More high street closures

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guitars4youguitars4you Frets: 4207
edited June 7 in Politics Economics
Could easily post this into 'off topic' but the way it is going it will become more of an issue 

Mothercare
House of Fraser
Marks and Spencer
Carphone Warehouse
Maplin
Claire's Accessories
Carpet Right

With many looking at rescue packages - Homebase, New Look, Prezzo, Pound World

Massive readjustment on the high street and 'out of town retail parks' - Saw a report the other day that despite high street closures by the big names, many smaller specialist independents have opened up in many locations, but many are small businesses, like nail bars, milk shake bars, independent coffee shops etc and even a few book shops - Of course many charity shops

Big brands, as per above, have huge premises, either on retail parks and/or the high street, so will not be easy, if at all, to re-let, in a current format with rents as high as they are, along with business rates to pay

Obviously a massive change in on-line purchasing by the consumer, be it via the likes of Amazon and via the companies that run both high street and on-line businesses - Read a report that J Lewis make very little/nothing on the high street via flag ship stores and a large part of revenue/profit is via on-line

We can blame over expansion, corporate greed, corporate fascism (especially the major supermarkets) - We can even say it was inevitable and as such they get what they deserved - Especially when we look at the way Toys R Us steam rollered in to the UK and destroyed the independent toys shops - They came, conquered and left

Yet now the impact on jobs and in some towns/cities, a seriously declining high street, is a serious issue - Do we let it take its course and return to a form of high street shopping we had 50/100 years ago, with many more living back in the towns themselves, as we convert retail stores back to housing/flats

Many factors in place and not sure if anyone has an answer at this stage
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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 16299
    One word .....


    AMAZON


    The tax dodging, poor paying, staff bulling mega brand from the USA has changed the way people buy things.

    But to be fair a lot of those shops are shite. John Lewis stores are in trouble as is Waitrose. John Lewis is currently doing OK because it has a robust and profitable online presence.
    My pump-action drivel gun is smoking hot today!
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  • ChalkyChalky Frets: 5349
    I think you got a bit carried away there @guitars4you .  Calling it corporate greed or corporate fascism is absolute nonsense. They couldn't do anything about the high street shops if people like me didn't say "I want to buy it cheaper and get it delivered to my door, thank you".  I don't want to go to a shop to be pestered by a numpty who knows very little but just wants to push me into buying (PMT Oxford?).  And pay £50 extra for the pleasure! Death to the middleman!

    I don't want to walk about the shops just to see if something else takes my fancy - I've got more interesting things to do with my time. I grew out of that "shopping" habit a long time ago because it is a generally silly way to spend valuable time.

    I am to blame.  And millions like me.  
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  • jellyrolljellyroll Frets: 2128
    One discrepancy in the CVA fad is that the companies with weak balance sheets are able to blackmail landlords into a rent decrease (otherwise, they threaten insolvency where the landlord gets nowt) whereas the (possibly better run) companies with stronger balance sheets - as well as smaller tenants - don't have the same leverage so are having to continue to bear higher rents. Lord Wolfson of Next was kicking off about this a couple of weeks ago.
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  • jellyrolljellyroll Frets: 2128
    I am as much an internet shopper as most others. But my pet peeve is folk who deliberately use shops as showrooms to test goods and then walk out of the shop to go buy the same product online. 
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  • kinkin Frets: 535
    @Chalky is bang on, every item we buy online is one less sale on the high street.

    I do it too because it's convenient and i hate shopping even though i partly make my living through retail.

    Lots of business will have to restructure and adapt, a lot won't make it. The town centres and shopping malls are increasingly more of a leisure  destination , coffee,lunch,nails,hair,tattoos,milkshakes and vape shops are all that seems to be opening.

    One thing that does annoy about people who buy online is that they seem to think it's ok to come into my shop and ask me " i bought this online , have i been ripped off? " " whats it worth?" 

    When i reply ,"we offer an insurance valuation service, it costs £xyz.." Their reply is always, " i don't want a valuation , i just want you to tell me what it's worth." ( For free, while i wait.)

    Think i'll nip into Dawsons later and ask them whether the guitar i bought online from someone else was a good deal or not, best do it today actually because they might not be there much longer. :)
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  • HeartfeltdawnHeartfeltdawn Frets: 11052


    Yet now the impact on jobs and in some towns/cities, a seriously declining high street, is a serious issue - Do we let it take its course and return to a form of high street shopping we had 50/100 years ago, with many more living back in the towns themselves, as we convert retail stores back to housing/flats

    Many factors in place and not sure if anyone has an answer at this stage

    Yes I think we should. Stores should try to get away from 7 day opening. 
    I make Jeremy Paxman look like Fingermouse. 
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  • HeartfeltdawnHeartfeltdawn Frets: 11052
    Fretwired said:
    One word .....


    AMAZON


    The tax dodging, poor paying, staff bulling mega brand from the USA has changed the way people buy things.

    But to be fair a lot of those shops are shite. John Lewis stores are in trouble as is Waitrose. John Lewis is currently doing OK because it has a robust and profitable online presence.
    And so the vampire squid gets larger...

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/44396151

    Mental how things have gone. Goldman Sachs was viewed as the big evil thing courtesy of the banking meltdown yet a company that dominates retail, destroys high streets, dodges tax, makes people work in lousy conditions, takes over supermarkets in the US, becomes increasingly important on the media front, manages to drop electronic listening devices into your home and make people pay for these devices etc etc etc is seen as good because you can buy your socks a bit cheaper there.

    It baffles me how left-leaning friends of mine who support a more socialist system actively engage in the Amazon way of doing things. 
    I make Jeremy Paxman look like Fingermouse. 
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  • english_bobenglish_bob Frets: 2318
    ^ I've been deliberately avoiding Amazon for a while now, for reasons that are a far less coherent version of yours. Of course, avoiding "the Amazon way of doing things" isn't necessarily quite so easy. 

    ...and they've just bought The Expanse, so they might suck me back in after all...


    Don't talk politics and don't throw stones. Your royal highnesses.

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  • HeartfeltdawnHeartfeltdawn Frets: 11052
    I used them last year to buy a new MP3 player when my Sansa Clip died. I'd had it a number of years. All the stores that used to sell them when I bought mine don't operate now. The power of Amazon means choice is less in some fields in terms of where to buy. 

    @english_bob So I've decided to stop being a hypocrite. Sure, I don't use Amazon much but that's akin to saying that I'm only a Nazi sympathiser during Passover. Off to Amazon I have gone to delete the account... wuh? To erase an account, it's a phone call or talk to a chatbot. I've just spent 10 minutes or so trying to find out how to do it and then actually doing it, all for a shopping account that I've bought a pair of running shoes and an MP3 player from over the years. I understand why they are so stringent on account deletion. It reflects the size and reach of Amazon. A deleted account screws up TV, Kindles, previous and current purchases, all sorts. Whether a company should be allowed to have that sort of reach is the debate. 



    I make Jeremy Paxman look like Fingermouse. 
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  • guitars4youguitars4you Frets: 4207
    edited June 7
    Chalky said:
    I think you got a bit carried away there @guitars4you .  Calling it corporate greed or corporate fascism is absolute nonsense. They couldn't do anything about the high street shops if people like me didn't say "I want to buy it cheaper and get it delivered to my door, thank you".  I don't want to go to a shop to be pestered by a numpty who knows very little but just wants to push me into buying (PMT Oxford?).  And pay £50 extra for the pleasure! Death to the middleman!

    I don't want to walk about the shops just to see if something else takes my fancy - I've got more interesting things to do with my time. I grew out of that "shopping" habit a long time ago because it is a generally silly way to spend valuable time.

    I am to blame.  And millions like me.  
    Corporate Greed and Corporate Fascism

    IMO there is nothing wrong with the most simple form of capitalism - Buy for a £1 and sell for £2, whilst offering a product/service that your customer requires and pay your bills + tax accordingly - Nothing wrong with staying compact, reinvesting some/all profit to survive and having a sustainable business (mom's and pop's approach as the USA like to call such small businesses) - Yet big corporate business and finance, via the City/Wall Street approach is based on greed  - If you make a 100 million pound profit this year and only 90 million next year it is seen by the City as 'profits' are down, so less growth, less bonus - They want growth upon growth and will invest and finance accordingly - Take this expansion to a larger limit and you'll only have a few huge corporations left and as such less choice - If this performance indicator was applied to sport, then if next year Man City win the Premiership again, but only with 99 points, then that is below the previous years results, so the finance houses won't like it, yet it is acceptable to the customer/fan - What is wrong in accepting a 100 million £ profit this year and 90 million £ the year after etc - It is still a totally sustainable business with an increased 'retained profit value' - The approach to acquire more and more stores, then package this into an 'offshore business' under a tax umbrella, then use this to acquire another brand/chain to expand even further is pure corporate greed that benefits a few

    Many/all large supermarkets, amongst other businesses, operate under a form of corporate fascism IMO - They wish to totally control the whole process of purchase, supply, distribution, pricing etc under one roof and it is done in a totally dictatorial way - It only works via lobbying, corruption, big finance, tax evasion, plus government support and in doing so, effectively sod anything that gets in the way - They step on any form of objection in their way - They use this power to close down smaller competition, put pressure on the farmer/supplier regarding supply and pricing - Pay poverty wages to many staff then ask you, the tax payer to top up their wage via tax credits, and then avoid the correct level of corporate tax they themselves should be responsible for - All with government support of course - The beneficiary's are the business owners, share holders and financial powerhouses that raise appropriate funding - The clever bit is that it is very hard for us not to but from them
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  • crunchmancrunchman Frets: 3626
    Business rates are a big part of the problem.  The cost to a High Street shop is a lot higher than on a warehouse on an industrial estate.  It will be impossible for High Street stores to compete when they are paying many thousands extra on business rates.
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  • jpfampsjpfamps Frets: 1368
    crunchman said:
    Business rates are a big part of the problem.  The cost to a High Street shop is a lot higher than on a warehouse on an industrial estate.  It will be impossible for High Street stores to compete when they are paying many thousands extra on business rates.
    Indeed.

    Retail business rates are far higher than say office usage (why?).

    Combine this with high rents and it's simply not profitable for businesses to be on the high street.

    Theoretically we should see an adjustment in rents.

    The example above of Next is a good one. Last year there average lease renewal resulted in a 28% reduction in rent.
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  • guitars4youguitars4you Frets: 4207
    crunchman said:
    Business rates are a big part of the problem.  The cost to a High Street shop is a lot higher than on a warehouse on an industrial estate.  It will be impossible for High Street stores to compete when they are paying many thousands extra on business rates.
    + heating/electric - You don't have to heat a store room /warehouse, for those on a low wage to package up the orders
    + merchandising/display
    + wages
    + shop lifting/security
    + return on capital - one large warehouse can supply a nation - stock level for 10 -100 stores will be far greater
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  • scrumhalfscrumhalf Frets: 4761
    It's such a complex thing, but I've been waiting for the retail property crash for some time.

    I want to buy, say, a fridge freezer. I probably have three choices:
    1) High street retailer
    2) Retail park retailer
    3) Online purchase, which might be either a dedicated online retailer or the online arm of a retailer with a presence at either of the above.

    Factor in the generally free parking at retail parks, the sweetheart deals you often get for rent and rates and the likely presence of large retailers who can offer better deals and you can see why the problem exists. High street retailers are being bled by punitive parking costs, punitive business rates and landlords who may be indifferent to the mix of occupants.

    When I was in property a few years ago we had a shopping centre where our anchor tenant had a bit of a sweetheart deal and where we knew that we couldn't have too many simiar tenants in the retail units. If the high street has many different landlords you don't get that degree of foresight, hence the many "continental grocers" we have near me (where, incidenatlly, more laundering takes place than in any of the local launderettes).
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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 16299
    Sadly online is where it is at for generic retailing - want an iPhone? Buy it online and save serious money.

    Amazon are expanding - it's rumoured they might be interested in buying Gibson guitars. Could be a smart move.

    The high street is dead .. the big shopping malls can still pull in people. My town centre has a John Lewis a few stores - the rest are coffee shops, bars and restaurants with the odd bank. I think its called progress.
    My pump-action drivel gun is smoking hot today!
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  • ChalkyChalky Frets: 5349
    Fretwired said:
    Sadly online is where it is at for generic retailing - want an iPhone? Buy it online and save serious money.

    Amazon are expanding - it's rumoured they might be interested in buying Gibson guitars. Could be a smart move.

    The high street is dead .. the big shopping malls can still pull in people. My town centre has a John Lewis a few stores - the rest are coffee shops, bars and restaurants with the odd bank. I think its called progress.

    Exactly.  We're progressing away from shops on high streets.  Some won't see that as progress.  But it is, for younger folks.

    Near me there is a large shop premise that houses little mini-shops/stalls. 

    Old people say "Oh I love going there but so many of the little stalls disappear, they only last a few months"

    I ask "How much have you bought from there?"

    They reply "Oh nothing! Far too expensive for me but I love looking round!"

    They don't see the connection.  But the point is the retailer has to add a lot of cost on to what they sell to make it viable.  That makes them expensive.  But everyone wants cheap.  So the retailer closes.  Everyone wants little nice shops. No-one wants to pay for them.  And why should they?
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  • HeartfeltdawnHeartfeltdawn Frets: 11052
    Chalky said:
    Exactly.  We're progressing away from shops on high streets.  Some won't see that as progress.  But it is, for younger folks.


    Because all they see is 'Boom, cheap shit online'.

    Maybe they'll make the connection when they're running around a warehouse as an Amazon Fulfilment Associate. 

    I make Jeremy Paxman look like Fingermouse. 
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  • ChalkyChalky Frets: 5349
    Chalky said:
    I think you got a bit carried away there @guitars4you .  Calling it corporate greed or corporate fascism is absolute nonsense. They couldn't do anything about the high street shops if people like me didn't say "I want to buy it cheaper and get it delivered to my door, thank you".  I don't want to go to a shop to be pestered by a numpty who knows very little but just wants to push me into buying (PMT Oxford?).  And pay £50 extra for the pleasure! Death to the middleman!

    I don't want to walk about the shops just to see if something else takes my fancy - I've got more interesting things to do with my time. I grew out of that "shopping" habit a long time ago because it is a generally silly way to spend valuable time.

    I am to blame.  And millions like me.  
    Corporate Greed and Corporate Fascism

    IMO there is nothing wrong with the most simple form of capitalism - Buy for a £1 and sell for £2, whilst offering a product/service that your customer requires and pay your bills + tax accordingly - Nothing wrong with staying compact, reinvesting some/all profit to survive and having a sustainable business (mom's and pop's approach as the USA like to call such small businesses) - Yet big corporate business and finance, via the City/Wall Street approach is based on greed  - If you make a 100 million pound profit this year and only 90 million next year it is seen by the City as 'profits' are down, so less growth, less bonus - They want growth upon growth and will invest and finance accordingly - Take this expansion to a larger limit and you'll only have a few huge corporations left and as such less choice - If this performance indicator was applied to sport, then if next year Man City win the Premiership again, but only with 99 points, then that is below the previous years results, so the finance houses won't like it, yet it is acceptable to the customer/fan - What is wrong in accepting a 100 million £ profit this year and 90 million £ the year after etc - It is still a totally sustainable business with an increased 'retained profit value' - The approach to acquire more and more stores, then package this into an 'offshore business' under a tax umbrella, then use this to acquire another brand/chain to expand even further is pure corporate greed that benefits a few

    Many/all large supermarkets, amongst other businesses, operate under a form of corporate fascism IMO - They wish to totally control the whole process of purchase, supply, distribution, pricing etc under one roof and it is done in a totally dictatorial way - It only works via lobbying, corruption, big finance, tax evasion, plus government support and in doing so, effectively sod anything that gets in the way - They step on any form of objection in their way - They use this power to close down smaller competition, put pressure on the farmer/supplier regarding supply and pricing - Pay poverty wages to many staff then ask you, the tax payer to top up their wage via tax credits, and then avoid the correct level of corporate tax they themselves should be responsible for - All with government support of course - The beneficiary's are the business owners, share holders and financial powerhouses that raise appropriate funding - The clever bit is that it is very hard for us not to but from them
    Sure there are 'bad' companies as you suggest.

    But I'm old enough to remember shopping before supermarkets, where you had buggerall choice but to buy what the little shops had, how ever shit and old the fruit and veg and the grumpy old shopkeepers who would take ages to serve you. New shoes? In your size we've only got these left, new delivery next month.  Traipsing round shops after a long bus journey of the off chance you might get something like what you are looking for. But in general, you had to "make do" with whatever they had.  

    Let's not talk bollocks about the good old days of high street shopping.  The choice, quality and price these days are all vastly better for most things.
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  • guitars4youguitars4you Frets: 4207
    edited June 7
    It is okay saying I buy on-line now and shops are not so essential - Blame it on the internet or whatever, but it is the knock on impact that will become a big issue - Loss of tax revenue - Unemployment - Boarded up empty stores, initially one or two, then complete streets

    So what do we then do with the potential forthcoming derelict high street ? - or part derelict high street - some towns already have this issue - Other towns will get worse

    If it is within a shopping centre, then the issue is that of the developers/landlord - Until it gets to bad and run down

    If it is a couple of isolated shops in a town centre, then again just a small issue for appropriate landlords - But what about the large units the likes of Marks and Spencer + House of Fraser have utilised on many high streets - Years ago such empty shops became instantly occupied - Such prime high street locations were quickly picked up by other stores, but with the demise of the high street looming, then they will not be required - One option is to strip them down into smaller units and/or convert to flats - At this stage it will be left to landlord/developers to sort out - Just leaving a lost of business tax revenue to local councils 

    Leave it to long and you'll end up with 'no go zone boarded up areas' run by gangs etc - Then it becomes a social issue for councils and governments to resolve, if they can
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  • ChalkyChalky Frets: 5349
    Well a quick look at the historical photos from the town where I live suggests a lot of them will revert to being houses.  And the coffee shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs will still be there.
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  • guitars4youguitars4you Frets: 4207
    Chalky said:
    Well a quick look at the historical photos from the town where I live suggests a lot of them will revert to being houses.  And the coffee shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs will still be there.
    I can see in certain towns that many of those old victoria type of stores could well end up been nice flat conversions, with smaller specialist shop/cafe units below etc - But in other towns they will be less requirement and/or less popular, so  option of social housing, or boarded up no go zone or both
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  • exocetexocet Frets: 536
    edited June 7
    How soon before planning regulations change to make it easier to convert retail space to housing? 
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  • FreebirdFreebird Frets: 784
    edited June 7
    Fretwired said:
    One word .....


    AMAZON


    The tax dodging, poor paying, staff bulling mega brand from the USA has changed the way people buy things.

    But to be fair a lot of those shops are shite. John Lewis stores are in trouble as is Waitrose. John Lewis is currently doing OK because it has a robust and profitable online presence.
    And so the vampire squid gets larger...

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/44396151

    Mental how things have gone. Goldman Sachs was viewed as the big evil thing courtesy of the banking meltdown yet a company that dominates retail, destroys high streets, dodges tax, makes people work in lousy conditions, takes over supermarkets in the US, becomes increasingly important on the media front, manages to drop electronic listening devices into your home and make people pay for these devices etc etc etc is seen as good because you can buy your socks a bit cheaper there.

    It baffles me how left-leaning friends of mine who support a more socialist system actively engage in the Amazon way of doing things. 
    You forgot owning the New York Times, and hosting/managing the CIA cloud data servers.
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  • BoromedicBoromedic Frets: 765
    edited June 7
    Amazing how prescient the Pixar movie Wall-E is, that's where we're headed if we're not too careful. Buy n Large.....

    .....and what to my wondering eyes should appear.....      nothing.......


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  • Axe_meisterAxe_meister Frets: 2153
    I'd love to see a return of small independent retailers like Germany/France. A proper butcher/Music Store/Camera shop/Model shop, etc but for that to happen rents and business rates have to come down.
    I really think there is room for specialist shops run by people who know what they are talking about, selling stuff that you really want to look at first and get good independent advise from the retailer at a good if a little more than Amazon. 
    Imagine Napkins going back to their original electrics business with workshops and knowledgeable people.
    In the US Mom and Pop shops are actually surviving as they have a value add that the big retailers can't match.
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  • ChalkyChalky Frets: 5349
    edited June 8
    Chalky said:
    Exactly.  We're progressing away from shops on high streets.  Some won't see that as progress.  But it is, for younger folks.


    Because all they see is 'Boom, cheap shit online'.

    Maybe they'll make the connection when they're running around a warehouse as an Amazon Fulfilment Associate. 

    So young people are thinking right when they vote against Brexit and thinking wrong when they buy from Amazon? Bit of selective bias in your thinking there.... ;)
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  • ChalkyChalky Frets: 5349
    I'd love to see a return of small independent retailers like Germany/France. A proper butcher/Music Store/Camera shop/Model shop, etc but for that to happen rents and business rates have to come down.
    I really think there is room for specialist shops run by people who know what they are talking about, selling stuff that you really want to look at first and get good independent advise from the retailer at a good if a little more than Amazon. 
    Imagine Napkins going back to their original electrics business with workshops and knowledgeable people.
    In the US Mom and Pop shops are actually surviving as they have a value add that the big retailers can't match.
    I know you "really think there is room for specialist shops" but folks don't want to pay extra for them. They just use them then go buy online to make substantial saving.  Here in Oxfordshire is a very nice and affluent area. But as in my earlier comment, folks don't want to pay more than they have to for an item.

    Being careful with your money and finding the best price for the same item is not wrong. Is it?
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 31628
    Chalky said:

    So young people are thinking right when they vote against Brexit and thinking wrong when they buy from Amazon? Bit of selective bias in your thinking there.... ;)
    I may be wrong, but one of the upsides of leaving the EU should be that we can make Amazon pay tax properly - although I don’t know if that will still apply if we stay in the EEA... I’m sure the government will find some way to be shafted by them whatever we do.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • HeartfeltdawnHeartfeltdawn Frets: 11052
    edited June 8
    Chalky said:

    Because all they see is 'Boom, cheap shit online'.

    Maybe they'll make the connection when they're running around a warehouse as an Amazon Fulfilment Associate. 

    So young people are thinking right when they vote against Brexit and thinking wrong when they buy from Amazon? Bit of selective bias in your thinking there....

    Bit of oversimplification there but I like the humour

    Out of the EU, I have no doubt that Amazon would find a way to lower their tax obligations to this country. Perhaps we'd bend over and turn ourselves into an equivalent of Delaware. If we stayed in the EU, then it is obviously far easier to push for tax reform within the EU as a Member State than outside of it. 

    When the reasoning for buying from Amazon is 'price before all other considerations', then I think it's a problem. I look at other industries, some of which I have worked in, others as an observer. In a shit GK pub, price is king so that means wage budgets cut to the bone and painfully low food quality. When price is king in tendered government contracts, that can mean a company underbidding, winning the contract, and realising they can't do the job well for the price they bid (bailouts and/or collapse then follows). When price is king in a place like Poundland, you do deals with the government to take in people on the Jobcentre Plus work experience programme, pay them nothing, and let the taxpayer cover it (Poundland have no stopped this practice).

    To me, if you make price the focus above all considerations then someone's getting fucked in the end. Sometimes it's been me. 

    It's probably no surprise to anyone who has read it that I bought Hired by James Bloodworth last month (local bookshop, obviously D). Really good book and very informative. 

    I make Jeremy Paxman look like Fingermouse. 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 31628

    When the reasoning for buying from Amazon is 'price before all other considerations', then I think it's a problem.
    I don't think it's just that. I do use Amazon, and for me it's actually more about convenience than price - I mostly use it for things which are barely worth the time or cost to go into town for (even on a bus), when I can spend two minutes online and the thing will turn up at the door usually the following day.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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