Avoiding Amazon

It’s hard to avoid the Amazon behemoth even if you prefer to send your business to other companies. And, there’s not a whole lot an individual householder can do to spread the wealth around because, not much wealth.

But here are a few things you can do.

  • Most importantly: try to think of yourself as a householder or citizen, not a consumer.  You mean more than your community than just another machine to  buy manufactured goods and convert them to trash.
  • Whenever your household needs something, ask yourself this: Do I have a way to thank the person who provides it? Try to send your business where it’s possible to say “thanks!”
  • If you have supermarkets near you, find out which one hires lots of teenagers and buy your food from them. They’re serving the rest of us not just by feeding us but by employing some of us and teaching our young people how to work.
  • Don’t pay for Amazon Prime. It’s a great deal, for Amazon. For the rest of us, it exploits the sunk-cost fallacy. It makes us think “I’ve already paid for that, so I may as well use it.” Prime is a powerful hack of the human psyche. Two-day shipping? Really? For $99 a year?
  • Use Worldcat.org to look up books, movies, and other such things. Worldcat, a non-for-profit organization, searches the catalogs of many libraries, public and academic, all over the world. It even suggests a library near you with the book you want to read.
  • Send Worldcat links to people when you want to tell them about a movie to watch or a book to read, instead of a link to Amazon.
  • Patronize your local public library. Bookmark the link to their online catalog and learn to use it.  If you can’t get around for health reasons, you may be able to get them to mail you books and other materials to borrow.
  • The library has another wonderful feature. You don’t have to keep the book when you’re finished reading it. By returning it, you’re automatically sharing it with your neighbors!
  • If you can’t borrow a book and must buy it, patronize your local bookstore or Barnes and Noble.
  • Ebay has just about everything Amazon offers for sale. Often you can buy from the same merchants on both platforms. And, Ebay’s merchant ratings allow you to say “thanks!”
  • If you need electronic or computer stuff, try Monoprice, Newegg, or B & H Photo.  All have competitive prices, and all will ship overnight for a tiny fraction of that $99 you saved by not subscribing to Amazon Prime.
  • If you need the sort of things  Amazon Web Services offers, try Digital Ocean.  If you need large-scale online data storage, try Backblaze B2.
  • Keep in mind that the costs of “Cash Back” on that premium credit card are usually paid by the merchants you patronize.



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