July 06 2017
Greater Good/Money

Escaping the Amazon Event Horizon

Remember a time before it was possible to have the passing desire to own something, and then within five seconds, find the cheapest version of that thing, order it and have it in your hands less than 48 hours later?  Me either.  Amazon has revolutionized the way we live.  I ordered a shower curtain while I wrote this.

But here’s my case for why it’s worth it to conjure a teaspoon of awareness about our mindless shopping habits and ponder whether the companies we give our money to are promoting our values.

Recently, I made a list of every company I regularly give money to.  I learned that I buy so many products and support so many companies, it is almost inconceivable.  Many of those products are either harmful to my family’s health, harmful to the planet, or manufactured by Evil Corporations (EC’s).  In an age when our election booth may as well have a giant “out of order” sign hanging on the door, voting with my wallet is important to me, as sad and sorry a substitute for democracy as that is. It’s not good enough, but it is still worth doing.

This is why I resolved to clean up my Consumer Life List little by little, starting with the biggest things first.

It was immediately clear that the starting point had to be Amazon, the black hole of shopping.

Look, I know… Amazon is great.  It’s convenient!  It’s time-saving!  It’s money-saving!  It’s also more than a little disturbing on a certain level.  Remember in Looney Tune cartoons how everything came from Acme? This is literally about to be our society.  No, I am not going to abstain completely from dancing with my dark lover.  But when Amazon has engineered shopping to be as automatic, effortless and thoughtless as breathing, some intentionality must brought into the picture.

Is Amazon inherently worse than any other retailer?

I have no idea.  Jeff Bezos seems like a lousy guy and it’s pretty well established that some Amazon employees work in the seventh circle of hell. But I do not need a list of every dark deed to know that Amazon grows bigger and more powerful each day. And I’m not just talking about Whole Foods, which, in its infinite karmic poverty, probably deserves to be eaten by Amazon.  I just have an ingrained distrust for companies that are as big and influential as Amazon. Few have proven themselves undeserving of my disdain.

EC’s put small companies out of business.  They blossom into monopolies and screw over consumers. They take advantage of their most vulnerable employees.  They trash the planet. They bribe the government to pass laws they like. This bugs me most of all.  Corporations are not people and there is no end to the damage done by legal decisions that have dishonored that fundamental truth.

Every time I hit “place order” on Amazon, I feel a twinge of guilt.

I know I’m not the only one.  One of my favorite blogs was literally inspired by a regrettable trail of Amazon purchases. When I shop at Amazon, I’m choosing to support a world dominating EC, instead of, say, a store that I’d like to keep around in my neighborhood.

A great outdoor shop here closed recently.  Everyone wailed in mutual rage over the insane rents, but the owners said that what really drove them out of business was the online competition. I reflected sheepishly on the his and hers day packs I bought on Amazon over the last year.

Sainted local mom and pops aside, sometimes it would be a relief to even just give money to … a slightly less enormous, slightly less evil EC.

But I don’t want to be a chump, either!

Why should I pay $21 for a book that I can get for $15 on Amazon? In what way is wasting money, when you don’t have money to spare, a smart or noble deed? Many people have no choice but to go for the absolute cheapest option.  I begrudge them nothing. Others tread this line when they decide to pay more for, say, organic milk, but then refuse to buy some other more expensive thing that they deem to be a rip off.  No one wants to be taken advantage of.  It gets really dicey when those with the privilege to do so start worrying about the inherent injustices perpetrated against the human and environmental casualties of the “cheapest possible goods” supply chain.

I don’t fool myself to think that every single one of the millions of purchases I make can be the optimal ethical choice.  But if I make an effort, I can cut down on the money I send to Amazon and other EC’s.  Who knows, maybe we can even forestall the time before we have to endure the Amazon Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, Amazon Central Park and the Amazon Nobel Prize. I don’t want to live to see Amazon Prime Day become a national holiday.

My quest begins with the incredible record that is my Amazon order history.

I looked back to get a sense of what kinds of purchases I mostly depend on Amazon for. My trip down memory lane resulted in me re-ordering a shower curtain, mid-sentence.  I have bought this shower curtain about six times now. Many a shower curtain has failed to meet my specifications of being transparent, PVC free, affordable and aesthetically pleasing.  For me, this is peak shower curtain.  And the place I get it is Amazon.

Sometimes you just need exactly what you need and Amazon is the cheapest and fastest way to get it without jumping through hoops. In those instances, a reasonable person would have to agree, there is no shame in saving money and time.  Plus, buying my shower curtain on Amazon means buying the one thing I need.  Try walking into Target for a shower curtain and coming out with nothing else.

But Amazon gets its strength from propagating the myth that it is always the fastest and cheapest option.

It is not.  I needed (using the term “needed” loosely here) a box of black pencils recently.  I thoughtlessly ordered them on Amazon.  Like magic, they arrived two days later.  They were unexceptional in every way.  I looked at my order – I spent almost $14 on a box of pencils. I was obviously in an Amazon trance when this transaction took place. In the Amazon cortex of the brain, $14 is a great price for an item rush shipped to your home, whatever it may be.

One day we’ll all be implanted with little chips so that we can just visualize an item and, before we know it, a drone is dropping it on our head before we can think it through any further. OK, calm down Grandma!, you say.  But our grandparents, in their wildest dreams, could not have imagined this either.

But back to shopping, pre-dystopia style.

I have a few odds and ends in my Amazon order history, but mainly, there are just a handful of categories that account for the vast majority of my purchases. They are, in this order: books, toys and art supplies, gifts, home and garden supplies and pet supplies.  Even if I look only at these categories, at only this one retailer, I will make a dent in my EC expenditure.

The good news is that I can identify retail alternatives as well as alternate strategies for every one of these categories.  Stay tuned for “part two” — my suggestions on how to hide from Amazon once in a while.  Just for fun. While we still have a few other options to choose from.

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  • I love Amazon. Maybe I shouldn’t, but I do. And, compared to many if the big boxes that might get my business otherwise (Hi Walmart) it doesn’t seem so bad.

    But, you’re right about the fact that it is not cheaper for everything. And the marketplace set up means you have to beware of counterfeit products and markups, even as it allows some space for small businesses to make e-commerce practical. I’ll be interested to see what alternative s you come up with.

    • I love Amazon too – that’s why it’s where so much of my money goes! I have always been very smug about not shopping at Walmart, but – there is no Walmart here! So it’s not like my Walmart boycott is any real sacrifice on my part. I think that there are things that we buy on Amazon that are no brainers… things that we couldn’t find as easily in a nearby store, or things that you need that are legitimately cheaper. My AC window brackets that my landlord made me buy – perfect example. But what I am trying to remember is that 75% of the things I buy are purely discretionary, may of which I would never even buy if Amazon didn’t exist. So of those things I need to 1. abstain from buying every thing I have a passing urge to own and 2. at least sometimes, procure those things in other ways.

  • I struggle with this, too. In one of my recent posts I talked about the declining share of money going to the labor force. One big component of that trend is increasing monopolies. While researching I was totally on board until realizing that some of the worst offenders in this regard are Amazon and Google.

    It’s easy to rail against the system. It’s hard to actually correct your behavior. And that is where I am stuck. Maybe it would be better for the country if I stopped using Google Products and I stopped buying things from Amazon. But they have both become such big tools in my life that it is hard to cut them out.

    I’m looking forward to Part 2 to see what tips you’ve got for escaping this conundrum.

    • It always comes down to the question, do I save money, or do I support a company I want to support? I don’t always choose to save money, but neither could I possibly afford to always choose the latter. If I was wealthy, I would. I wish every bit of clothing I owned was made by well-paid seamstresses, like my 99 year old Aunt, who worked in NYC’s garment district for decades and had a good paying job and a great life. I wish I could always buy the organic blueberries, or the planter handmade from wood, instead of the cheap plastic one. It will always be a balancing act for anyone who has limited funds. I won’t stop buying my favorite shower curtain on Amazon. But I have made other tweaks and I will make more.

  • Oh man, I feel you on this one! I love the convenience and price of most Amazon items, but I’m often drawn to the idea of supporting our local community stores even if it costs a bit more.

    It is amazing to see how reliant I have become on Amazon. Gift giving, quick needs, monthly stock up items… the list goes on. It has become my go-to price check location and I often will buy on Amazon instead of elsewhere due to the price and Prime shipping, but it still annoys me…

    • I have so many empty store fronts in my neighborhood, and it really is a terrible loss. Between the unsustainable rents and the online competition, maybe I am fighting against the tide, maybe it is a losing battle. But I just refuse to surrender everything to this one company.

  • Urf, I feel ya. These days it feels nearly impossible to shop at a store that mirrors our values as conscious consumers. :/ Although I do have to say Amazon stomps out the competition many times when it comes to pricing.

    • For certain things, no question it has the best prices. Not everything, but large pieces of the consumer goods pie, for sure. Of course, someone always pays the price. Perhaps not me, when I buy something. But there is cost, somewhere out there, hidden from view. A local shop closed, an author poorly paid, a slave in everything but name, exploited and exhausted in a depressing warehouse somewhere. It is hard to push against this and shop our values, but it is worth at least trying. At least sometimes.

  • I’m late to the Amazon game. For years, I never understood what people bought there. I’d always walk over to Rite Aid and buy my household things there (on sale, of course). My friends told me they bought tons of stuff from there and I was like, “Like, what???” As a single person, purchases there didn’t make that much sense to me.

    But now that I’m shacked up with my SO and going through supplies 3x as fast, I’ve fallen victim. We have a pet food place around the corner but it’s twice as expensive as Amazon. So, mostly stuff like toilet paper, paper towels, etc. I don’t buy clothes or shoes from there, though. That’s still a weird concept I haven’t gotten used to.

    I also find their grocery items to be super lacking, so we still keep it pretty local on that front.

    • Groceries are not worth it on Amazon and I don’t really get buying clothes or shoes there either, except sometimes specific kids shoes. It all seems weird and not a good shopping experience. Chewy.com is the absolute cheapest for pet stuff and their shipping is very fast. But you do have a minimum. I just try to buy everything all at once. I have found a few things there that are significantly cheaper than Amazon. I shop at Costco for toilet paper and stuff like that. I get some household stuff at Jet.com, which is now owned by Walmart and so in equally dicey karmic territory. I do have two great locally owned “discount” stores near me and I get some household stuff there. But I probably spend more money at my local deli than anywhere else. And though they are the most expensive option, I at least have no guilt whatsoever about giving them money.

  • I think your looney tunes reference is dead on, I think we are all like Wile E. Coyote chasing the roadrunner, when it comes to Amazon, we’ll never catch or in this case change the behavior. Our family is using it more and more these days for convenience and savings, but still shop locally too. I tend not to focus on these things. I certainly wouldn’t support any company I knew wasn’t ethical, but often don’t dig that deep.

  • I like Amazon, but I understand your point and I applaud your effort toward value-based spending. One thing that might lessen the sting of buying from Amazon is to use Amazon Smile (https://smile.amazon.com/) which lets you designate a charity which will receive 0.5% of your purchase price. Admittedly, that’s not a lot, but it does add up and hopefully does some good.

  • You definitely nailed it with Amazon’s strategy to convince you that they are *always* the fastest and cheapest option. I’ve run into plenty of times where they weren’t. The selection is huge, but sometimes the locally owned hardware store is the better option 🙂

    Plus, I get the exact *opposite* feeling when I shop at a mom and pop store – supporting neighbors is a great feeling and one I fear is being lost with the shift to convenient, drone-delivered impersonal shopping.

    • I agree. We used to have a little art supply store nearby and while it was small, and didn’t have the biggest selection, and it wasn’t the cheapest, I often found myself in there. There is something about a local art supply store that feels cozy, wholesome and inspiring. It closed recently and it has been such a loss. Sometimes I think people don’t realize how important those small local stores are until they are gone.

  • So, I was curious after I read this post and I reviewed the last few months of Amazon orders. And, though I expected worst, I wasn’t too disappointed in myself. We ordered many things that we couldn’t easily procure locally – like boat parts and replacement car key fobs. On the other hand, I did order books and vitamins too, so there’s that.

    One thing I’ve been doing with our smaller, local businesses is ask if they prefer cash over credit card payments. One local business told me they prefer the cash so they don’t have to pay the credit card fees. This is a simple and easy way to help out, even if it’s just a small amount.

    • That says a lot about you, Amanda, to pay cash as a way to help out a local business. I pay for my $8 lunch with my credit card! I just looked at my Amazon purchases for May and June – It’s like a kind of embarrassing diary! 3 books, 1 toy, 1 pet item, 5 gifts, a backpack and 7 household items from AC window brackets to aluminum straws to the most questionable purchase of the quarter, a cold brew coffee carafe! This all needs to come WAY down.

  • I do like the convenience of Amazon, but I don’t shop very often. I remember getting a great deal on a valve for my clothes washer last fall, one that I had searched high and low in local stores for. To be honest, that may have been the last thing I purchased from them. I was tempted to buy an AeroPress prior to our camping trip last month, but I resisted the impulse. : ) Because Amazon doesn’t require a soul sucking physical shopping experience, it’s less offensive than Walmart in my books.

    • No question, and like I said, the good thing about Amazon is you can order the ONE thing you need. Once you get involved in shopping in a huge store, it’s hard not to come away with extraneous items. I have a terrible psychosis where I don’t feel like it is worth it to wait on line in a big store if I have only one thing. Very, very bad!

  • The only way ECs are going to be less evil is if they can buy fewer favors from the government. For example, no EC is paying the government to shut down free speech. That’s because the First Amendment stops the government from selling speech rights to the highest bidders. But ECs are free to buy favors when it comes to such things as taxes, regulations, and environmental laws. Sigh. Absent a government with less favors to sell, the only way to combat ECs is to be mindful of your spending. I like your style, Linda. Yes, you’re tilting at windmills. But it’s all you got now. Perhaps one day you’ll have an army of tilters at your side. Thanks for another profound post. And thanks for the picture of the Raiders of the Lost Ark warehouse. How fitting.

  • Always been an Amazon fan, mostly because I hate to walk into stores and have to deal with people. Especially Wal-Mart, but like Disney World they have removed so much friction from purchasing that money almost doesn’t feel real on Amazon anymore. Good for them terrible for me.

    • I bought like five things on Amazon since I wrote this post. I agree, it is great and there are some times when Amazon just makes things so easy. But I know there is a dark side to this so I just try to buys things in other places when I can. Amazon has makes the experience of shopping so easy. I really believe it is that aspect, even more than price, that people gravitate to. I find deals that are just as good quite often, and often the only difference is the small amount of extra time that is necessary to deal with another, less user-friendly site. And in the grand scheme of life, that is do-able.

    1. Mr FD @FinancialDebauchery 11:56am 17 July - 2017 - Reply

      Always been an Amazon fan, mostly because I hate to walk into stores and have to deal with people. Especially Wal-Mart, but like Disney World they have removed so much friction from purchasing that money almost doesn’t feel real on Amazon anymore. Good for them terrible for me.

      • Brooklyn Bread 06:26pm 17 July - 2017 - Reply

        I bought like five things on Amazon since I wrote this post. I agree, it is great and there are some times when Amazon just makes things so easy. But I know there is a dark side to this so I just try to buys things in other places when I can. Amazon has makes the experience of shopping so easy. I really believe it is that aspect, even more than price, that people gravitate to. I find deals that are just as good quite often, and often the only difference is the small amount of extra time that is necessary to deal with another, less user-friendly site. And in the grand scheme of life, that is do-able.

    2. Mr. Groovy 02:45pm 10 July - 2017 - Reply

      The only way ECs are going to be less evil is if they can buy fewer favors from the government. For example, no EC is paying the government to shut down free speech. That’s because the First Amendment stops the government from selling speech rights to the highest bidders. But ECs are free to buy favors when it comes to such things as taxes, regulations, and environmental laws. Sigh. Absent a government with less favors to sell, the only way to combat ECs is to be mindful of your spending. I like your style, Linda. Yes, you’re tilting at windmills. But it’s all you got now. Perhaps one day you’ll have an army of tilters at your side. Thanks for another profound post. And thanks for the picture of the Raiders of the Lost Ark warehouse. How fitting.

      • Brooklyn Bread 04:04pm 10 July - 2017 - Reply

        Oh I am so happy someone caught that! It’s the small things… (And thank you for this) xo

    3. Mystery Money Man 12:45am 09 July - 2017 - Reply

      I do like the convenience of Amazon, but I don’t shop very often. I remember getting a great deal on a valve for my clothes washer last fall, one that I had searched high and low in local stores for. To be honest, that may have been the last thing I purchased from them. I was tempted to buy an AeroPress prior to our camping trip last month, but I resisted the impulse. : ) Because Amazon doesn’t require a soul sucking physical shopping experience, it’s less offensive than Walmart in my books.

      • Brooklyn Bread 01:29pm 09 July - 2017 - Reply

        No question, and like I said, the good thing about Amazon is you can order the ONE thing you need. Once you get involved in shopping in a huge store, it’s hard not to come away with extraneous items. I have a terrible psychosis where I don’t feel like it is worth it to wait on line in a big store if I have only one thing. Very, very bad!

    4. Amanda @ centsiblyrich 10:04pm 06 July - 2017 - Reply

      So, I was curious after I read this post and I reviewed the last few months of Amazon orders. And, though I expected worst, I wasn’t too disappointed in myself. We ordered many things that we couldn’t easily procure locally – like boat parts and replacement car key fobs. On the other hand, I did order books and vitamins too, so there’s that.

      One thing I’ve been doing with our smaller, local businesses is ask if they prefer cash over credit card payments. One local business told me they prefer the cash so they don’t have to pay the credit card fees. This is a simple and easy way to help out, even if it’s just a small amount.

      • Brooklyn Bread 12:13pm 07 July - 2017 - Reply

        That says a lot about you, Amanda, to pay cash as a way to help out a local business. I pay for my $8 lunch with my credit card! I just looked at my Amazon purchases for May and June – It’s like a kind of embarrassing diary! 3 books, 1 toy, 1 pet item, 5 gifts, a backpack and 7 household items from AC window brackets to aluminum straws to the most questionable purchase of the quarter, a cold brew coffee carafe! This all needs to come WAY down.

    5. Chris @ Keep Thrifty 08:11pm 06 July - 2017 - Reply

      You definitely nailed it with Amazon’s strategy to convince you that they are *always* the fastest and cheapest option. I’ve run into plenty of times where they weren’t. The selection is huge, but sometimes the locally owned hardware store is the better option 🙂

      Plus, I get the exact *opposite* feeling when I shop at a mom and pop store – supporting neighbors is a great feeling and one I fear is being lost with the shift to convenient, drone-delivered impersonal shopping.

      • Brooklyn Bread 02:16pm 07 July - 2017 - Reply

        I agree. We used to have a little art supply store nearby and while it was small, and didn’t have the biggest selection, and it wasn’t the cheapest, I often found myself in there. There is something about a local art supply store that feels cozy, wholesome and inspiring. It closed recently and it has been such a loss. Sometimes I think people don’t realize how important those small local stores are until they are gone.

    6. Gary @ Super Saving Tips 04:30pm 06 July - 2017 - Reply

      I like Amazon, but I understand your point and I applaud your effort toward value-based spending. One thing that might lessen the sting of buying from Amazon is to use Amazon Smile (https://smile.amazon.com/) which lets you designate a charity which will receive 0.5% of your purchase price. Admittedly, that’s not a lot, but it does add up and hopefully does some good.

    7. Brian 01:49pm 06 July - 2017 - Reply

      I think your looney tunes reference is dead on, I think we are all like Wile E. Coyote chasing the roadrunner, when it comes to Amazon, we’ll never catch or in this case change the behavior. Our family is using it more and more these days for convenience and savings, but still shop locally too. I tend not to focus on these things. I certainly wouldn’t support any company I knew wasn’t ethical, but often don’t dig that deep.

      • Brooklyn Bread 06:07pm 06 July - 2017 - Reply

        I get that not everyone has this degree of inner turmoil about where they shop.

    8. The Luxe Strategist 10:49am 06 July - 2017 - Reply

      I’m late to the Amazon game. For years, I never understood what people bought there. I’d always walk over to Rite Aid and buy my household things there (on sale, of course). My friends told me they bought tons of stuff from there and I was like, “Like, what???” As a single person, purchases there didn’t make that much sense to me.

      But now that I’m shacked up with my SO and going through supplies 3x as fast, I’ve fallen victim. We have a pet food place around the corner but it’s twice as expensive as Amazon. So, mostly stuff like toilet paper, paper towels, etc. I don’t buy clothes or shoes from there, though. That’s still a weird concept I haven’t gotten used to.

      I also find their grocery items to be super lacking, so we still keep it pretty local on that front.

      • Brooklyn Bread 06:07pm 06 July - 2017 - Reply

        Groceries are not worth it on Amazon and I don’t really get buying clothes or shoes there either, except sometimes specific kids shoes. It all seems weird and not a good shopping experience. Chewy.com is the absolute cheapest for pet stuff and their shipping is very fast. But you do have a minimum. I just try to buy everything all at once. I have found a few things there that are significantly cheaper than Amazon. I shop at Costco for toilet paper and stuff like that. I get some household stuff at Jet.com, which is now owned by Walmart and so in equally dicey karmic territory. I do have two great locally owned “discount” stores near me and I get some household stuff there. But I probably spend more money at my local deli than anywhere else. And though they are the most expensive option, I at least have no guilt whatsoever about giving them money.

    9. Mrs. Picky Pincher 10:01am 06 July - 2017 - Reply

      Urf, I feel ya. These days it feels nearly impossible to shop at a store that mirrors our values as conscious consumers. :/ Although I do have to say Amazon stomps out the competition many times when it comes to pricing.

      • Brooklyn Bread 10:21am 06 July - 2017 - Reply

        For certain things, no question it has the best prices. Not everything, but large pieces of the consumer goods pie, for sure. Of course, someone always pays the price. Perhaps not me, when I buy something. But there is cost, somewhere out there, hidden from view. A local shop closed, an author poorly paid, a slave in everything but name, exploited and exhausted in a depressing warehouse somewhere. It is hard to push against this and shop our values, but it is worth at least trying. At least sometimes.

    10. Mrs. Adventure Rich 09:39am 06 July - 2017 - Reply

      Oh man, I feel you on this one! I love the convenience and price of most Amazon items, but I’m often drawn to the idea of supporting our local community stores even if it costs a bit more.

      It is amazing to see how reliant I have become on Amazon. Gift giving, quick needs, monthly stock up items… the list goes on. It has become my go-to price check location and I often will buy on Amazon instead of elsewhere due to the price and Prime shipping, but it still annoys me…

      • Brooklyn Bread 10:00am 06 July - 2017 - Reply

        I have so many empty store fronts in my neighborhood, and it really is a terrible loss. Between the unsustainable rents and the online competition, maybe I am fighting against the tide, maybe it is a losing battle. But I just refuse to surrender everything to this one company.

    11. Matt @ Optimize Your Life 09:25am 06 July - 2017 - Reply

      I struggle with this, too. In one of my recent posts I talked about the declining share of money going to the labor force. One big component of that trend is increasing monopolies. While researching I was totally on board until realizing that some of the worst offenders in this regard are Amazon and Google.

      It’s easy to rail against the system. It’s hard to actually correct your behavior. And that is where I am stuck. Maybe it would be better for the country if I stopped using Google Products and I stopped buying things from Amazon. But they have both become such big tools in my life that it is hard to cut them out.

      I’m looking forward to Part 2 to see what tips you’ve got for escaping this conundrum.

      • Brooklyn Bread 10:13am 06 July - 2017 - Reply

        It always comes down to the question, do I save money, or do I support a company I want to support? I don’t always choose to save money, but neither could I possibly afford to always choose the latter. If I was wealthy, I would. I wish every bit of clothing I owned was made by well-paid seamstresses, like my 99 year old Aunt, who worked in NYC’s garment district for decades and had a good paying job and a great life. I wish I could always buy the organic blueberries, or the planter handmade from wood, instead of the cheap plastic one. It will always be a balancing act for anyone who has limited funds. I won’t stop buying my favorite shower curtain on Amazon. But I have made other tweaks and I will make more.

    12. emily @ johnjanedoe 08:14am 06 July - 2017 - Reply

      I love Amazon. Maybe I shouldn’t, but I do. And, compared to many if the big boxes that might get my business otherwise (Hi Walmart) it doesn’t seem so bad.

      But, you’re right about the fact that it is not cheaper for everything. And the marketplace set up means you have to beware of counterfeit products and markups, even as it allows some space for small businesses to make e-commerce practical. I’ll be interested to see what alternative s you come up with.

      • Brooklyn Bread 09:57am 06 July - 2017 - Reply

        I love Amazon too – that’s why it’s where so much of my money goes! I have always been very smug about not shopping at Walmart, but – there is no Walmart here! So it’s not like my Walmart boycott is any real sacrifice on my part. I think that there are things that we buy on Amazon that are no brainers… things that we couldn’t find as easily in a nearby store, or things that you need that are legitimately cheaper. My AC window brackets that my landlord made me buy – perfect example. But what I am trying to remember is that 75% of the things I buy are purely discretionary, may of which I would never even buy if Amazon didn’t exist. So of those things I need to 1. abstain from buying every thing I have a passing urge to own and 2. at least sometimes, procure those things in other ways.

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