To Amazon or Not to Amazon... April 09 2014
This is how I picture Amazon. There, so my cards are on the table. They are a giant. No, in today's marketplace they may be THE giant. And they are getting bigger all the time. And just like the picture, as they grow bigger they seem to be less able to understand us quaint little people, the average everyday consumers who make their giant engines hum.
I have used Amazon many times, and have only had a few very bad experiences. Most of the time I receive what I ordered in a pretty timely manner. However, in all of my dealings with Amazon I have never ONCE had a personal interaction in the buying process. This is troubling for a couple reasons. For one, I have often wanted to ask questions about a product I was buying, but have in the end foregone that desire because I know it is virtually impossible to get a hold of an actual human being there. And when I have a couple times, they are not from around here, if you know what I mean. And they never seem to understand what I am saying. I think it's important when buying things to be able to ask lots of questions if I want to, and have quick and easy answers. Secondly, this is troubling because when I give my business to a company I want to do it not only because they offer a good price and are extremely streamlined, but also because through giving a company my business I am helping people--business owners, employees, etc. I am not really interested in helping a giant corporation. The more I buy from Amazon without human interaction, the more I feel I am feeding this move toward grocery store lines with self-checkout. Yes, they can be very easy and I am sure they save grocery stores money. But I really don't want to lose all human interaction in my purchasing!
Will buying from elsewhere at times mean I pay more? Sure. Does it mean I might not get my item as quickly? Probably. But when possible, I am choosing to buy from people, either people I can see in a store or people I can call and talk to with an online store. Of course I have my motives for this, and my number one motive must be pretty obvious. My livelihood, literally the food on my family's table, comes from this business (ComputerDesk.com). So I realize that if other people also choose "not to Amazon", it will help me directly! It will help my family directly! For purposes of full disclosure, that is the driving force behind this article. But if you take that away, I feel that running this business has just changed my mindset going forward: even after this business is gone, I am going to strive to buy from small business owners, because I'd just rather help people than giant corporations. I'd rather go to a small coffee shop in my town called Birdie's than to Starbucks, because I want to help small business people. I'd rather go to a stand alone family-owned restaurant in my town called Papa Joe's than to Panera. And I'd rather buy office furniture from a company like ours than from Amazon. I hope you agree!