I was so angry when I read about Amazon.com's Price Checker App promotion: the company actually paid shoppers to collect information on prices at local bricks-and-mortar shops and then shop at Amazon instead. In most places, Amazon doesn't pay any taxes and they don't contribute to local economies in nearly the same way that small businesses do.
In 1960 my grandparents opened Marcus Books, the nation's oldest independent African-American bookstore. Marcus Books is still here but it's a struggle. All around the country I see independent bookstores and other retailers fighting for survival in this tough economy. Amazon's Price Checker app goes beyond simple competition in a free marketplace. It represents an ugly race to the bottom that might provide short-term benefit for bargain hunters, but will lead to long-term pain for communities in the form of lost jobs and tax revenues.
If Amazon wants any credibility with consumers from here on out, they should pledge not to use these kinds of promotion techniques for the Price Checker app in the future and should apologize to small businesses.
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