Tuesday, 9 May 2017

On line shopping is

an enigma to the Senior Cat. If he finds something he wants he comes to me. It is usually a book not available from the local bookshop - a place he still prowls into on a regular basis. They know him well and they have gone out of their way to find books he wants. He appreciates it and returns the favour  by shopping there. I do the same when I can but some books I need are books they cannot source easily. (I needed something from Norway recently and they sighed and told me, "The internet Cat.")
And I have bought other things over the 'net. Our new bread machine came that way. It meant it was delivered to the door - important when we do not have a car. What is more it was a good deal cheaper.  We knew exactly what we wanted without going to a shop to investigate. That helps. I don't like the idea of investigating something in a shop and then buying it on line. It is a sort of theft from the bricks and mortar business.
There is also almost nothing in the way of yarn where I live. If I want something special, like the linen yarn I need (rather than wanted) recently, I need to go on-line. Once I would have been searching in other ways, calling on overseas contacts, making expensive bank transfers and the like. All that has stopped. 
I know small businesses here have suffered. They simply cannot compete with the world, especially given the endless rules, regulations and restrictions that apply to local businesses. Getting something posted inside Downunder is also so expensive that it adds large amounts to the cost. 
E-bay does "free" shipping for many items. Other places have a very reasonable cost. It is all built in to the price you pay of course but it is still very reasonable. Local business just cannot compete.
Now the government wants to add "GST" to our overseas transactions. E-bay is threatening to make their service unavailable to Australians if that happens. I can understand why. Trying to collect and pay Downunder style GST  is fraught with difficulties.
I don't doubt the regulations will come in. I suspect the government is going to find itself facing a voter backlash over the issue.
You see, people shop on-line now. They don't have the time to try and find the items they want or believe they must have in local shops which are simply not there any more.
If the government wanted to do this  they should have done it before on-line shopping became the way to go.
I may buy those new knitting needles this week - before they make it too difficult to do it.


cathyc said...

I think there are still people who shop in person - I do! And one of the ways you can protect local businesses is by the govt charging tax on items bought from o/s - I think that's a great thing to do. Switzerland is really strict, you are taxed strongly on anything over 50CHF and that includes shipping. Maybe that's why local business in Geneva is still doing okay, though bookshops are closing in droves.

Which is not to say that I don't buy online, there are things I need that I can't buy any other way, but for me it's last resort, and I'm always willing to pay a bit extra to buy in person from somebody in a shop.

I do hope that we don't end up living in a world where the only local/small businesses that work out are cafes and hairdressers. But I can see it may well end up the case. And somewhere out there will be those appalling Amazon warehouses which look like prisons, feeding us everything we weren't willing to pay our neighbours for when small businesses used to be part of our community.

Jodiebodie said...

Further to cathyc's comment, the online shopping trend is affecting remote communities in Canada with Amazon sending local general stores to the wall. Unfortunately for those small businesses, Amazon is popular because it offers a bigger range and will deliver to the remote areas. The residents don't have to make big trips to the big cities in inclement weather (indeed some towns get snowed in) when there is something they cannot get at their local store.