Why we’ll all come to hate Jeff Bezos
Read any newsfeed or journal, on any day of any week, and among the top stories will be how Amazon is taking over everything retail. Post-apocalyptic predictions of wasteland shopping malls and the demise of the consumer supply chain are legion.
Twenty years ago, Amazon was widely derided when it was thought to be responsible for the closure of Borders, and the downturn in the fortunes of stores like Barnes & Noble and Waterstones. We may never have bought a book from these stores, but we felt aggrieved at the thought of an interloper changing our towns. Now here we are predicting the end of the high street – again.
“The retail apocalypse is upon us, Wall Street analysts say. Amazon dominates e-commerce and is rapidly moving into offline. Stores are closing by the thousands. Brand icons of the industry from Sears to JCPenney are dying. Yet, retail bulls argue, there’s more opportunity than ever in the space.” Fast Company
If history repeats itself, Jeff Bezos will soon be moving from revered to reviled. Think back – didn’t everyone love Rupert Murdoch once? Donald Trump was interesting – now he’s differently regarded (to put it politely). Margaret Thatcher was The Man during the Falklands conflict but blew it over the Poll Tax and 15% interest rates. Even Boris Johnson was funny until Brexit – now, he’s a self-promoting outlier. All people doing what they thought to be the right thing. We’re a fickle bunch.
The signs are all there for Jeff. A company growing in dominance the way Amazon is can only be great for so long. Once we notice what a plague delivery drones are on our summer Sunday afternoons, I suspect Amazon’s popularity may start to wane. Google ‘bring down drones’, and see what you get.
Trouble is, by the time we realise that we’re all paying for a single company to dominate the consumer landscape and take a still larger slice of our spending, it may be too late. All things are cyclical and all things are temporary. We could, collectively and individually, think beyond the downside of convenience and the immediate gratification of ready consumerism.
Want to get hold of a second-hand book? There are alternatives: Freecycle, Gumtree, charity shops, independent resellers, libraries… Not as clean and easy to navigate as Amazon perhaps, but that’s the point. Value what you’ve got while you can or, at least, think about it.