17 Comments

I heard, don't know if it's true, that France doesn't permit free shipping, since it destroys local businesses. Great idea-- supporting our neighbors is highly desirable. I'm so sick of these corporations bringing jobs to communities but siphoning all the profit away to Bentonville Arkansas or wherever. The local business, with its commitment to and support of its local community, including Little League sponsorships or whatever, is the ideal model.

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author

It's correct, France banned free shipping.

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Amazon is breaking itself up: the prices are too high now! And I did find the items (1/2) cheaper elsewhere. This is mainly for food, where sellers add on a hidden shipping fee. It's just not a deal to buy anything there anymore (in bulk).

And also, they are parading too much never-heard-of Chinese mom-n-pop brand stuff. The whole marketplace is littered with this junk.

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Amazon search results like Google have been worthless garbage for a decade, and the platform is littered with garbage third party sellers that offer knock off trash, mostly from China. It's a malevolent cycle. You need to rely on review sites to wade through the garbage. It's a joke.

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Am curious what kind of deal Amazon has with USPS since the latter delivers Amazon packages.

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In my mind, Prime is an outright scam. You think you’re paying for a year of free shipping. In reality, every time you buy something from a 3P seller (like myself), you’re paying for shipping again. The sellers don’t pay the Amazon fees - there’s not enough margin for that to be possible; they mark up the item so the customers pay the Amazon fees (don’t think that Amazon hasn’t always known this). Being 3P sales account for 60% of Amazon sales now, the vast majority of transactions include the customer paying for shipping a second time. It’s an unbelievable model when you consider that aspect.

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Amazon also does a dance where they sell everything “at cost” so they never make profits that could be taxed. Despite raking in hundreds of billions a year they don’t make any bookable profits so they don’t pay any taxes.

Bezos is a truly brilliant chiseler. And he has a penis shaped rocket.

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You might appreciate a financial analysis I wrote a few weeks back on my Substack. It attempts to calculate what Amazon lost in 2022 selling its own inventory at a loss.

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I'll check it out. Cheers!

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In my view, there's Amazon and what I call the side-step retailers. Years ago, when Radio Shack was still a chain of local stores, I purchased a USB bus for my computer for $5. Years later, when local shopping areas had all but disappeared, I thought I'd like to get USB bus for another computer in the house. The nearest office supply store near me was Staples, so I looked up Staples on line to see what they offered. It seemed that the physical stores offered heavy duty, metal clad USB busses for $30 and up. After going through pages of busses, I found a USB bus that looked more like the little bus I already had. But here's the rub, they carried only the higher priced industrial model busses in the store, but the more basic model at $13 was not at the store but with shipping the humble little bus was $30.

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I think the greatest value of Prime to many is information. The price is the price. A customer doesn’t have to put it into a cart and in a final step find out how much it costs.

The experience is the same as I have in Delaware (there is no sales tax in DE). If I take an item with a price tag that says $8.99 to the register, I know I will be spending exactly $8.99 for it.

I have no doubt something should and hopefully will be done about the evils perpetrated by Amazon, but NO ONE wants the fog of shipping and handling obscuring every transaction again. Lowering of cash outlays will be over-shadowed by the voluminous increase in transaction costs.

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author

If Amazon wants to offer shipping-included Prime membership, that's fine and something that many consumers want. It becomes illegal when Amazon says that third-party sellers can't sell outside of Amazon at a lower price.

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Sep 27, 2023Liked by Matt Stoller

Matt, you have done a perfect job of convincing me all these things are knotted together.

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Great dive into the details as always.

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founding

Thanks for keeping the "View in browser" button. It is essential for my workflow, but has disappeared from most substacks that I get. Anybody knows why?

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Matt, great work. I actually have a bit of hope for the future if we can break up these behemoths.

Btw, w/ regard to google -- I'm not sure if you're aware of this but there is some fascinating work being done by Robert Epstein to collect and organize ephemeral data that shows google has been funneling voters to the Dem party to years now via skewed search results and suggestions, sending RNC emails to spam folders in gmail, etc, aside from some other egregious and weird things they've been up to. If you're not aware already I highly recommend checking out his work as it relates to any anti-trust actions against google.

https://www.mygoogleresearch.com/

interview w/ Epstein on Jimmy Dore: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5Gd_Md3GnM

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