't wanna' pay sales tax. Here in California that amounts to an almost 10% savings for those consumers who violate state sales and use tax laws (of course, I don't).

Re:Who remembers Kozmo? or Webvan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40633127)

But that's the thing about amazons robotics system, kiva: it depends on low cost, low capital individual robots than can easily be scaled up and down to meet demand much more than old style systems They also have an extremely broad product range, which also helps deal with downturns for specific product categories.

Re:Who remembers Kozmo? or Webvan? (1)

BeanThere (28381) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633295)

But that's the thing about amazons robotics system, kiva: it depends on low cost, low capital individual robots than can easily be scaled up and down to meet demand much more than old style systems They also have an extremely broad product range, which also helps deal with downturns for specific product categories

Why do you sound just slightly too much like a product brochure? :)

But in seriousness, the reality is automation will become cheaper, and more and more of the supply and delivery chain will become automated ... so what we are basically looking at then, is a future in which vast armies of robots deliver products right to the doors of humans at really low prices? Oh noes! That sounds like a dystopic hell.

OK, in seriousness-seriousness, the obvious concern is that as more and more becomes automated, consumers won't have jobs to pay for those goods. That's where the tax comes in, see ... sign up for a welfare program, and buy products from Amazon with the income. Voila, Utopia .. ? Guess we're going to find out in the coming decades.

Re:Who remembers Kozmo? or Webvan? (1)

The Mister Purple (2525152) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633171)

Of course, the fixed costs of running physical retail outlets might outweigh those of robotic warehouses.

Speaking of obsolete brick and mortar stores, I wonder how Best Buy feels about this?

Re:Who remembers Kozmo? or Webvan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40633289)

Robots don't receive unemployment?

Re:Who remembers Kozmo? or Webvan? (1)

multicoregeneral (2618207) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633285)

I used to love Webvan. To the best of my recollection, it was the only place I've ever ordered from where they bring food to your door, and the delivery guy puts it away for you. The service was the best grocery service I've ever experienced, and I've missed them ever since. If they magically re-appeared, I would happily pay the premium again. But, Door to Door Organics does a pretty good job of filling that void (even if they don't put things away in my cupboards) -- at least in Kansas City.

Amazon's not bad. I don't have the same moral quandaries buying from them that I do buying from someone like Walmart. And if they could offer same day service I would probably never set foot in a Walmart again. So what if they charge sales tax? All the big places online collect sales tax anyway. It's not like it's any kind of great coup anymore. Sure, I was devastated when they started doing it, but these days, I just sort of meekly accept it as a reality.

As a consumer, I'm a lot more concerned with getting what I order quickly, than I am with shelling out a couple extra bucks to the state.

Re:Who remembers Kozmo? or Webvan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40632803)

They already have pulled it off in certain places. When I lived in New York, I got same day delivery all the time. Sometimes within 4 hours. Everything else I could get next day for $4, and that was in New York where it was easy to get things. And you already have to pay sales tax in New York.

The convenience of just ordering things to your house is incredible. Batteries, toothpaste, detergent, cereal bars etc.. Didn't really matter. It's usually cheaper on Amazon even WITH sales tax.

Invest in FedEx (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40632771)

Huge business boom forthwith. $$$ to be made here, folks.

Re:Invest in FedEx (1)

kaatochacha (651922) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633213)

Until amazon institutes their own delivery service.

Re:Invest in FedEx (1)

bhlowe (1803290) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633353)

Until the post office decides to become relevant... but yeah, FedEx and UPS are one of those use em everyday services..

Those crafty devils.... (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | more than 2 years ago | (#40632775)

Imagine a corporation that large agreeing to raise prices for every product it sells so it can reap none of the extra three to nine percent.........out of the kindness of it's heart.

Re:Those crafty devils.... (1)

thoughtsatthemoment (1687848) | more than 2 years ago | (#40632927)

If they raise prices their online competitors would take advantage of that. What is really changing is shopping is becoming more and more like typing on a keyboard and then wait for the knock on the door.

Great (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40632777)

Yeah, let's let Amazon get a monopoly so they can jack up prices. Or do you morons actually think they'll keep their prices so low after running out of business the alternatives?

Re:Great (5, Insightful)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#40632905)

Yeah, let's let Amazon get a monopoly so they can jack up prices. Or do you morons actually think they'll keep their prices so low after running out of business the alternatives?

You seem to think that once a business gets to the top of their space and starts acting stupid no one knocks them off. You seem oblivious that Sears used to be the retail giant with stores everywhere that couldn't be topped.

As long as Amazon is doing it better then I am all for them expanding.

Re:Great (3, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633197)

"You seem oblivious that Sears used to be the retail giant with stores everywhere that couldn't be topped."

Not to mention Montgomery Ward, who owned the mailorder space before the Internet. They still exist in name, but no one cares.

Re:Great (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633207)

They were also the store that everybody ordered 'online' products from. Back then they called it mail order. They also sold everything. From shoelaces to houses.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40633309)

Nobody took down Sears. Sears didn't web. Web cut Sears down. Being beeg cut Sears down.

Also who cares if they get taken down YEARS later. Your prices go up now. Your unemployment goes up. You worship at one temple, you get what you paid for. Enjoy your masters. Decentralization is the cure.

Amazon depends on small businesses, so this instance it's not so bad.

Re:Great (1)

Black LED (1957016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40632957)

Many of the items sold on Amazon.com are sold by small businesses or individuals. Amazon doesn't set their prices.

Good. (5, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#40632785)

Driving to brick-and-mortar stores is an expensive time-waster. The more online choices I have the better.

Re:Good. (5, Insightful)

quintus_horatius (1119995) | more than 2 years ago | (#40632861)

Oddly enough, more and more online retailers are selling through Amazon. And many businesses, including online retail, are running their infrastructure in clouds, often serviced by (you guessed it) Amazon. If you thought Wal-Mart had a wide grip, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Re:Good. (2)

Angrywhiteshoes (2440876) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633139)

Not sure if you really think it's odd. With Amazon managing your shipping for you, it cuts down a lot of effort. All you need to do is make sure Amazon has enough of your product as they should to be able to sell it. And with Prime, people really can take advantage of that. Free 2-day shipping for a few dollars a year is pretty good.

What I'm saying is, "Why manage all that yourself when you can let someone else push it for you?"

That's not necessarily how I feel though, I like shopping in stores.

Re:Good. (4, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633027)

Indeed. If Amazon can actually pull off same-day delivery with local warehouses close to everyone, I'd say that they deserve the market dominance. Right now the choice between online and retail a question of convenience vs getting your hands on the product faster. If I can have the former without sacrificing the latter, retail should damn well adapt or die.

Re:Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40633047)

Exactly.

Honestly, the only things I buy in real life(tm) these days are food and instant gratification items.

I often regret the latter. EG, a shitty XFX Radeon video card I got from Fry's, that has caused me nothing but pain. Had Amazon had same day delivery, or if I was more patient, I would've had a much better selection of cards to choose from, and thus would've likely picked up a solid MSI or something. :p

Re:Good. (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633159)

Driving to brick-and-mortar stores is an expensive time-waster. The more online choices I have the better.

The only issues which drive me to Amazon for things is availibility and price. As I have to cool my heals for up to a week for delivery and then drive to the PO to pick up the box (don't want them left outside my door while I'm gone, they'll be gone!) I'm still stuck with a drive, usually one I have to bend my schedule around, at that, as the PO isn't open until 9 or on Sundays on weekends. UPS is even worse to deal with.

Re:Good. (2)

kaatochacha (651922) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633229)

Your username is couchslug. This is an entirely appropriate response. If your username was "drivingtoshop", then I'd expect the opposite.

Wally World of the Interwebs (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#40632787)

Still, if brick and mortar specialize then can still do well for themselves. Just give up the bulk order stuff Amazon handles in volume.

Sucks, if they threaten your meal ticket, but this whole trend has been going on since Sears & Roebucks sent out their first catatlog.

Re:Wally World of the Interwebs (4, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633071)

Sucks, if they threaten your meal ticket, but this whole trend has been going on since Sears & Roebucks sent out their first catatlog.

In 1897 and for years after the Sears catalog had a large grocery section --- a much better selection than the small country store could offer and very attractively priced.

No perishable goods like fresh fruits or meats, of course.

On almost every page Sears pushed the notion of buying in bulk or "clubbing" your orders with neighbors to gain the most favorable shipping rates.

Re:Wally World of the Interwebs (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633231)

Sucks, if they threaten your meal ticket, but this whole trend has been going on since Sears & Roebucks sent out their first catatlog.

In 1897 and for years after the Sears catalog had a large grocery section --- a much better selection than the small country store could offer and very attractively priced.

No perishable goods like fresh fruits or meats, of course.

On almost every page Sears pushed the notion of buying in bulk or "clubbing" your orders with neighbors to gain the most favorable shipping rates.

A couple years ago I was mooching around a Nevada silver mine site (Rhyolite, it pretty much wrapped up about 1912) and found the tops to several rusting tins (which made great subjects for photographs) My favorite, I am not making this up, was something from Fred Fear in New York City -- Google tells me it could have been Maple Syrup or Clam Juice -- quite a luxury, possibly delivered 2,500 miles west, courtesy of Sears & Robuck's

There were some other amusing tops, like one for Genuine Hog Fat -- Yum!

be careful what you wish for (5, Insightful)

iveygman (1303733) | more than 2 years ago | (#40632791)

Local retailers (and apparently Walmart, too) were the leading forces in pushing such legislature through in many states. They obviously (and rightfully) fear that Amazon could completely destroy them. This legislation, they thought, would force Amazon to compete with them on an even playing field. Except the playing field was never even to begin with. Even if you force them to abide by the x% sales tax rule, they still completely dominate you in terms of convenience, selection, sheer operations efficiency and economies of scale. Only Walmart could really hold a candle to them. This is going to blow up in the brick-and-mortar retailers' faces and they'll have nobody to blame but themselves for their downfall.

Re:be careful what you wish for (5, Insightful)

twistedcubic (577194) | more than 2 years ago | (#40632833)

Amazon likely would explore this possibility regardless of the sales tax issue. It's not anyone's "fault".

Re:be careful what you wish for (1)

yodleboy (982200) | more than 2 years ago | (#40632999)

Maybe, but the fact that they're now being treated tax-wise the same as a company that has a physical store in the state probably made it more likely to happen. If you have the name, might as well have the game. I don't think the screaming tax hordes realized this might force Amazon's hand.

Re:be careful what you wish for (2)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 2 years ago | (#40632995)

I'm not sure if this works out better for Amazon or not. I think it might just be a case of a company actually adapting to the real world and not just trying to change it. They fought off the tax changes, and made a fortune for while that lasted. Now they probably figured the writing was on the wall, so while they were ahead they probably cut deals to get tax breaks of one kind or another to implement this new strategy. I'll take that any day over lobbying Congress to keep the buggywhip manufacturers around.

I agree on the Walmart bit. Honestly I buy about 99% of everything from 2-3 places now - Amazon, Walmart, and a local mega-grocery chain (though Walmart has introduced food and is now largely replacing that).

For perishable stuff, or stuff where the cost:size/weight ratio does not favor shipment I go to Walmart. For everything else there is Amazon. Amazon is so much cheaper that even paying for expedited shipping is often a break-even at worst, and it saves me the hassle of the store.

I remember when somebody got me a Best Buy gift card for christmas. I think I still have it lying around years later, probably worth nothing. Every time I thought about using it and checked their prices I'd pay more even after using the card than I would online. Same for most other chain stores - unless you're buying really cheap stuff or things that are bulky/heavy/perishable, you can't beat Amazon. And forget cables - even Walmart rips you off on those.

Re:be careful what you wish for (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40633021)

Get a video game. Those are usually the same price online and at best buy.

Re:be careful what you wish for (1)

Ambassador Kosh (18352) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633315)

If you get a PC download game those are usually cheaper than the PC box version and you get it pretty much instantly from amazon or steam. I often run into a game is $60 on xbox, $50 on PC, $30 on download from amazon/steam. Also download sales are insane that you never seen on physical items. The steam summer sale is on right now as is a sale on amazon also for games and the deals are up to 90% off that I have seen so far.

Amazon is forfeiting their unique advantage (2)

pastafazou (648001) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633055)

I don't think so. The added costs of the warehouses everywhere, and the employees to staff them, will add a huge cost increase to their bottom line. They'll also have to carry much more inventory, since they'll have to keep the product in stock at each of these warehouses. This will likely result in more inventory write-downs. This is a move that opens a huge door for other online retailers, allowing them to step into the role Amazon is vacating.

Cant Wait (5, Interesting)

Wingfat (911988) | more than 2 years ago | (#40632813)

I have a prime membership with them. main app on my phone is the Amazon store and code scanner, go into Wal Mart see an item touch and play with it. if i like it then i check how much on Amazon and then buy it, it is then at my home with in 2days (1day on most things). My wife is disabled and can not drive, so Amazon has been a wonderful thing for us and our kid.

Re:Cant Wait (4, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#40632989)

I have a prime membership with them. main app on my phone is the Amazon store and code scanner, go into Wal Mart see an item touch and play with it. if i like it then i check how much on Amazon and then buy it, it is then at my home with in 2days (1day on most things). My wife is disabled and can not drive, so Amazon has been a wonderful thing for us and our kid.

I know lots of people do that, but I think it crosses the ethics boundary. It costs a lot of money to have a physical store and physical product.

There are some things I don't like to buy without seeing them in person (running shoes and TV's to name a couple), if I go to the store to try on running shoes and find ones that I like, I always make a purchase from that store. When it comes time to buy a new pair, I have no qualms about buying them online, but when the store is paying someone to help me find the right shoe, I want to support them for that purchase.

Likewise, if I go to the store to check out a TV, I buy from that store to compensate them for having enough TV's in stock to do a comparison.

But for most other goods, Amazon (with their excellent review structure) is all I need.

I'm usually ok with buying clothes online (though rarely from Amazon), but my wife ends up sending so much stuff back because she doesn't like the fit or the look after she tries it on, she rarely buys online.

Re:Cant Wait (4, Interesting)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633091)

"I know lots of people do that, but I think it crosses the ethics boundary."

I have no ethical obligation to Walmart.

Walmart are wealthy enough to compete with Amazon in the same way, and could even do better by using their local stores (or areas they own but vacated to upsize their stores) as shipping hubs.

Same Day? (1)

Fool106 (977984) | more than 2 years ago | (#40632829)

I don't mind paying the sales tax if I could get same day delivery with Amazon Prime.

Re:Same Day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40632909)

I don't think sales tax is about Same Day. It is mostly about a hidden kickback already covered.
http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/05/21/0247237/amazon-poised-to-get-cut-of-ca-sales-taxes

Amazon is getting like .5% of the sales tax refunded from the cities they build warehouses in. They know they are losing the sales tax fight, so at least taking part of it is their plan. Walmart would love to get an extra .5% of the sales tax refunded to them.

Re:Same Day? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40633155)

Don't know if it would work in the US, but in Europe an Online Pharmacy circumvented online shipping forbidding laws by renaming the shipping.

Instead of 'buying online' you'd use a courier service to go buy it in the other state (with no tax) and bring it back to you.

It was actually the same thing under a different name, just in the small print, just as if the building code forbids you to build stables on your property, you'd write 'chicken pen' over the building plan of the stable you plan to build.
Horses don't care, the pharmacy clients didn't either.

Re:Same Day? (1)

zlives (2009072) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633083)

why would you not use another online vendor that does not charge sales tax...

Re:Same Day? (1)

The Mister Purple (2525152) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633215)

Because that vendor may have a greater shipping delay.

Oh, wait, I mean: Of course I know what a rhetorical question is!

"If that's a bet, I'll take it." (1)

snaildarter (1143695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40632849)

"If that's a bet, I'll take it."

Really? Amazon already gets 5k-10k from me a year. If this pans out, they'll probably get double that. That's real money that is no longer going to other businesses.

Re:"If that's a bet, I'll take it." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40632977)

Yeah, but how long have we heard that Amazon and other various online retailers are going to kill all B&M retailers?

Re:"If that's a bet, I'll take it." (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633007)

When was the last time you shopped at Best Buy? Newegg has them beat in every way for electronics and computers.

Re:"If that's a bet, I'll take it." (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633093)

Saturday, actually.

(I needed a new spinny hard drive and couldn't be arsed to wait the few days. (I wanted to get it installed Sunday before I powered up my PC so I could back up my old spinny drive, and installing hardware during the week sucks cause work.))

Re:"If that's a bet, I'll take it." (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633031)

It's the death from a thousand cuts, and it's still ongoing.

Re:"If that's a bet, I'll take it." (1)

imamac (1083405) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633035)

You heard of Borders, yes? Not 100% Amazon's doing, but it sure contributed.

Amazon will be immune from protection rackets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40632851)

That represents another cost disadvantage that local businesses still face in some neighborhoods.

Jobs (5, Insightful)

Eyezen (548114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40632895)

First manufacturing was destroyed, and the economy is still barely adjusting. Now retail is being threatened. Whats left for 300 million people to do? Interesting times indeed.

Re:Jobs (5, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633069)

>> Whats left for 300 million people to do?

Buy stuff? Online?

Re:Jobs (3, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633075)

There is a difference between manufacturing and this. Manufacturing was not destroyed, because it provides a valuable service for our society without which it cannot function - so it was outsourced (which is bad, but it's a whole different thing). Here, though, we are talking about one business model subsuming the other by virtue of being more convenient and more efficient. It's not fundamentally different from online/downloaded media replacing audio CDs and video DVDs. In the end, you end up paying less for better service - why wouldn't you prefer that?

And note that the warehouses are still in US, and so is the delivery. So to the extent these jobs require working hands, they will be sourced locally. Yes, it'll certainly require fewer hands than traditional retail did, but why should we all be paying for a bunch of people doing useless work? It's a very twisted and flawed way of implementing socialized welfare; we might as well just do the real thing instead.

Re:Jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40633173)

What is going to happen is that those "red states", which are always suckling the federal government's teet and still fighting the "good fight" against taxes locally, they are the ones losing an advantage.

Re:Jobs (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633209)

The problem is that the real thing destabilizes society, the workers resent the non workers ... and the social mores of the non workers deteriorate.

Much better would be a reduced work week, so everyone can get a job ... fat chance though, so destabilization it is.

Re:Jobs (4, Interesting)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633269)

The sooner capitalism gets destabilized due to increases of productivity resulting in a lack of work to go around for people to earn a living, the quicker we will start investigating and experimenting with how to build a post-scarcity economy. Progress does not apply to technology alone, it works on society as well.

Re:Jobs (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633325)

The problem is that the real thing destabilizes society, the workers resent the non workers ... and the social mores of the non workers deteriorate.

Much better would be a reduced work week, so everyone can get a job ... fat chance though, so destabilization it is.

The issue is not that there is less work to do. The issue is that there is labor freed up (by force?) to do something different or bigger. We don't do low-end manufacturing, but we automate. Manual steps (like piecing together an engine) are done by hand by skilled people but doors are welded by machines (which are maintained by people). More is done by less, but the people need to be more skilled. We've been through this before (Industrial Revolution for example) where farming efficiency allowed for more factory workers.

Re:Jobs (5, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633321)

First manufacturing was destroyed, and the economy is still barely adjusting.

Manufacturing was not destroyed. We (USA) manufacture as much as we ever did. It is just that manufacturing is much more automated today, so manufacturing employment is down.

Whats left for 300 million people to do?

They could spend their time reading about economic fallacies. [wikipedia.org] Prosperity and economic growth come from more efficient production of goods and services. Not from "keeping people busy."

Interesting times indeed.

Seems more like a slightly interesting continuation of a process that started with the invention of agriculture (destroying hunter-gather jobs).

Re:Jobs (5, Interesting)

Proudrooster (580120) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633333)

America is still the #1 manufacturer of all globally produced goods. We manufacture 60% of all globally produced goods and China/Japan account for the majority of the balance. The difference is that the scale of manufacturing has shrunk from 10,000 person factories to small shops that employ under 50 people. The real issue I see is training. If you open the want ads you will see many, many worker wanted ads for machinists, CNC operators, lathe operators, CAD detailers etc .... The problem is that the small shops don't have training facilities or do apprenticeship programs or journeyman programs anymore.

While the US doesn't do large scale industrial widget manufacturing anymore, we still do lot's of manufacturing for the military, oil/gas industries, medical industry, auto and aerospace industry. Many companies are now pulling out of China as the cost benefit is vanishing as the Yuan has been allowed to float. These companies are creating automated assembly lines and pulling as much labor out as possible to produce goods here that are higher quality and at the same cost (or lower) as manufacturing in China. Additionally, companies are finding they can have much more agile supply chains and can cut lead times tremendously.

My advice to the 300 million people is find something that you like to do and get good at it. Competency is a rare commodity these days. And if you can't find something you love to do, then find a field and specialize in something that can't be outsourced, examples: pipe-fitter, welder, electrician, plumber, amazon warehouse picker robot repairer, physical therapist... and the list goes on.

Let me give you a brief list of the items in my home (purchased in the last 2-years that are Made in USA) * Garage Doors * Garbage Disposal (InSinkerator) * Entry Doors * Lumber to Construct Split Rail Fence * Roofing Shingles * Insulation (for Walls) * Drywall * Craftsman Tools (with lifetime breakage guarantee) * Spatula (for cooking, yes I found one made in USA) * Ford Mercury Mariner * Step2 - Playground Equipment * Open Sprinker Valve Controller * Paint * Various adhesive products * Worktables * Furniture * Mattresses * Toothpaste/Shampoo/Deodorant/BandAids and the list goes on and on. While the USA is not producing electronics (which is really stupid for national security reasons) we still produce lots and lots of stuff.

That guy is an idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40632939)

The real reason amazon is ok with collecting sales taxes now, is that they are getting a percentage of the tax collected.

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/may/19/business/la-fi-amazon-sales-taxes-20120520

great for the anti-social (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40632943)

bad for teens/20s. most of the jobs available are low paying service jobs working retail. take those away and...

Wal-Mart Competition? (5, Insightful)

Necron69 (35644) | more than 2 years ago | (#40632987)

If there is a king of efficiency and lost cost in distribution and retail sales, it is Wal-Mart. You don't think they are just going to sit there and do nothing while Amazon moves in, do you?

Necron69

Re:Wal-Mart Competition? (1, Interesting)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633063)

yep, they could always force the cart pushers at the local wal-mart to do same day delivery in their 20 year old ford escort hatchbacks.

At least the ones who are not wards of the state and farmed out as slave labor by the local catholic state funded school for boys too retarded to serve their prison sentences. That is real BTW. The "school" is Mississippi.

Re:Wal-Mart Competition? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40633205)

Amazon and Dell both long ago shared much of the same inventory processes that WalMart uses. There was a lot of informal talk among them to maximize inventory turnover. Many of the people involved moved from WalMart to Dell to Amazon and back. WalMart sued but the damage was done.

Doesn't make any sense to me (3, Interesting)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633015)

Wouldn't Amazon have to maintain a gigantic inventory across all these so-called "same day delivery warehouses" in order to make it work? Wouldn't that cost huge amounts of cash? More to the point, wouldn't there be a huge tax liability from all that inventory?

Re:Doesn't make any sense to me (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633157)

IF they can pull off "efficient rapid replenishment", no, but it would be expensive.

Re:Doesn't make any sense to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40633175)

Assume competance.

Amazon already know how much of what they ship to each state, so unlike a brick and vendor motor reseller setting up nation wide they have near zero risk from having their bottom line eaten by overstocking.

And if they understock, just ship from one of the mega centres instead and take an extra day.

Re:Doesn't make any sense to me (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633201)

Well they already need a huge inventory, it s not like they order from the manufacturers single items every time you click purchase online.

This just means more smaller warehouses. Spread all around.

Re:Doesn't make any sense to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40633227)

Part of avoiding the huge inventory is to have good it systems to predict demand, the sort of thing that giants like amazon and Walmart are good at. As for tax liability on the inventory, why would you pay taxes on inventory?

Re:Doesn't make any sense to me (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633233)

We'll see how it works. I imagine it's an 80-20 situation and that that the most popular items will be available from smaller warehouses, but the more obscure items may have to ship cross-country and will take longer.

Re:Doesn't make any sense to me (3, Funny)

The Mister Purple (2525152) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633241)

Amazon may be addressing that using some of that newfangled "data mining" that all the young kids who won't stay off my lawn are talking about these days.

I suspected as much (1)

mrsam (12205) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633037)

I'm in one of the states where Amazon recently announced they agreed to collect sales tax. Starting in about a year and a half.

At first, I couldn't figure out why they agreed. Although, I understand, there were discussions going on between Amazon and the state government, from what I could see it was nowhere near the level of contention that I've read about in other states, where lawsuits were flying back and forth.

But I figured that there had to be a business reason that Amazon thought worked in their favor, for them to agree so readily to this. After thinking about the various possibilities, that's pretty much what I thought was going on. I have a huge Newegg warehouse a mile from here, this area is convenient to all the major highways, and there are many other warehouses here. I figure that Amazon was planning to open a warehouse here, so they figured that they'll have to do it anyway, but now they bargained at least a year's worth of tax-free sales.

Then, a week ago, on a Thursday, I ordered some junk from Amazon. Super-saver shipping. Previously, it took them 4-5 days to ship, from somewhere out on the Left Coast. This time, the stuff arrived the following Monday. The tracking info on the package started somewhere in Joisey. Go figure.

I wouldn't be surprised if, in a year, they'll figure out a way around the sales tax anyway...

Best Buy's "Internet showroom" claim (2)

BorgAssimilator (1167391) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633049)

The concept of having people go to their local Best Buy to "try" out a product, then going home and ordering it online, only to receive it from a local warehouse is kindof humorous.

barnes and noble already has this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40633061)

and the only people they put out of business was themselves.

How many people shop at Amazon BECAUSE no tax? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40633065)

How many people shop at Amazon BECAUSE there is no tax? I would wager a huge portion of them from what I can tell reading online forums.

Without the tax break Amazon is going to be in a worse position than they are now. I don't know how much of an effect it will have but it will be something and they may be underestimating it.

I think Amazon is alright some times but they're not perfect. Just recently I ordered some car parts and the parts they sent were some off-brand made in China crap instead of the name brand high quality parts that I paid for. Apparently they think any substitute part is OK since it's for a car when in reality it's like sending an ATI video card when I ordered nVidia. Then I get charged to send it back because although they are suppose to reimburse shipping when they screw up, their estimate for shipping it back to them is way lower than any way you as a individual can ship something.

Re:How many people shop at Amazon BECAUSE no tax? (2)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633297)

How many people shop at Amazon BECAUSE there is no tax?

I can tell you that I have shopped there for years because they have a good selection, good enough prices, fast shipping and good customer service. I do almost all of my online shopping with Amazon, which makes it easy to calculate the use tax I've been tacking on to my state filings since the late 90s, since that has always been a legal requirement in the states that I have lived in.

I think Amazon is alright some times but they're not perfect. Just recently I ordered some car parts and the parts they sent were some off-brand made in China crap instead of the name brand high quality parts that I paid for.

My one beef with Amazon is that you have to be careful about who is actually selling and fulfilling the orders. If it isn't Amazon itself, I usually steer clear.

Why a lot will go under (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633077)

Most retailers are already hurting. A 10% drop in sales can kill them. They could easily see that in major cities. It would be an amusing turn if they killed off most of the Walmarts since they killed most of the mom and pop stores. The problem is it hurts employment across the board. Stores go under which is obvious but the lesser known affect is by shopping on line you don't have as much impulse buying so all the companies making those products will go under. Walmart already did that one. If a company couldn't get on the shelves in a Walmart there's a good chance they'd go under. Instead of a dozen or more shelves they could potentially get on they had one shot at it. Amazon does have a massive selection so the potential is huge for major cities.

Re:Why a lot will go under (2)

Shados (741919) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633137)

Its not all lost though. Its definitely a net negative (I would assume), but a LOT of retailers only exist because of online now. I work for an online-only retailer, and while we do have our own website that accounts for 95%++ of our sales, we do sell products on the amazon market and that does increase our sales quite a bit. A lot of small time shops sell ONLY on the amazon marketplace.

And there needs to be people to ship those things (Fedex and UPS aren't complaining about the increase in online shopping, thats for sure), staff those warehouses... And Amazon itself is expanding a fair bit. They just opened an engineer office in Cambridge, MA, just this year, and the average salary of a developer there is quite high.

So a lot of places closes, but a few new businesses popup to take their places. Not nearly enough, for sure, but its not a TOTAL loss.

Get back to work producing (5, Insightful)

pubwvj (1045960) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633189)

Perhaps what we need is for people to get back in the business of producing. Our family business maximizes vertical integration and just-in-time manufacturing to make it so we control our process, product and profits. We do work with retailers and they take about a 50% cut. To make it we have to make sure that we keep as much as possible of that other 50%. Unlike many businesses, our family actually does the work. We farm. We turn sunlight into food.

Re:Get back to work producing (3, Funny)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633323)

Perhaps what we need is for people to get back in the business of producing.

Agree.

Unlike many businesses, our family actually does the work. We farm. We turn sunlight into food.

Most businesses just take the sunlight itself and blow it you-know-where.

Sad (2, Insightful)

Experiment 626 (698257) | more than 2 years ago | (#40633327)

So as a result of Amazon caving to my state on the tax thing, I pay 8% more for my purchases, but might eventually get them a day faster. Not being the impatient and impulsive sort, I liked the old system a lot better.

This could however make other online retailers a lot more attractive. If I want to buy, say, an iPad, the cost is the same from any merchant thanks to price-fixing. So I could buy it locally for instant gratification, or online to save the tax. Before Amazon was my go-to for online purchases, being the fastest of the tax-free options. Now, however, I would go to a competitor with no physical presence in the state in order to save good money for waiting a couple extra days.

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