Everybody loves convenience, right? The easy way, the path of least resistance. Amazon is the epitome of making your life require less work, combined with those prices, lower than just about any local store. It’s now resulted in it becoming an ever increasing monster corporation, swallowing up competitors left and right. “But, but, but…those low prices! Those are excellent right?” I hear folks saying. “I’m not gonna spend more than I need to!”
Bezos is now the richest man in the world, and Amazon has taken over Whole Foods, the epitome of classy, high quality supermarkets around here. And guess what’s happening? That smiley you see on your package has started to micro-manage the stores, for example by telling managers they cannot stock shelves meant for a particular out-of-stock product with something else so it doesn’t look like the Soviet Union anno 1985! There are constant checks of procedure and any manager with three write-ups gets let go. You see, when you feed the beast, allow it to grow to astronomical proportions, you can’t stop it anymore.
It’s very interesting in this time of seemingly extra heightened awareness of the “top 1%”, the big power brokers, the illuminati, that so many don’t seem we create those concentrations of power with our own behavior. Just like the guy a few years ago, complaining to me about mega companies, talking about the Occupy movement, whipping out a brand new iPhone! Or my neighbor who lost his USB backup of his music library, who can’t get his music off of his iPhone again, blaming himself for this loss. not the inherently flawed ecosystem he jumps into time and time again without question. Or a whole country that time and time again keeps voting in millionaires and crooks, somehow initially caring more for meaningless appeasement and proclaimed family values than even factual history. Is it really strange that there is corruption among the leaders of a land in which a good majority would do just about anything for more money?
A couple of years ago, the Prime Minister of The Netherlands (who rode a bike to work by the way, and yes, even in the winter!) told a nation of many complaining about the demise of small local stores in the heart of old cities that they did it to themselves! Are we going to let Amazon destroy our own infrastructure of independence? Our diverse tapestry of mom and pops? Just keep in mind what happens when there’s no more competition! And don’t think for one second those low, low prices are here to stay forever. The classic scheme is to prop up a new business with investors’ capital, lure you in, then up it to whatever the market will bear.
Another interesting example is Facebook; it’s allowed us to “live” if you will in the world without even going anywhere. It brings us stories, pictures of the ones we care about, news that we need to know… or does it? It strikes me as hilarious that people complain when FB doesn’t show their important posts to others, or when it spreads nonsensical fake news. Yet, they keep going back for more! In a logical universe it would have been cast aside a LONG time ago, but somehow it’s still with us. I created an “event” on my page for a gig tonight; after three days it has been shown to 17 people; out of 300+ followers! Of course it’s simply because after being completely free in the beginning, now they want you to PAY to promote your post. But somehow, most musicians here in the city of knuckleheads, have abandoned, or neglected their personal websites; you know, the ones we actually OWN. And why? In my opinion, a good guess is because it’s just too hard to have to go to individual websites to find out where someone is playing. I hear them saying it: “You mean I have to do something? Why would I if my phone just lets me know?”
Finally, I want you to know I’m not just talk. I put my money where my mouth is, as much as I can. Two months ago I wanted to buy a Yamaha P115; Guitar Center, which ironically is the very closest place to my house to buy one had it for $600+tax, about $650, although they would have matched any legitimate price. Online I could have bought it for $550 shipped, brand new from a dealer. Keyboard Concepts, a local small dealer had it for the same price as GC and they got my business.