Tuesday, September 19, 2017

My National Online Thrift Store

The plastic silverware holder that came with my dish drainer was too flimsy for our loads of dishes.  I was eyeing a stainless steel one on eBay but was hesitating because the seller used a stock photo and wasn't answering my query if he himself had the basket and was going to personally ship it.  


I had gotten burned by eBay sellers using Amazon fulfillment services, and I avoid supporting Amazon if I can help it.  I don't trust big corporations and their love of big profits and lack of engagement with the communities that host their big box stores and warehouses.  I prefer to support individual sellers and locally-owned stores.  Big corporations are also automating as many jobs as possible in the name of profit, which is costing people jobs.  I know it's a complicated issue because our economy is not sustainable as it is, but I also believe that people want meaningful work for fair pay.  So I try to avoid the big corporations and look for the small-time sellers on eBay (my national online thrift store!) or little companies with online stores. 

As I considered how badly I wanted the stainless steel silverware basket, I came across a red metal one in my favorite thrift store.  For $2, it was by far the cheapest option, and I was also supporting a local store that gives its profits to MCC.  I was very pleased.

I'd welcome your thoughts on Amazon, eBay, and online shopping in general. 

13 comments:

Winter Fan said...

I avoid online shopping for many of the same reasons you do. I prefer to keep my business local. I live in a city and have many great options close to my house. My husband's job is tied to the retail industry, so I suppose I have extra incentive to support brick and mortar stores in general.

I also don't like having things delivered if I can help it. I dislike dealing with the cardboard boxes, packaging, etc. Plus, things are often getting stolen from front porches, so I have to make sure I am home when the delivery happens. That can be very inconvenient.

Rozy Lass said...

Living in a tiny rural town for the past almost ten years has changed the way I shop. I do lots of shopping online because of the time and distance involved with shopping "locally". Tiny towns can't support a variety of small businesses the way a large metropolis can, but driving 90 minutes to shop uses time and gas! I like Etsy, Ebay, and Craigslist, as well as a wonderful thrift store that is just 30 minutes away and in the same town as my favorite grocery store (closed on Sunday!). I prefer to support individual entrepreneurs, local thrift stores and the second-hand market as my first choice, but I depend on deliveries from corporations for many things that aren't produced in those markets.

Wilde Family said...

My weekly dilemna is the grocery savings I would get for going to a large national grocery store 30 minutes away from my small town or pay 30% more shopping primarily from my small town store. This local grocery employs family members but my budget is small for 9 people. It is continual sigh in my mind to either spend more than I have too or be disloyal to my local grocery.

Little Homestead In Boise said...

I buy some used things on eBay I can never find locally, mostly work clothes. I get a LOT of misc stuff at local thrift stores. I do buy a few random things from Amazon, but that's the least.

Katy said...

I try very hard not to shop at Amazon at all if I can help it. I live in the UK where Amazon still does not pay its' fair share of tax, despite big news stories about this. I strongly believe that if you wish to profit from your business that is in a particular area then you are morally obliged to obey the law of that land (and the the law in the UK certainly does not allow tax dodging!) and contribute back to the community with your taxes.

That said, I really do want some of that paper sticky tape that Amazon uses to seal its' boxes up with!

Becky said...

I try to keep it local as much as I possibly can, but there are some things I find better deals on online - and by deals, I mean I save so much money that it pays for my Amazon prime membership in one to two purchases.
One of the neighborhood kids that grew up, went to college and got a job now works for Amazon, so I try to pretend I'm supporting him when I make purchases from them. It's always my last choice.

That said, most of our house and clothes are from thrift shops, the majority of our produce is purchased either straight from the farmer or at local mom & pops that buy straight from the farmer (for the days I can't make it to the farmer's market). I've had some luck with ebay and some not so good experiences, so while I look on there, I'm always cautious.

Kay Saylor said...

Somewhere online there is a diagram called the "buyerarchy of needs". I have it hanging on my fridge as a reminder and I try to make do, reuse, or make myself as much as possible. When I have to buy new I try to make it local as much as possible. I figure I save a whole lot growing, making myself or buying used that it pays for any higher prices local may cost. Heck, I even by local beer.

That said, from time to time I cannot find what I need locally so I'm forced to source from the big name stores, Amazon included. Large corporations have made our ability to purchase outside of their network very difficult, by design. They are the reasons behind many issues today.

Anonymous said...

You also need to be aware of the problems of counterfeit items -- Amazon used to be much better at verifying their products, but nowadays, that is no longer their concern.

Lana said...

We live in a town with many big warehouses including Amazon and all I can say is jobs. Tens of thousands work for those companies here and they are treated well and paid well. Our unemployment is very low and those without a higher education can make a living wage without working multiple jobs. On the flip side is the town where we own a vacation house. I don't know how those people have survived decades of barely surviving even though they work multiple jobs. Domestic violence is high there and I often say to my husband that it is because the hours were cut and they don't have enough for the rent. Their struggle is real and homes that we pass have inhabitants who are never home because they are at work. They would jump at the chance to pick and pack boxes in a warehouse and only work 40 hours a week. So, we do support Amazon because it is a part of our community and we see the benefit.

Sarah Barry said...

I confess, I love Amazon and Walmart purely for selfish reasons. The convenience of Amazon's 2 day shipping and Walmart's grocery pick up service have saved me so much angst as a busy mom.

That being said, I like to support a local shop or individual when possible. I have a new and growing interest in fair trade fashion and my last few clothing purchases have been from companies doing really good work, treating their workers fairly.

Mmmm...need to do some more thinking on this.

Margo said...

Sarah, Amazon and Walmart are genius at being helpful like that! I just don't trust them to be doing the right thing by their workers and the environment. . . Fair trade is wonderful. I love it when I can buy fair trade, and the thought of that money going to the worker is really encouraging to me when I pay higher prices for fair trade stuff. I don't do it often, though. . . I need to do more thinking on this, too :)

kyleann33 said...

I cut a page out of the summer issue of Yes! magazine that had some interesting numbers about Amazon. Since reading this I've cancelled my Prime membership and am trying not to use Amazon. Estimated jobs lost among brick-and-mortar stores due to Amazon sales by the end of 2015: 295,000. Number of U.S. workers Amazon employed at the end of 2014: 146,000. Number of robots working in Amazon warehouses at the end of 2016: 45,000. (The number of robots is increasing each year) Seeing that the number of jobs lost due to Amazon sales is twice the number of people that are actually employed by Amazon was very disheartening.

BLD in MT said...

I'd never thought of ebay like that!! I've shared your troubled thoughts about Amazon and the big box stores, but hmmmmmm, that is a good perspective on ebay, which I think I'd lumped in with Amazon for some reason as "shopping online." We try to just buy it locally, at thrift shops first. You might be on to something with this ebay thing though. Something to think on.

Glad you found what you needed locally though. Huzzah!

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails