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Ask Slashdot: Will You Shop Local Like President Obama, Or Online?

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the i-buy-local-businesses-off-amazon dept.

Businesses 430

theodp writes "President Obama and his daughters headed to an indie bookstore last Saturday to promote shopping local. The White House did not disclose which books were bought, but author Lauren Oliver tweeted her delight after a White House photo showed her books Delirium and Pandemonium were among the 15 children's books purchased by the Obama family for Christmas gift-giving. While it made for a nice Small Business Saturday photo op, do you suppose the President paid much more for the books at the small indie bookshop than he might have at an online retailer like Amazon, where the hardcopy edition of Pandemonium is $10.15 (44% off the $17.99 list price) and the hardcopy edition of Delirium can be had for $10.47 (42% off the $17.99 list price)? Kindle Editions of the books are also available for $7.99. And with both titles eligible for free Amazon Prime shipping, the President could've saved on gasoline and Secret Service costs, too! So, will you be following the President's lead and shop local this holiday season, or is the siren song of online shopping convenience and savings too hard to resist?"

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Like Obama? (5, Funny)

hawks5999 (588198) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114235)

No. I'll use my own money. Oh wait. He'll use my money too.

Re:Like Obama? (4, Informative)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114267)

Stuff like gifts and whatnot, is out of pocket for the President (unless it's for diplomatic purposes). So is food.

While my cousin who is a lawyer gets food delivered at work on the company dime, the Presidential family has to pay for their own.

Your post is a troll and stupid.

--
BMO

Re:Like Obama? (4, Informative)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114309)

Well, his salary is paid out of your taxes...

Re:Like Obama? (4, Insightful)

BradleyUffner (103496) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114325)

Well, his salary is paid out of your taxes...

And my salary is paid out of profits from the company I work for that came from other people buying things from them. That doesn't make it their money.

Re:Like Obama? (5, Insightful)

hawks5999 (588198) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114349)

I'm betting your company doesn't send people to jail for not spending their money there.

Re:Like Obama? (5, Funny)

patch5 (1990504) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114365)

I'm betting your company doesn't send people to jail for not spending their money there.

Unless he works for the entertainment industry . . .

Re:Like Obama? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114383)

....yet!

Re:Like Obama? (2)

KeensMustard (655606) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114399)

Are companies in the habit of handing out products and services for free?

If you take that companies products and don't pay for them, or consume that companies service and don't pay for them, then I guarantee you will either go to jail or pay remuneration in another form. Don't kid yourself.

Re:Like Obama? (-1, Flamebait)

hawks5999 (588198) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114441)

I don't take services from the government. In a case where I may incidentally have a service provided by government it is because they have outlawed competition and/or force me to use the "service." Non-government companies enter into voluntary transactions with their customers. If I voluntarily choose to transact, of course I should pay. There's a fundamental difference.

Re:Like Obama? (5, Informative)

snarkh (118018) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114535)

> I don't take services from the government.

You don't use roads. That's impressive!

Re:Like Obama? (1, Flamebait)

mozumder (178398) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114555)

No one outlawed any other network protocols. So, why are you still using TCP/IP for communications?

Can't your precious private corporations develop other protocols besides having to rely on government developed TCP/IP?

Also, did you thank government for making sure the air you breath is clean, the water you drink is safe, and everything else you take from government?

The worst people in this world are those that take things without thanking. You should become a better person and learn to thank government for the life you live. Without government babysitting you, because we socialists force government to babysit you, your life would be much worse.

You don't want to live like a Somalian, do you?

Ultimately you have to destroy your ego, which I'm happy to help you with. You have too much self esteem, which we socialists are exceedingly efficient at cutting down. But it's good, since socialism will make you stronger, since groups are stronger than individuals.

You're welcome.

(Libertarians never think their cunning plan all the way through..)

Re:Like Obama? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114565)

So you've never needed the police, fire department or EMS? And what private roads do you drive on that get you everywhere you need to go? Didn't go to a public school, or even go to a park? Impressive.

Re:Like Obama? (5, Insightful)

SecurityTheatre (2427858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114591)

You don't use roads, you drink from a stream, grow your own food using your own shit for fertilizer (because clearly you don't have a waste processing facility on your property). You generate your own electricity from that stream on your property, too, I guess, since most electrical grids were initially built by the government.

I presume you don't mind Iraqi bombs landing on your house, while Chinese steal the IP that keeps your company going where you collect... you know.. money, whos value is protected and guaranteed by the government (regardless of your view on fiat currency, this is fact). Presumably, you expect to be taken care of if you get sick and your company goes out of business, or you are too old to work? I guess there isn't much to worry about when you get old though, because you'll die of scarlet fever or dysentery or polio or malaria or....

You know what, nevermind....

If you want to see what it's like without government, go visit in Mogadishu or South Sudan.

Enjoy.

Re:Like Obama? (5, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114347)

In that case, the OP is using his boss's money for his shopping. Or is it the money of the people who buy from his boss's business? Or does the money belong to the bosses of the people who buy from the OP's boss's business?

Hmm, this is getting confusing. Can we please just agree that people, even public servants, own the money paid to them, until they pay it to someone else?

Re:Like Obama? (0, Troll)

hawks5999 (588198) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114357)

Except that the money to pay for those public "servants" is first taken under the threat of violence and imprisonment from people. My company doesn't send people to jail for not spending their money with us.

Re:Like Obama? (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114371)

Then what would you have?

No government at all?

Point out a country that has no government or ineffective government or that doesn't pay its workers enough that is not a hellhole.

Go ahead. Fine one. I'll wait right here.

And your last sentence is a non-sequitur and nonsense.

--
BMO

Re:Like Obama? (0)

hawks5999 (588198) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114401)

Yes, no government at all. How about you point to a government anywhere in the world that doesn't operated based on a first principle of stealing from the inhabitants of a given geography.

Re:Like Obama? (2)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114417)

You know what?

I'll just let you talk. Tell everyone here exactly what you think.

Expound on this "stealing" thing that you think is going on.

--
BMO

Re:Like Obama? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114421)

Somalia. And if you're interested in emigrating, I'll happily buy you a one-way ticket.

Re:Like Obama? (1)

hawks5999 (588198) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114451)

Somalia is not libertarian or anarchistic. It is recovering from a civil war brought on by 30 years of dictatorship.

Re:Like Obama? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114459)

Childish rationalizations for why your idiotic fantasies fall flat in the real world.

Re:Like Obama? (5, Insightful)

SecurityTheatre (2427858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114617)

Dictatorship is WHAT HAPPENS when people are simply left alone without rules.

If there is no police and no civic authority, the man who is willing to buy the most guns tells everyone else what to do.

This is NOT GOOD. It has happened HUNDREDS of times throughout human history. It ALMOST ALWAYS turns out bad, with a few VERY unique exceptions (perhaps early Roman Emperors, for example).

Human nature is not such that you can just eliminate government. Because some faction of the population loves power and will take it with force. So we implement a system where we vote.

I don't live in the US, but the US voted, and they chose Obama, I guess. He got 53% of the vote in the US. In mock elections throughout the rest of the world, he got closer to 90%.

Some substantial fraction of the people in the world think this is the right approach.

Re:Like Obama? (1, Interesting)

mozumder (178398) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114643)

LOL Yah, don't EVER have any more ideas Einstein. You are not allowed to think anymore. You're just not smart enough to have ideas. Sorry.

Just stop being yourself, and follow what everyone else does. OK?

Here's something I wrote in another thread that'll help get rid of your Libertarian dumbassery:
---
Government is the reason you are alive.

If it weren't for government, a polluter would have no reason to not poison your air or water supply for his profit (power).

And because they are profitable (powerful), they have the power over you to force themselves about it.

So, your government steps in and makes sure you are safe and sound, by limiting other people's powers.

Did you thank government for your protection? You should.

Taxes are the protection money we (society) force you to pay to allow you to live with us. You do not get to live in our land for free. That is because every human is territorial, and we are the rulers of the land. It doesn't matter what YOU "believe" in. What matters is whatever WE do, since the decision on taxes is not yours to make, as only those with power can make decisions, and libertarians are the weakest in society. If you don't like it, feel free to move to another country. It is why we don't charge taxes for citizens of other countries, because we (government) don't own other sovereign states. But if we did, we'd charge them protection money (taxes), because we want the benefits of wholesale purchases that governments can do but individuals cannot.

Additionally, libertarians just aren't very smart socially. This is actually their biggest flaw - their disbelief in social groups. All humans seek to gain power, including you. It is why you're here on this board promoting your views. And they form power through social groups, from families to governments. But, you actually have to curry favor to other members of society in order to form groups. A normal person offers favors to others in order to receive favors back, to grow their group of power. Libertarians assume that everyone will be nice to them and offer them services without offering people favors. Sorry, but human psychology doesn't work this way. No one owes you anything, including your human rights. You do have to be actively protect yourself, which means you have to curry favors with others, through groups (governments) in order to just exist. This isn't just a theory, it is how political science works. Groups are always stronger than individuals. Generals follow this rule in war. Sales people use the same social group theory to grow their power. Girls find guys that are more powerful to marry. And so on.

Meanwhile, the correct answer, and the answer that all of society is actually based on, is socialism. The world revolves around groups, not individuals. The statement that no man is his own island is always true. And if there single-people islands, larger groups would come in and take it over or test atom bombs on them or whatever the fuck they want to do with it. You are therefore dependent on others (government) for your own basic survival. Libertarians just don't know that yet. They're obviously not supercomputers that can model all of society in their head.

Basically Libertarians are people that just didn't think their cunning plan all the way through.

I totally get where you're coming from, but every time I talk to libertarians about their mistaken worldview they simply get mad because I don't make the same mistaken assumptions they make. No libertarian has ever walked their cunning plan all the way through to me. Ever.

Also libertarians are always the spoiled brats that do not appreciate the benefits of government. And every psychological profile of a libertarian show them to be spoiled brats.

They love themselves too much.

So, yeah, don't be libertarian. And don't have "beliefs". Ever.

Re:Like Obama? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114467)

Yes, no government at all.

How about you point to a government anywhere in the world that doesn't operated based on a first principle of stealing from the inhabitants of a given geography.

Stealing implies ownership of property. Ownership of property is based on your ability to fight me off when I come to take it, or my ability to kill you and take your shit. Governments are simply a proxy mechanism which helps to reduce the beating and killing to a minimum.
Or put another way, if nobody wanted a government, then there simply wouldn't be one. That wouldn't change the fact that I'd still take your shit, but instead of me sitting in jail your bloated corpse would be rotting in the sun.

Re:Like Obama? (1)

hawks5999 (588198) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114521)

ÎoeÎYÎΩΠÎÎ'Î'Î

Re:Like Obama? (1)

gomiam (587421) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114437)

Because they can't. If they could, do you really have such a high opinion of them to think that they wouldn't?

It doesn't really matter. Think what you will, taxes are needed. We may discuss the amount, but not the fact.

Re:Like Obama? (1)

hawks5999 (588198) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114469)

If they could, they would be government. The only organization with the power to imprison you for not spending your money on their "services" is government. No other group of people has this power.

Re:Like Obama? (4, Insightful)

SecurityTheatre (2427858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114629)

And if you "eliminate" government, somebody else, with guns, will take power and demand your money.

If you're lucky, it's another George Washington.

If you're not, it's another Stalin.

Feel like rolling the dice?

Re:Like Obama? (1)

Dodgy G33za (1669772) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114689)

Oh, you Americans.... *shakes head slowly in despair*

Use a fucking adverb (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114315)

Shop LOCALLY, FFS. Was that so hard?

Re:Like Obama? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114299)

Love how on the internet everyone is John fucking Galt, no matter how dependent they are on the government. All yelling "hands off my medicare, Obama".

Re:Like Obama? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114531)

PROTIP: Nobody but you mentally ill lunatics gives a flying fuck about your fake "president" distraction puppet. It's only you incredibly stupid fucktards who continue, despite brutal blatant evidence of the contrary, that he has any relevance whatsoever, other than to serve as muppet to dangle in front of your empty stares like a carrot to blame/love for everything, like he's fuckin' Jesusatan.

I shit in your general direction! Your mother was a churchgoer and your father smelt of gullibleness! You are unhuman.

Re:Like Obama? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114637)

I'll take credit for shopping locally even before Obama became US president.

I only shop online if and only if the item is not available at any other local store within something like a 60 mile one-way trip. Otherwise, I'll always buy an item in an actual store.

Why? Well, shopping online has showed me time and time again I can't just buy and item. No, first I have to register for an account. Then, they want to store my credit card information (including full card number and CVV). Plus there are added shipping costs. Then the additional delay from the time the order has been placed to the time it is actually shipped and received. Then there is the subsequent e-mail spam to review the seller or buy something else. Then there is the long-term risk that the online vendor may be hacked and full account information including stored credit card information may be obtained by the hacker.

Normal stores, I go to the store, I pay cash or use a credit or debit card, I got item(s) I just paid for without having to wait for shipping, and that shopping is done. All I paid for was sales tax on the item, no added shipping costs. The time spent and amount of gas spent is nominal. If I use public transit--for example during peak shopping times where there may be lots of traffic--then I don't even use the gas since the transit district is using the gas of their vehicles.

Therefore, traditional in-store shopping always trumps online shopping in cases where the same item available online is also available in the store.

Re:Like Obama? (4, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114681)

Out of all of the three times (I think... maybe four) that my credit card number has been stolen in the past few years, thus far it has always been stolen at a local merchant. Your credit card number is much safer on Amazon's servers than on a piece of plastic handled by a minimum-wage employee at a local store or restaurant, statistically speaking.

Also, once you have an account with a store, you never have to create a new one. I usually order stuff from the same three or four stores all the time, because they usually have the best prices on the things that I buy. That's really not a huge inconvenience. And you can opt out of email from those companies.

Slashvertising? (4, Insightful)

deweyhewson (1323623) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114253)

Is this supposed to be a news story, or an excuse to get an Amazon advertisement on Slashdot? That summary only needed a © Amazon PR Department notice at the end.

But I'll bite anyway and offer this perspective: people generally know you can find better deals online; that's not a marvel concept. B&M stores simply can't compete with low overhead online warehouses dollar to dollar. But lower prices are not why people shop local. They shop local because of in-person browsing, personalized services, and loyalty to their community, probably in that order.

Avoiding Amazon (2)

Weezul (52464) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114423)

Amazon is fairly ubiquitous now, ditto Walmart, etc. Imho, one should avoid all these companies for numerous reasons. But how?

Enter the numerous Chinese online retailers. End consumers cannot shop at alibaba.com, but anyone can buy those large minimum orders and resell on ebay. One should therefore always search ebay when shopping.

In many product type, there are large scale specialized online retailers that ship direct from China, like dx.com. Now dx.com's prices aren't necessarily better than amazon's across the board, but they commonly obliterate more U.S. resellers when you find your way into some niche products, like electronics components. I always check prices there now as well. Yes, merchandise shipped from China takes bloody ages to arrive, plan ahead man.

Re:Avoiding Amazon (3)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114473)

Enter the numerous Chinese online retailers. End consumers cannot shop at alibaba.com, but anyone can buy those large minimum orders and resell on ebay.

Alibaba is not a shopping site. It's a business to business trade site, that's very different. You don't place orders over Alibaba, you search for suitable suppliers there, then contact them directly, and negotiate a deal with them. After the first contact, Alibaba is usually out of the equation. They make their money with listing fees, not by sales commission like ebay does.

If you are looking for a Chinese alternative to ebay, try taobao [taobao.com] . You will have to be able to read Chinese of course, but that's where the Chinese go for online shopping, and where Chinese individual retailers put their goods up for sale.

Re:Avoiding Amazon (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114581)

not alibaba, you mean aliexpress (or dino direct, or any of 100 Chinese companies that takes USD and ships world-wide).

Re:Slashvertising? (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114455)

They shop local because of in-person browsing, personalized services, and loyalty to their community, probably in that order.

Now that online retail is charging local sales tax, the loyalty argument isn't as pronounced. If nothing else it levels the playing field for competitive pricing with IRL stores.

Re:Slashvertising? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114493)

Actually, IMO, you're off by a mile.

First, if you can find significantly better deals online, then the store is overpriced, period. You have a choice when you run a store: sell cheap and make it up in volume, or sell expensive and lose the sale. When I buy DVDs and Blu-Rays at Fry's, they're usually very close to or cheaper than the Amazon price, because the Amazon price builds in a margin to accommodate the free shipping, whereas Fry's doesn't have to absorb that fairly significant cost. And they'll price match Amazon if you're willing to spend the time. If Fry's can do that, so can any store of any reasonable size. It's not like Fry's is a huge chain. (They have 34 stores, by my count, which is way too small to get the sort of bulk buying deals that places like Wal-Mart get.)

Second, when I shop locally, it usually isn't because of in-person browsing except insofar as that browsing lets me walk out with something in my hands immediately. If I can wait a few days, there's no advantage, so this is only important for somewhat urgent or time-critical needs (e.g. I'm bored and want a movie to watch tonight, I'm working on a project and need parts for it immediately, etc.).

It also isn't because of personalized services. Most local stores have customer service that ranks lower than Amazon in my book, frankly. And they can't hope to compete with Amazon's personalization—lists of movies that I would probably like based on large quantities of data mining.

Loyalty to the community doesn't even come into play. If there are no businesses selling a particular product in my community, for the most part, the only real disadvantage to me is that it will take a couple of extra days to get things. That's not a good enough reason to prop up a store that is underperforming. Besides, most of my shopping doesn't actually happen in my immediate community anyway. During the week, I typically make a beeline from home to work and back, and I mostly shop at stores that fall along that line, plus or minus, only half of which is in my community. Half the weekend, I'm in other cities, and I'm at least as likely to shop there as in my own community. As long as I can get food in my community, that's all I really require of it. Everything else is convenient if it is there, but is entirely optional.

No, when I shop locally, it is invariably because I'm going that way anyway. Want to make me a hundred times more likely to shop in your store? Sell good food, and by that, I don't just mean pastries and crap. I have to eat. If I can grab supper at your store on my way home, I'm much more likely to shop there than at other stores where I can't. I would say that availability of sandwiches and hot foods is the #1 consideration in terms of shopping locally.

The second consideration is whether you're selling something that I need with some immediacy and/or can't readily order online (e.g. frozen foods).

The third consideration is whether I'm already at your store for something else that falls into one of the above categories.

The fourth and final consideration is whether I need more information than I can actually get online without being able to physically examine the product. This one is rare, however, and is mostly limited to furniture and products for which I need very precise physical measurements like clothing or, occasionally, capacitors.

In short, if you want me to shop at your store, sell me supper, sell movies at a price that competes with Amazon, sell random household items that are cheap enough that it wouldn't make sense to buy enough of them to get free shipping, or sell groceries. In other words, be Fry's, Wal-Mart, or Target. Those are pretty much the only three stores that I regularly shop in locally. Notice that all of these stores sell me supper, sell movies at competitive prices (except for Target), sell random household items at reasonably cheap prices, and (except for Fry's) sell groceries.

Or sell gasoline and locate yourself on one of my regular driving routes. However, that only goes so far unless you're also selling something else I need at a reasonable price.

Re:Slashvertising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114497)

But lower prices are not why people shop local. They shop local because of in-person browsing, personalized services, and loyalty to their community, probably in that order.

Yep. I love the poor service, the lack of selection, and the broken floor models that only our local brick and mortar store can provide!

The only, and I do mean ONLY, thing that local stores have going for them is that you get what you bought immediately. If you need something right this second and can't wait a day or two for shipping, sure, buy local.

But you're joking if you're suggesting that there's any reason beyond that not to just buy the same thing for less online.

Thanks Prez! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114261)

President Obama loves small businesses so much that he's driving them bankrupt with expensive mandatory health insurance regulations.

Re:Thanks Prez! (4, Insightful)

jimpop (27817) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114289)

...like mandatory auto insurance regulations of the 80s....

Re:Thanks Prez! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114361)

If a small shopkeeper gets hurt and he has no insurance, then he's bankrupt for sure (or he receives no healthcare, which seems a bit of a weird idea).
If his business is so fragile that a bloody health insurance will bankrupt the company, the he should go bankrupt anyway. How much is a health insurance? 100 euro/month or something?

If it is any more than that, the problem is not with Obama, but with (1) your ridiculously expensive and inefficient healthcare, and (2) the insurance companies.

Re:Thanks Prez! (1)

Dasuraga (1147871) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114405)

health insurance is a lot more expensive than 100 euros/month. Dunno exact prices but I think thousands might be more correct (for family plans at least).

Re:Thanks Prez! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114503)

President Obama loves small businesses so much that he's driving them bankrupt with expensive mandatory health insurance regulations.

Funny how this is suddenly all Obama's fault. Last time I checked that law passed both the House and the Senate before he was allowed to sign it into law. And don't give me that shit about a Democrat majority, the GOP could have filibustered it into the dirt and they did not.
And fuck off when it comes to the budget, the Constitution flat out says it's up to Congress to figure that out, so I don't understand why you mental midgets keep calling it "Obama's Budget" or "Bush's Budget".

And for the record, if you'd bothered to pay ANY attention you'd know that Romney's version was the same exact fucking thing that Obama supported- mandatory insurance. So fuck you and whatever TV show pumps you information up your ass.

Re:Thanks Prez! (5, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114633)

President Obama loves small businesses so much that he's driving them bankrupt with expensive mandatory health insurance regulations.

Umm... ACA doesn't kick in until you have at least 50 employees. To put that in perspective, assuming your store is open 16 hours per day, multiply the number of employees you want in the store at any given moment by 2.8 to compute the number of full-time-equivalent employees. So even a fairly large restaurant with ten or twelve people in it at any given moment still falls well below the 50-employee threshold where the ACA kicks in. A typical bookstore chain falls below the threshold until it has five or six locations....

No, fifty full-time-equivalent employees is just short of a Wal-Mart-sized store. If you're that big, you are not a small business. Period. You're a medium-sized business. You're bringing in at least three-quarters of a million dollars in profit annually just to cover the employee salaries alone, assuming you pay everyone minimum wage, not counting your contributions to FICA, location rent, business insurance, etc. A bookstore making a million bucks a year would have to sell five or six hundred books per day at typical markups to cover those sorts of costs. That's simply not a small business, and anyone who claims that the ACA is going to cause small businesses to go bankrupt is either ill-informed or deliberately distorting reality to promote an agenda.

Humans are poorly suited to sell things (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114263)

Tried shopping local this past week. Fuck that noise. Lied to twice about the physical specifications of my TV. Humans are poorly suited to sell things.

Stupid leading questions (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114269)

do you suppose the President paid much more for the books at the small indie bookshop than he might have at an online retailer like Amazon

I don't know. Do you? Because if he did, and you could tell us that, you might actually have a point to make. For all we know he might have paid a lot less.

Money-centric framing (3, Insightful)

Kwyj1b0 (2757125) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114279)

The way the summary was written, the question can be condensed to: "Will you spend more money at a local retailer, or less money and buy online"?

I'm all for supporting local retailers when they provide a valuable service - I visit my local library/store where I can chat to a librarian/store-clerk and get valuable feedback/information. But the article doesn't raise any of these issues. Instead, it focuses on the downsides of brick-and-mortar shopping, without raising any of the positives.

"Follow the president's lead"? (3, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114295)

Fuck that. I'll buy from the vendors offering the products I want at prices I agree to. This "buy local" horseshit is nothing but guilt-tripping. Customers aren't property, and if local retailers can't compete, then they shouldn't be in business.

-jcr

Re:"Follow the president's lead"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114385)

Exactly. All trade is local.

What do people think Amazon and Walmart do with their money?

Re:"Follow the president's lead"? (5, Insightful)

Shimbo (100005) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114513)

Exactly. All trade is local.

What do people think Amazon and Walmart do with their money?

Channel it though a string of offshore tax havens and shell companies to avoid paying tax?

Re:"Follow the president's lead"? (4, Interesting)

hardtofindanick (1105361) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114389)

I like to have local retailers around, so I don't mind paying the $7 extra as long as I can afford it. Never felt like property either.

Re:"Follow the president's lead"? (4, Insightful)

_Ludwig (86077) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114487)

Enjoy living in your desolate factory suburb then.

Believe it or not, to some of us, concepts like “community” are more than boxes to check off in Hipster Buzzword Bingo, they mean something identifiable and concrete. I want to live among businesses run by people I know, people who are accountable to the sensibilities of their particular customers, people who interact with the neighborhood they do business in beyond dreary gray spreadsheet transactions. I want to know where my stuff comes from and how it’s produced, and all of that’s worth a few extra bucks to me.

“Buy local” isn’t about guilt-tripping you into buying from a less-efficient-than-Amazon retailer, it’s about fostering values other than “the cheaper the better no matter what the external costs to society.”

Re:"Follow the president's lead"? (1)

afgam28 (48611) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114613)

Amazon's efficiency means more than just cheaper books. It also means a wider selection of books, and this is what is more important to me.

If all the bookstores in the world were small local bookstores, then all they'd sell is the same small selection of shitty Twilight fan fiction and Dan Brown paperbacks. Ever try to buy a good, up-to-date programming book at a local bookstore?

Re:"Follow the president's lead"? (1)

adolf (21054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114639)

I want to live among businesses run by people I know

So do I. Unfortunately, nobody I know sells stuff that I want.

people who are accountable to the sensibilities of their particular customers

This word, "accountable." I do not understand how it applies to a transaction involving an exchange of money for goods in any way that is different when buying local vs. abroad.

people who interact with the neighborhood they do business in beyond dreary gray spreadsheet transactions.

How does a retailer's interaction with their neighborhood have any bearing on my experience as a consumer who just wants to buy stuff?

I want to know where my stuff comes from and how itâ(TM)s produced, and all of thatâ(TM)s worth a few extra bucks to me.

Other than shopping at a farmer's market, or buying furniture from a local carpenter, or otherwise buying locally-produced goods: How does "buying local" improve this?

âoeBuy localâ isnâ(TM)t about guilt-tripping you into buying from a less-efficient-than-Amazon retailer, itâ(TM)s about fostering values other than âoethe cheaper the better no matter what the external costs to society.â

Please explain, without hem-hawing about taxation (which plenty of small, local businesses avoid entirely by simply flying under the radar) how these values benefit me.

Paying taxes (4, Interesting)

Epeeist (2682) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114501)

Fuck that. I'll buy from the vendors offering the products I want at prices I agree to. This "buy local" horseshit is nothing but guilt-tripping. Customers aren't property, and if local retailers can't compete, then they shouldn't be in business.

-jcr

Whereas I prefer to shop from companies who actually contribute back to the local economy by paying their taxes and not stashing them away in tax havens. If companies have sociopathic policies I try to avoid them.

Re:Paying taxes (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114703)

That covers the 5% of the product's cost that goes to the local business. What do you do about the other 95%?

You need to take an economics class ... (2)

drnb (2434720) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114663)

Fuck that. I'll buy from the vendors offering the products I want at prices I agree to. This "buy local" horseshit is nothing but guilt-tripping. Customers aren't property, and if local retailers can't compete, then they shouldn't be in business.

You need to take an economics class. Its not purely a guilt trip, there is also actual science and math behind spending locally. Sales and marketing people don't have to lie on those rare occasions when the truth is actually on their side. This is one of those. Spending locally can benefit you, or divert harm from you.

Where you spend your money has a multiplier effect on the community you are spending in. You can benefit your community or you can benefit someone else's. Which of the two do you think is more likely to return some benefit to you? Which of the two is more likely impact you when they have to raise property and other taxes as business revenues decline? Communities are a highly complex set of interdependencies. In the 1970s and 80s people didn't think it mattered where they shopped or where things were made. History proves them mistaken.

Re:"Follow the president's lead"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114671)

Fuck that. I'll buy from the vendors offering the products I want at prices I agree to. This "buy local" horseshit is nothing but guilt-tripping. Customers aren't property, and if local retailers can't compete, then they shouldn't be in business.

-jcr

Wal-Mart just quietly cut ties with an overseas garment company who just killed a couple thousand workers. They had a fire in a factory which wasn't supposed to have as many people in the building as it did, had no fire suppression and lacked emergency exits. There's currently a manhunt underway for the manager, and reports from survivors say that supervisors prevented the workers from leaving even as smoke filled the building, telling them it was "Just a drill".
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2012/11/28/bangladesh-fire-walmart-disney-sears/1731225/

I'm all about getting the best value for my dollar, but quite frankly speaking companies like Wal-Mart only compete like they do because of horrific labor practices. The government bears some responsibility for not properly regulating foreign imports, but consumers who purchase products with no thought as to why they're so cheap are also partially to blame. Wal-Mart has faced, and lost, several class-action lawsuits from forcing employees to work without pay. IF the "playing field" was truly fair and level then your point might be valid.

I gave it a shot. (3, Funny)

funwithBSD (245349) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114297)

I tried, but my local shop was all out of buggy whips.

And Twinkies.

Re:I gave it a shot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114395)

same, but i'm to anxious to buy adult diapers, lube, and fisherman's rope in-person

Paid what? And why should he care? (0)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114303)

Obama probably doesn't care that ebooks are a dollar cheaper than dead-tree books, because unlike the vast majority of his constituents, he's loaded.

Also, he's the prez, meaning he probably didn't pay jack squat at the local bookstore he graced with the honor of visiting and bringing free publicity to in the first place.

Re:Paid what? And why should he care? (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114323)

Also, he's the prez, meaning he probably didn't pay jack squat at the local bookstore he graced with the honor of visiting and bringing free publicity to in the first place.

That would be worrying, as it's corruption. Or at least may be taken as such. As a president he can not leave any doubt about such things, no matter how minor the amount. He's not a celebrity like a pop singer or actor or whatever, who do promotions for a living, he's the president and as such different rules apply.

Re:Paid what? And why should he care? (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114333)

So you think politicians are squeaky clean because they have high moral standards do you? How quaint...

Re:Paid what? And why should he care? (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114359)

I didn't say they are, I just said they should be. And the higher up, the more important that gets.

Re:Paid what? And why should he care? (2)

ZmeiGorynych (1229722) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114721)

No, politicians at Obama's level are being scrutinized constantly and intensively, and are squeaky clean certainly where the small stuff is concerned becaused simple cost-benefit analysis says it's the strategic thing to do. 'Sunlight is the best disinfectant' at work.

Re:Paid what? And why should he care? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114355)

That would be worrying, as it's corruption. Or at least may be taken as such. As a president he can not leave any doubt about such things, no matter how minor the amount.

Oh, don't worry. I don't think anyone has any doubt regarding that.

Re:Paid what? And why should he care? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114545)

Wake up to the 21st century:

- he is behaving as celebrity and being treated like it. Some treat him like deity.

- it is corruption but compared to all the other corruption it's banal even though one should realize there's more to it with the huge coverage of burgers, pizza, and now books: it's weak corruption but persistent self-glorifying propaganda. And what does "local" even mean any more? Was everything including the raw materials and the means of production created locally? And is that actually greener? Likely not and then it's just mindless empty words as usual.

- the political parties are based on corruption as their core cause and reason for existence aka "interest groups", lobbyists, NGO's, industries, people who champion specific sexual preferences or chosen "facts" and just about anything else you can or can't imagine. Add specific individual states to that if you don't believe such behavior is what was meant by "representation".

Re:Paid what? And why should he care? (1)

evil_aaronm (671521) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114375)

As posted above, this wasn't a state purchase: it came out of his pocket. And if he's loaded, it's because he worked his ass off. You don't go from street rat in a foreign country to president by happenstance. If the book store decided not to charge him - though I saw nothing to that effect - then it's the business owner's prerogative. It's not like Obama came in there, guns ablaze, and took the books.

Personally, I applaud him for paying more to keep a local resource available. Sure, maybe the actual book is cheaper, elsewhere, but book stores are for more than just books: I like to go and browse a little, buy a magazine, feed my addiction on a variety of topics, and, if I'm particularly drawn to one, buy a book. I savor the experience of the book store almost as much as the books themselves.

But you keep on hating. It's so productive.

Re:Paid what? And why should he care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114507)

I'm not sure at what point this guy who grew up with a silver spoon was a street rat in a foreign country.

Re:Paid what? And why should he care? (0)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114611)

Based on the assertions, he was an illegal alien living in the foreign country of the USA in Hawaii.

Re:Paid what? And why should he care? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114717)

Obama probably doesn't care that ebooks are a dollar cheaper than dead-tree books, because unlike the vast majority of his constituents, he's loaded.

Correction: Obama probably doesn't care that electronic versions of the books are cheaper because he is buying them for gift purposes, and you can't realistically give electronic copies of a book as gifts thanks to DRM and our abusive copyright laws.

Bookstore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114311)

What's a... bookstore? Where they sell e-readers?

I shop local as much as I can. (5, Insightful)

riverat1 (1048260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114327)

Local businesses are at the core of the community. They employ my neighbors and me*. They support local activities and charities. They pay local taxes. I like dealing with them face to face. All of those things and more are worth more to me than saving a few bucks online. I do buy online for things I can't find locally or maybe if the price difference is ridiculous.

* Actually I work for a medium sized multinational corp. but when I started it was a local business that eventually got bought out. We still are active locally.

Re:I shop local as much as I can. (5, Insightful)

Grimbleton (1034446) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114489)

Just for an example, Home Depot is a multi-national corporation. They also support local activities and charities, and pay local taxes.

Re:I shop local as much as I can. (2)

afgam28 (48611) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114499)

That's an interesting way to approach life. But let me ask you this: if everyone followed your philosophy, would the world be a better place or worse? Sure, you buying locally will help your local community. But if other people in other communities restrict their shopping to their local shops, wouldn't your local community suffer because it no longer has any markets to export to?

Re:I shop local as much as I can. (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114623)

I locally buy my Chilean grapes and Filipino bananas.

Seeking only lowest price decreases competition (1)

drnb (2434720) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114725)

That's an interesting way to approach life. But let me ask you this: if everyone followed your philosophy, would the world be a better place or worse? Sure, you buying locally will help your local community. But if other people in other communities restrict their shopping to their local shops, wouldn't your local community suffer because it no longer has any markets to export to?

No. Because not everything is made or available locally.

Plus there are little complications such as when price is the only factor in a purchasing decision it destroys competition by favoring larger organizations that can leverage economies of scale, externalize costs (manufacture in regions with poor environmental laws, recognize profits in regions with little to no taxes, etc), engage in monopolistic or other unfair practices, etc.

I Am a Market Signal (4, Interesting)

Markmarkmark (512275) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114335)

I feel it's my economic duty to provide accurate and useful signals to the market, so my dollars go to the most efficient and cost effective source that meets my requirements for quality, selection, availability and price. If I need something immediately or I need to touch it before buying, I choose a local supplier offering those benefits. If I don't need those things, I select on the remaining criteria. To choose vendors on arbitrary 'feel good' sloganeering deprives me of the best value and deprives the, perhaps distant, vendor that worked hard to meet my mix of needs of the sale they deserve. It also sends false demand signals to local vendors. However these false signals only serve to distort the market temporarily but otherwise are pointless gestures that, in the long run, achieve nothing and help no one.

Re:I Am a Market Signal (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114641)

What's funny is that when others say that about Apple and Microsoft, they get insulted and modded down. "I buy Apple because they have the largest and highest quality app marketplace." "I buy MS because they have hardware support for everything because everyone develops drivers for it." People buy what has value, even if others disagree with that value opinion.

Re:I Am a Market Signal (4, Insightful)

SecurityTheatre (2427858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114675)

Like someone else said, I specificly frequent local establishments in my neighbourhood, because I know the owners, they live down the street and I see them at the pub on weekends and on my sports teams.

There is value in community. These people, living in the neigbourhood make substantially more money than the assistant manager at "SomeBig MegaStore", and the a huge chunk of that money doesn't end up in some gated community in Arkansas. Then they turn that money back to the community, bringing up home values, allowing other people the chance to open local businesses. In the end, it may not benefit me directly as much as shopping at "SuperCheap MegaStore", but I feel better about it.

As far as I'm concerned, the macroeconomic value of mega-stores promotes a huge class of "factory floor" worker and a tiny fraction of Billionaires, whereas buying local ensures a large group of upper-middle class.

I can tell you that I've known a few Billionaires and a lot of factory workers, and neither of them deserve what they have. Sure the Billionaires work hard and are smart, but often not substantially more than the local shop owner. Sure the factory workers may lack education, intelligence, drive, etc, but are much more gainfully employed at local shops, where they are subject to community standards of behaviour, living, etc.

Other than to the Billionaire class, and people with no concern for their local community, and for the fact that I have no idea how one might equitably do it, I'm a huge proponent of preventing businesses from becoming multinational, and encouraging local investment in small business.

How one does that, other than just one purchase at a time, I have no idea.

Of course, you can choose to be a cog in the machine as well..... Faceless suburbs make me sad.

If you place someone in a major intersection in the suburbs of most major cities in the USA, you simply can't tell where you are, without considering weather and what little vegetation might be visible.... and I find that a bit sad. This is absolutely not the case in most other places in the world.... I think it's a cultural deficit, honestly.

Re:I Am a Market Signal (2)

drnb (2434720) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114775)

... my requirements for quality, selection, availability and price ... To choose vendors on arbitrary 'feel good' sloganeering deprives me of the best value ...

You need to take an economics class. Spending locally is not merely feel good sloganeering. Where you purchase and where things are made do matter. Where you spend your money improves a community, if not your then someone else's. The health of your community and your local government's ability to provide you services also provides you a value. With respect to the local government, if they don't get taxes from local businesses they will get it directly from local residents. If things get too extreme or too out of balance the community crashes.

There is a balance to all things and to not consider locality among your other considerations actually does negatively contribute to the environment you live in.

I'll do both at the same time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114337)

...by ordering the stuff online using the WiFi of local businesses.

Local shop (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114367)

To increase my chances to meet Mr Obama in person!

In God we trust (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114373)

all others we will pay WITH cash.

And of course, that means shopping locally.

*puts on* tin foil hat and stainless steel back plate, painted with the new camo paint of course.

Dont shop at all. Fuck the rich. Save your money (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114391)

Dont give the rich your money. Save it all, by only what is necessary and fuck the rich.

Online for me (1)

Evert (119324) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114435)

Mostly online shopping for me. There's just not enough available locally for acceptable prices...

Well, let's see... (1)

Grimbleton (1034446) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114471)

I'm not independently wealthy, and I don't have a job that pays me $400k/yr on top of that, plus my room and board paid for...

So yeah, I'm going with the Amazon option if I want anything.

Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114537)

As I live in a small rural community in the midwest, I am forced to shop online. Most local stores do not carry many of the items I want. Yes we do have Walmart and Staples. Staples is usually out because of high prices though.

I also do not drive at present. Local public transit leaves much to be desired, and taxi cabs are too expensive. So it is much more convenient to shop online.

Price is another reason that I shop online. Living on a small fixed income is a big challenge in today's economy and I have to get the best prices I can or do without.

It would be nice if shoping local stores was convenient, stores carried mor of the products that I want/need, and I could afford the higher prices.

Like the grinch ... (1)

AchilleTalon (540925) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114539)

or the scrooge, whichever you prefer.

Tangible goods need touch. (1)

Moskit (32486) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114547)

While it is cheaper to buy online, it is not always better to do so. I usually buy online only books that I know I already decided to buy.

However I buy more books by visiting physical stores. This is the only place where I can go to and browse through the books, read a few passages, get acquainted with the volume in hand. This process is more important for me than hit-and-run browsing on the internet. Books are tangible goods for me.

I suspect USA president might have visited a bookstore for similar reason (except for PR) - he might have preferred to actually look the book over, decide about the purchase based on physical item, especially with children books.

While travelling to USA I was struck that so many bookshops have closed, starting with Borders. This was always a good place to visit, and I always came out with a handful of books that I would never find&buy otherwise. Now it is much harder to find a bookstore, as even other large chains (or rather the only one - B&N) closed many locations.

Amazon is NOT a competition there for me. I bought relatively few books through them compared to real store (about 1:5 ratio). This is not going to increase with lack of physical stores in USA.

While in my country this is the same - I buy majority of books in real shops, based on browsing. Similar ratio (1:5) is bought online as a result of reviews, recommandations and other sources that make me decide in advance.
Luckily there is no shortage of bookstores where I live, and even with succesfull online retailers they are not going away.

What applies to books does not apply to music or movies - those can be easily searched for, reviewed, listened to and decided upon using online tools, with online purchase of a physical item.

PS: yes, I realise I am in a minority. I realize enough people think differently to me to cause bookstores closing.

Neither (1)

nikkipolya (718326) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114577)

I would neither shop locally nor perhaps at Amazon. I would fire up a price search site like www.fetchbook.info and find the cheapest deal, then go for a walk in the near by park.
We have been inventing various things all these decades and centuries to bring in more efficiencies in what we do. Now the President want's us to throw away all those inventions and go to the local store instead!? Is the President turning Amish?

Obama is so frugal! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114625)

That's why our national debt is WAAAAY down since Bush! Four more years, four more years!!!! No, thats not right... yes we can, yes we can bankrupt the country!!!

Rich man's game now (5, Interesting)

macraig (621737) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114627)

Shopping local - which doesn't mean shopping at Wal-Mart - isn't something (smart) poor people can really afford to do any more. The mass producers and "service providers" have been funneling so much of the material wealth in their direction - mere pennies each at a time but multiplied by hundreds of them and tens of millions of blood donors^H^H^H^H^Hcustomers - that when a person is poor there really isn't enough left after the aforementioned get their cuts to share with local mom-and-pop businesses, whose overhead is high and economy of scale very low and who need higher profit margins to justify what they're doing.

This is why poor people shop - and all too often also work* - at Wal-Mart. They don't have the option to shop local like Barack and Michelle.

* It's also worth noting that Wal-Mart KNOWS their employees are also customers: not only does Wal-Mart pay low wages and deliberately toy with hours to keep a third or more of its workforce part-time and ineligible for benefits, it also doesn't offer an employee discount. The end result is that Wal-Mart actually gets back as profit a portion of the low wages it pays its employees.

Re:Rich man's game now (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114699)

[Wal-Mart] also doesn't offer an employee discount.

True, except for the fact that Wal-Mart does offer an employee discount, 10% off all general merchandise (no groceries), to be exact.

Pregnancy Yoga (-1, Flamebait)

healthandmedication (2755955) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114713)

Pregnancy Yoga http://goo.gl/s9sAn [goo.gl] Pregnancy yoga is a complete way to ensure a fit pregnancy.Yoga for Pregnancy classes focus on gentle postures, breathing techniques, positions for labour and relaxations.

Shopping online is shopping local! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114753)

DISCLAIMER: I live in Silicon Valley.

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