Hello, good buy: Goodbye, healthy communities

In Greek mythology, the Amazons were a nation of powerful warrior women.  Legend has it that these women even cut off their right breasts….the better to use a bow and arrow against their foes.

Fast forward into modern times and real life, rather than legend.  We have an Amazon today; the world’s largest online retailer.  Like its ancient namesake, today’s Amazon is strong and aggressive.  If it had breasts, it would cut them both off in an effort to completely dominate retail sales in America.

A recent article in the New York Times describes how Amazon is building huge warehouses in several states in an  effort to provide same-day delivery service in many metropolitan areas.  It contains the following statement:

“Amazon’s delivery of everyday objects needs to be fast enough and cheap enough to wean customers from their local stores.”

Think about this.  It was the goal of Walmart to bring every item we could possibly need (and many that we don’t) under one roof.  In doing this, they have forced many shops and retailers, especially those in small towns, to shut their doors.

Amazon has bigger goals than Walmart.  They want us to be able to shop for everything from the comfort of our homes with the convenience of our keyboards.

If Amazon is successful in “weaning customers from their local stores,” we can say goodbye to those local stores.  Goodbye to the small hardware store where they can tell you what grade of sandpaper you need for your refinishing job.  Goodbye to the bookstore where you can browse for hours and read several chapters before deciding which book to buy.  Goodbye to the shoe store, the dress shop, the gift shop.  Goodbye to the retailer who buys an ad in the school yearbook and sponsors a local amateur sports team. Goodbye to places of employment for many of our friends and neighbors. Goodbye to places to go with friends.

Local stores, brick-and-mortar stores, are one of the foundation stones of flourishing communities.  Must we say goodbye to them just so we can sit on our sofas and order our “stuff” not only fast and cheap, but without having to endure any human interaction?

We need the ancient Amazonian women warriors to aim their weapons at this awful idea.