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(The Atlantic)   Town that managed to keep out Walmart now has to contend with Amazon   ( theatlantic.com) divider line
    More: Ironic, Big-box store, main street, Retailing, Department store, Target Corporation, Electronic commerce, Wal-Mart, small businesses  
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2646 clicks; posted to Business » on 04 Mar 2018 at 12:32 AM (19 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



46 Comments     (+0 »)
 
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2018-03-04 12:02:25 AM  
"People are getting on Amazon and they're not getting off,"

Well duh, that's what Pornhub is for.
 
2018-03-04 12:19:07 AM  
img.fark.netView Full Size


She smuggled all her goods in on her invisible jet.
 
2018-03-04 01:05:07 AM  
Now towns are fighting to keep big box stores in town. A nearby town to me declared it a victory when they helped convince the local shopping center operator to reduce rent to the Toys 'r Us wouldn't close, even making a boastful Facebook post about it using the hashtag, #shoplocal. Big boxes are now the new local store, and towns need to hold onto them just as much, because they aren't getting tax revenue from Amazon that's for sure.
 
2018-03-04 01:21:06 AM  
West Lebanon NH (Next to Hanover where Dartmouth Ivy League college is) kept Wal-Mart out for years from 1994-2000. Then finally one came in and wiped out the other stores in the 2000's.
Now it is closing and all my former classmates have to drive 60-100 miles to Manchester NH or up to Montreal for decent low cost shopping options.

//But Tuna is only $0.66 a can if you got one in town
 
2018-03-04 01:22:28 AM  
"But who will be left to sponsor softball teams or floats in parades if there is no more small-town retail?"

Like everything else that's outlived its usefulness, who cares? You want your kid to play softball over the summer vacation, how about covering the cost yourself?
 
2018-03-04 01:24:42 AM  
Resistance to minor change leaves you even further behind when bigger changes come. Adapt of die.
 
2018-03-04 01:28:22 AM  
Fun Fact: Greenfield, Massachusetts is featured in episode 7 of Antony Bourdain's "Parts Unknown" where he discusses the Heroin Epidemic and interviews many folks on both sides of the tracks... all in Greenfield MA.
https://skift.com/2014/11/10/anthony-​b​ourdains-parts-unknown-episode-7-heroi​n-in-small-town-usa/

//For those not from New England, Greenfield is 4 hours west of Boston, 3 hours north of Hartford, and there is zero economic activity in Western Mass after the Mills died out, save highway rest stops for New Yorkers on vacation along I-91.
 
2018-03-04 01:45:01 AM  

nemisonic: Fun Fact: Greenfield, Massachusetts is featured in episode 7 of Antony Bourdain's "Parts Unknown" where he discusses the Heroin Epidemic and interviews many folks on both sides of the tracks... all in Greenfield MA.
https://skift.com/2014/11/10/anthony-b​ourdains-parts-unknown-episode-7-heroi​n-in-small-town-usa/

//For those not from New England, Greenfield is 4 hours west of Boston, 3 hours north of Hartford, and there is zero economic activity in Western Mass after the Mills died out, save highway rest stops for New Yorkers on vacation along I-91.


Well, it isn't Amazon selling opioids now is it?

Or are they?
 
2018-03-04 02:07:52 AM  
The solution is to outlaw parcel delivery in the city limits.
 
2018-03-04 02:22:55 AM  
If they just all start making artisanal cheese and selling vinyl they'd be rich and hip, but NOOO.
 
2018-03-04 02:25:20 AM  
i think this amazon problem isn't just in greenfield, mass. i forget the name of the other town it's happening to.
 
2018-03-04 03:02:31 AM  
Do whatever your little town wants. Seriously.

I live in the damn city though and Amazon saves me a hell of a lot of hours in traffic every year. Oh, I could safe $1.22 on AA batteries and $3 on my favorite socks? Definitely don't care.
 
2018-03-04 04:17:18 AM  
Amazon is the Walmart of the internet.
 
2018-03-04 05:56:18 AM  
Well now that the internet will be slowed down to a crawl, that free shipping will be disappearing soon as well.
 
2018-03-04 06:08:00 AM  

Raider_dad: Amazon is the Walmart of the internet.


WalMart.com is trying like hell to become the WalMart of the Internet.
 
2018-03-04 08:08:23 AM  

MBZ321: Now towns are fighting to keep big box stores in town. A nearby town to me declared it a victory when they helped convince the local shopping center operator to reduce rent to the Toys 'r Us wouldn't close, even making a boastful Facebook post about it using the hashtag, #shoplocal. Big boxes are now the new local store, and towns need to hold onto them just as much, because they aren't getting tax revenue from Amazon that's for sure.


After the big box stores drive out the small stores, if they go out of business there is nothing left. Saw a news story about Walmart driving out all the local shops and ten years later them closing up shop because they weren't making enough money. Now they got a whole lot of nothing in town and are trying to get places to open downtown and figure out what to do with the walmart space.
 
2018-03-04 08:30:21 AM  

JohnBigBootay: Do whatever your little town wants. Seriously.

I live in the damn city though and Amazon saves me a hell of a lot of hours in traffic every year. Oh, I could safe $1.22 on AA batteries and $3 on my favorite socks? Definitely don't care.


That's nice if your favorite socks are sold locally, but when you really like nice socks and the local stores only sell cheap crap, it's nice to have options.
 
2018-03-04 08:37:14 AM  

Chevello: That's nice if your favorite socks are sold locally, but when you really like nice socks and the local stores only sell cheap crap, it's nice to have options.


This implies that the socks that Amazon sells aren't crap. Well, they probably do, but good luck finding them buried in pages of crap socks.
 
2018-03-04 08:59:39 AM  

trialpha: Chevello: That's nice if your favorite socks are sold locally, but when you really like nice socks and the local stores only sell cheap crap, it's nice to have options.

This implies that the socks that Amazon sells aren't crap. Well, they probably do, but good luck finding them buried in pages of crap socks.


There are plenty of crap socks on Amazon (not just socks either). That's what the reviews are for if you can weed out the people who looked at the package before wearing them then gave 5 stars and the paid shills.

The one that bugs me is when I get either counterfeit or special extra-poor quality items instead of the same as the store ones.

Personally I have to do a lot of shopping late at night when I actually have time.
 
2018-03-04 09:57:59 AM  
Adapt or die.

That's how that works. The town's attempting to preserve something that simply cannot be preserved in its present state. "Keeping out Walmart" only ensured further ossification, so that when the next, even more successful trend showed up, they were even less able to adapt. This town used legal legerdemain to make it deliberately difficult to build what they didn't want in their town - and, each time the developers met their requirements, the town either ran the goalposts back or pushed sandbags in front of the developers to make it too expensive to build there. Neither of those techniques worked here, because there's nothing to fight - no new building to block, no business license to deny, nada.

You want your downtown goods & services to remain intact? Change what you're selling and providing. You will not be able to stave off the world. You will either adapt, or you will wither and die, like so many other towns before you who just "wanted to keep their way of life." Even the Amish understood that some adaptation was necessary for survival - pesticides, powered farm equipment, etc. If you're less able than the Amish to adapt, there's little the world can do for you.

The worst part is that these are the type of folks that then whine about "where all the jobs went." They refused to adapt, fought progress tooth and nail, then lamented the goddamned consequences like it was everyone else's fault that no one wants to move to a town with limited job prospects, limited goods & services, and an insular attitude.
 
2018-03-04 10:11:08 AM  
Now that NN is gone, these small stores that ship/do stuff online is going to get hit even worse.
 
2018-03-04 10:27:03 AM  

jjorsett: The solution is to outlaw parcel delivery in the city limits.


City import tariff on all shipping companies.
 
2018-03-04 10:39:37 AM  
<i>Partly because of Norman's efforts to keep out such stores, Greenfield still has a Main Street with dozens of businesses, including a bookstore, a record store, and Wilson's, one of the last independently owned department stores in the country.</i>

My grandparents quaint little town also had a Main Street full of businesses.  Businesses that had poor selections, lousy service, and high prices.  They celebrated when a Walmart opened up two towns over.  Those businesses were already going out of business before it opened.  It just accelerated the process.

/meanwhile when a Home Depot opened up near my house - the local hardware store adapted and is now flourishing -
 
2018-03-04 10:49:27 AM  

fusillade762: "People are getting on Amazon and they're not getting off,"

Well duh, that's what Pornhub is for.


Amazon does deliver things for that as well
 
2018-03-04 10:53:10 AM  
There's one way to make sure your downtown has lots of nice shops:

img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2018-03-04 10:55:40 AM  

gingerjet: meanwhile when a Home Depot opened up near my house - the local hardware store adapted and is now flourishing -


I have to agree with this. When the Home Depot opened up a town over, I started going there when it first opened and stopped going to my local hardware store. After a couple of months, I started going back to my local hardware store because the people at Home Depot knew little to nothing about their products or the best applications of them. My local hardware store guy can cite construction code off the top of his head and helps with making sure you get all the right things you need to both meet your needs and pass a code inspection.

Bonus points, when Harvey hit, he opened up his store and lumberyard and started giving away materials, tools, you name it...for free to those that needed help. He even rounded up a bunch of retired construction guys he knows (and who generally hang out at the store, drink coffee, and shoot the breeze) and started having them go out and help people do emergency fixes, clear trees, etc. Again, all on his own dime.

So, I pretty much go there exclusively now. That, and his lumber is light years ahead of the crap sold at HD or Lowes.
 
2018-03-04 11:03:04 AM  

nemisonic: West Lebanon NH (Next to Hanover where Dartmouth Ivy League college is) kept Wal-Mart out for years from 1994-2000. Then finally one came in and wiped out the other stores in the 2000's.
Now it is closing and all my former classmates have to drive 60-100 miles to Manchester NH or up to Montreal for decent low cost shopping options.

//But Tuna is only $0.66 a can if you got one in town


That's kind of disingenuous though. There was a Kmart there long before it. And that Walmart, let's face it, was a tiny little thing. And really, you weren't going there for clothes, you were going to JCPenney or Kohl's, and there's a Shaw's down the street and a Price Chopper in the same plaza as the Walmart (which, if standard town zoning held true, meant that that Walmart couldn't have a full grocery, which is the real reason any of them close anymore). But unlike Wally, they don't bother trying to artificially hold prices down, due to the fact that Lebanon is out of the main urban area of New England. And to top it all off, it's only half an hour and 26 miles to Claremont, the next nearest one.

gingerjet: My grandparents quaint little town also had a Main Street full of businesses.  Businesses that had poor selections, lousy service, and high prices. They celebrated when a Walmart opened up two towns over.  Those businesses were already going out of business before it opened.  It just accelerated the process.

/meanwhile when a Home Depot opened up near my house - the local hardware store adapted and is now flourishing -


While the quality of products in small stores varies wildly, the ones that stay open figure out how to get better product. They also stay modern and they don't hire anyone without experience and personality. The ones that are stuck in the days before disco, if not pre-Beatles, are the ones that die and deserve to, because if you can't care enough to adapt, you're going down.
 
2018-03-04 11:03:23 AM  
groppet:

 Now they got a whole lot of nothing in town and are trying to get places to open downtown and figure out what to do with the walmart space.

Wait, didn't I read a while back that Obama was going to use old WMs as FEMA camps?  He's way behind schedule.
 
2018-03-04 11:13:21 AM  

Raider_dad: Amazon is the Walmart of the internet.


And I for one won't shop at either. Pickup an item or two every few months or so but that's it.
Hell I have Prime now for video and still won't shop there. The "free shipping" is BS. Same seller on two different platforms wants a 20 difference in price for the same product. One is free shipping on amazon, the other is paid shipping, same total price.
 
2018-03-04 11:14:17 AM  
Also, people have forgotten VALUE DOES NOT EQUAL PRICE.
 
2018-03-04 11:24:45 AM  

Mad_Radhu: There's one way to make sure your downtown has lots of nice shops:

[img.fark.net image 425x318]


The local pot shop will go under with the next Amazon expansion.
 
2018-03-04 11:24:48 AM  

Caelistis: gingerjet: meanwhile when a Home Depot opened up near my house - the local hardware store adapted and is now flourishing -

I have to agree with this. When the Home Depot opened up a town over, I started going there when it first opened and stopped going to my local hardware store. After a couple of months, I started going back to my local hardware store because the people at Home Depot knew little to nothing about their products or the best applications of them. My local hardware store guy can cite construction code off the top of his head and helps with making sure you get all the right things you need to both meet your needs and pass a code inspection.


Had a local hardware store that was great. Most of it was back behind the counter. Just about any type of faucet, washer, or myriad other little tidbits one might need they had, and they would recognize what you were bringing in or describing from decades of experience. Homedepot drove them out because you can't survive just selling o-rings for ancient plumbing. People would buy a cheap Chinese made shovel at HomeDepot rather that the nicer ones they sold, and then buy another one two years later when the handle rotted and the blade rusted because it was made with iron rather than steel. It take a bit of time to recognize that cheaper is often not worth the price. And that's the deal with Walmart.

People who are saying you have to evolve don't quite get it. An invasive species can come in and strangle out an ecosystem but then die out itself because it was taking advantage of a rich soil that it deplete. Then you're left with a dessert. Succession and evolution don't always result in something better. You often get short term booms followed by big busts. Evolution isn't a process that plans ahead. It can't.
 
2018-03-04 11:30:14 AM  

dv-ous: Resistance to minor change leaves you even further behind when bigger changes come. Adapt of die.


This message lost on conservatives.
 
2018-03-04 11:33:27 AM  

wademh: It take a bit of time to recognize that cheaper is often not worth the price. And that's the deal with Walmart.


Yep. Walmart's going out of business any day now. ANY. DAY. NOW...

img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2018-03-04 11:51:23 AM  

Stone Meadow: wademh: It take a bit of time to recognize that cheaper is often not worth the price. And that's the deal with Walmart.

Yep. Walmart's going out of business any day now. ANY. DAY. NOW...

[img.fark.net image 480x338]


Who said walmart was going out of business? Walmart is a giant parasite that is doing well. It's the hosts that are suffering, and doing so willingly. There's enough stupid out there to keep people shopping at walmart. Good for Walmart, not so good for the people who now have little choice but to shop there.
 
2018-03-04 12:04:53 PM  
Eh. This is the way the world is moving. It's generally more efficient to shop online so local stores are going to go out of business. All those little towns will be emptied out as they probably should be. 50 years ago transportation became fast and easy. There's no reason to have a small town every 5 miles.
 
2018-03-04 12:19:35 PM  

nemisonic: West Lebanon NH (Next to Hanover where Dartmouth Ivy League college is) kept Wal-Mart out for years from 1994-2000. Then finally one came in and wiped out the other stores in the 2000's.
Now it is closing and all my former classmates have to drive 60-100 miles to Manchester NH or up to Montreal for decent low cost shopping options.

//But Tuna is only $0.66 a can if you got one in town


No kidding? I hated going to that (or any) Walmart but there wasn't anywhere else to go in the area.

/'04 grad.
//Hanover isn't a college town; college towns don't close down at 4 pm every day.
///slashies
 
2018-03-04 12:34:59 PM  

ReapTheChaos: "But who will be left to sponsor softball teams or floats in parades if there is no more small-town retail?"

Like everything else that's outlived its usefulness, who cares? You want your kid to play softball over the summer vacation, how about covering the cost yourself?


You don't understand the type of folk living in these Victorian era small towns.

They're middle to lower-middle class whites leveraged to the hilt to "live in the best school district" with a massive three figure mortgage that gobbles up most of their income.

They live in beautiful homes in wonderful communities, but drive used cars, eat rice and beans, and shop consignment.

Many of them even benefit from local food banks that serve an invisible needy Caucasian population who merit welfare more on the numbers than the circumstances.

These house-poor people can't afford to pay for their Norman Rockwellian life.

You can't possible understand this if you live on the coasts. It's a middle America lifestyle hack sort of thing.

/is from Michigan
//watched this phenomenon destroy his profession
/// I hear these come in threes, so here you go
 
2018-03-04 12:53:02 PM  

wademh: Stone Meadow: wademh: It take a bit of time to recognize that cheaper is often not worth the price. And that's the deal with Walmart.

Yep. Walmart's going out of business any day now. ANY. DAY. NOW...

[img.fark.net image 480x338]

Who said walmart was going out of business? Walmart is a giant parasite that is doing well. It's the hosts that are suffering, and doing so willingly. There's enough stupid out there to keep people shopping at walmart. Good for Walmart, not so good for the people who now have little choice but to shop there.


I took your comment that "It take a bit of time to recognize that cheaper is often not worth the price" to mean that you think Walmart has a losing business model.

If not I withdraw the remark and apologize.
 
2018-03-04 01:01:18 PM  
Let's be real here: most small businesses suck. I ran a chain of them (repair shops for electronics) before realizing what a shiat show the whole thing was and getting out. I was active in multiple small business Chambers and organizations, and the vast majority of my fellow members were the definition of middle men. They created nothing, built nothing, added nothing. They took other people's work, added an arbitrary markup, and called it a day. Many had labor practices that would make Walmart blush and say "that's not right". Pay for employees rarely went above minimum wage, and the very idea of benefits was a joke. These are the businesses that are being driven it by Amazon.

The good ones: the ones that are building things and offering customers something special and magical, are doing just fine.
 
2018-03-04 01:13:28 PM  

MBZ321: Big boxes are now the new local store, and towns need to hold onto them just as much, because they aren't getting tax revenue from Amazon that's for sure.


The local sales tax rates are the final straw that motivated me to shop online as much as possible. I live in a city where the annual budget has tripled in about 12 years (just under $30 million in 2002 to over $100 million in 2014) and it's been tax hike after tax hike after tax hike. That, and my city is paired with a twin city immediately north. Between the two of them they have a gentleman's agreement that tax rates are hiked the same on either side of the boundary so that there isn't competition. If businesses were doing this to collectively raise prices executives would be going to prison for collusion, but somehow when city council members do it that's OK. After a 6.25% state sales tax you add on city & county sales tax rates and it's pushed above 9%, even higher for alcohol and restaurant sales.

DMDmarty: The "free shipping" is BS. Same seller on two different platforms wants a 20 difference in price for the same product. One is free shipping on amazon, the other is paid shipping, same total price.


I've found the best shopping is on Amazon when you look at the "other sellers" options. You find places that are listing on Amazon, but fulfilling through their own ordering & shipping system. Through Amazon charges me at least state sales tax rates (6.25%) but Amazon does not (currently) charge local sales tax rates. The other sellers are often people that charge zero sales tax if they are out-of-state.

If I find two items available, one local and one online, that come out to be about the same price for me? I will choose the online one if I can avoid paying sales tax and instead pay for shipping. Something that is $100 locally will end up being about $109 after taxes, but if I can get it for $100 online and pay UPS or FedEx $9 to ship it I will do that. The shipping keeps people employed just the same as if I bought it at a local store and indirectly paid retail employees, but my satisfaction comes from denying my city and state the sales tax revenue. As terrible as they are at budgeting, I can't be an enabler who gives them more money.
 
2018-03-04 01:43:00 PM  

Stone Meadow: wademh: Stone Meadow: wademh: It take a bit of time to recognize that cheaper is often not worth the price. And that's the deal with Walmart.

Yep. Walmart's going out of business any day now. ANY. DAY. NOW...

[img.fark.net image 480x338]

Who said walmart was going out of business? Walmart is a giant parasite that is doing well. It's the hosts that are suffering, and doing so willingly. There's enough stupid out there to keep people shopping at walmart. Good for Walmart, not so good for the people who now have little choice but to shop there.

I took your comment that "It take a bit of time to recognize that cheaper is often not worth the price" to mean that you think Walmart has a losing business model.

If not I withdraw the remark and apologize.


I'm not worried about apologies. I'm concerned that people are confusing what's good for Walmart with what's good for a town that Walmart sets up shop in. As to what I meant, a cheaper tool is very often not worth the price. Of course it depends on if one use is all you have in mind or if you want to buy the tool once and use it for a lifetime. Or is cheap things at HomeDepot now worth the reduced variety longer term? There are all sorts of things that make good money short term and lose out long term. A corporate raider can come in and make some quick money selling off a company and then shutting it down. But there are lots of reason why a country would want to discourage that sort of thing in favor of long term stability with lots of jobs.
 
2018-03-04 01:44:07 PM  

gingerjet: <i>Partly because of Norman's efforts to keep out such stores, Greenfield still has a Main Street with dozens of businesses, including a bookstore, a record store, and Wilson's, one of the last independently owned department stores in the country.</i>

My grandparents quaint little town also had a Main Street full of businesses.  Businesses that had poor selections, lousy service, and high prices.  They celebrated when a Walmart opened up two towns over.  Those businesses were already going out of business before it opened.  It just accelerated the process.

/meanwhile when a Home Depot opened up near my house - the local hardware store adapted and is now flourishing -


Not to mention that that department store was the Walmart of its day. How many smaller stores did it put out of business when it opened?
 
kab
2018-03-04 09:06:44 PM  
Consumers are finding that the pursuit of low prices and high convienence is leaving them in an undesirable situation?

Huh.  Pity.
 
2018-03-04 09:48:13 PM  

wademh: Had a local hardware store that was great. Most of it was back behind the counter. Just about any type of faucet, washer, or myriad other little tidbits one might need they had, and they would recognize what you were bringing in or describing from decades of experience. Homedepot drove them out because you can't survive just selling o-rings for ancient plumbing. People would buy a cheap Chinese made shovel at HomeDepot rather that the nicer ones they sold, and then buy another one two years later when the handle rotted and the blade rusted because it was made with iron rather than steel. It take a bit of time to recognize that cheaper is often not worth the price. And that's the deal with Walmart.

People who are saying you have to evolve don't quite get it. An invasive species can come in and strangle out an ecosystem but then die out itself because it was taking advantage of a rich soil that it deplete. Then you're left with a dessert. Succession and evolution don't always result in something better. You often get short term booms followed by big busts. Evolution isn't a process that plans ahead. It can't.


There's really only one American shovel company, Ames True Temper*, and you can buy the exact same shovels at Home Depot or Lowes that you can at your local hardware store... it's just that a percentage of people cheap out when they see a nearly identical looking shovel for half the price right next to it.

*They use a lot of different brand names, but if says "Made in the US" on it, it's one of theirs... they're also America's oldest manufacturer as Captain John Ames started making shovels in 1774, then switched to guns during the revolution.
 
2018-03-04 10:09:57 PM  
I admit, I'm a small-towner who is killing my local stores by buying Amazon instead.

Mainly because Amazon doesn't close at 7 PM and they have more than half of the things on my shopping list, unlike the small town stores.

Now about the only thing I buy locally is food, and even that is because of a lack of a better option - our grocery store has a barely adequate selection.  Well, to be fair, since it's Wisconsin they have an amazing selection of bratwurst and cheeses (though not those imported foreign cheeses!).
 
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