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Ask Slashdot: Will You Shop Local Like President Obama, Or Online? 430

theodp writes "President Obama and his daughters headed to an indie bookstore last Saturday to promote shopping local. The White House did not disclose which books were bought, but author Lauren Oliver tweeted her delight after a White House photo showed her books Delirium and Pandemonium were among the 15 children's books purchased by the Obama family for Christmas gift-giving. While it made for a nice Small Business Saturday photo op, do you suppose the President paid much more for the books at the small indie bookshop than he might have at an online retailer like Amazon, where the hardcopy edition of Pandemonium is $10.15 (44% off the $17.99 list price) and the hardcopy edition of Delirium can be had for $10.47 (42% off the $17.99 list price)? Kindle Editions of the books are also available for $7.99. And with both titles eligible for free Amazon Prime shipping, the President could've saved on gasoline and Secret Service costs, too! So, will you be following the President's lead and shop local this holiday season, or is the siren song of online shopping convenience and savings too hard to resist?"
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Ask Slashdot: Will You Shop Local Like President Obama, Or Online?

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  • I Am a Market Signal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Markmarkmark ( 512275 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @03:39AM (#42114335) Homepage

    I feel it's my economic duty to provide accurate and useful signals to the market, so my dollars go to the most efficient and cost effective source that meets my requirements for quality, selection, availability and price. If I need something immediately or I need to touch it before buying, I choose a local supplier offering those benefits. If I don't need those things, I select on the remaining criteria. To choose vendors on arbitrary 'feel good' sloganeering deprives me of the best value and deprives the, perhaps distant, vendor that worked hard to meet my mix of needs of the sale they deserve. It also sends false demand signals to local vendors. However these false signals only serve to distort the market temporarily but otherwise are pointless gestures that, in the long run, achieve nothing and help no one.

  • by hardtofindanick ( 1105361 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @03:51AM (#42114389)
    I like to have local retailers around, so I don't mind paying the $7 extra as long as I can afford it. Never felt like property either.
  • Paying taxes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Epeeist ( 2682 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @04:14AM (#42114501) Homepage

    Fuck that. I'll buy from the vendors offering the products I want at prices I agree to. This "buy local" horseshit is nothing but guilt-tripping. Customers aren't property, and if local retailers can't compete, then they shouldn't be in business.


    Whereas I prefer to shop from companies who actually contribute back to the local economy by paying their taxes and not stashing them away in tax havens. If companies have sociopathic policies I try to avoid them.

  • Re:Like Obama? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @04:26AM (#42114565)

    So you've never needed the police, fire department or EMS? And what private roads do you drive on that get you everywhere you need to go? Didn't go to a public school, or even go to a park? Impressive.

  • Rich man's game now (Score:5, Interesting)

    by macraig ( 621737 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [giarc.a.kram]> on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @04:37AM (#42114627)

    Shopping local - which doesn't mean shopping at Wal-Mart - isn't something (smart) poor people can really afford to do any more. The mass producers and "service providers" have been funneling so much of the material wealth in their direction - mere pennies each at a time but multiplied by hundreds of them and tens of millions of blood donors^H^H^H^H^Hcustomers - that when a person is poor there really isn't enough left after the aforementioned get their cuts to share with local mom-and-pop businesses, whose overhead is high and economy of scale very low and who need higher profit margins to justify what they're doing.

    This is why poor people shop - and all too often also work* - at Wal-Mart. They don't have the option to shop local like Barack and Michelle.

    * It's also worth noting that Wal-Mart KNOWS their employees are also customers: not only does Wal-Mart pay low wages and deliberately toy with hours to keep a third or more of its workforce part-time and ineligible for benefits, it also doesn't offer an employee discount. The end result is that Wal-Mart actually gets back as profit a portion of the low wages it pays its employees.

  • Re:Like Obama? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by mozumder ( 178398 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @04:39AM (#42114643)

    LOL Yah, don't EVER have any more ideas Einstein. You are not allowed to think anymore. You're just not smart enough to have ideas. Sorry.

    Just stop being yourself, and follow what everyone else does. OK?

    Here's something I wrote in another thread that'll help get rid of your Libertarian dumbassery:
    Government is the reason you are alive.

    If it weren't for government, a polluter would have no reason to not poison your air or water supply for his profit (power).

    And because they are profitable (powerful), they have the power over you to force themselves about it.

    So, your government steps in and makes sure you are safe and sound, by limiting other people's powers.

    Did you thank government for your protection? You should.

    Taxes are the protection money we (society) force you to pay to allow you to live with us. You do not get to live in our land for free. That is because every human is territorial, and we are the rulers of the land. It doesn't matter what YOU "believe" in. What matters is whatever WE do, since the decision on taxes is not yours to make, as only those with power can make decisions, and libertarians are the weakest in society. If you don't like it, feel free to move to another country. It is why we don't charge taxes for citizens of other countries, because we (government) don't own other sovereign states. But if we did, we'd charge them protection money (taxes), because we want the benefits of wholesale purchases that governments can do but individuals cannot.

    Additionally, libertarians just aren't very smart socially. This is actually their biggest flaw - their disbelief in social groups. All humans seek to gain power, including you. It is why you're here on this board promoting your views. And they form power through social groups, from families to governments. But, you actually have to curry favor to other members of society in order to form groups. A normal person offers favors to others in order to receive favors back, to grow their group of power. Libertarians assume that everyone will be nice to them and offer them services without offering people favors. Sorry, but human psychology doesn't work this way. No one owes you anything, including your human rights. You do have to be actively protect yourself, which means you have to curry favors with others, through groups (governments) in order to just exist. This isn't just a theory, it is how political science works. Groups are always stronger than individuals. Generals follow this rule in war. Sales people use the same social group theory to grow their power. Girls find guys that are more powerful to marry. And so on.

    Meanwhile, the correct answer, and the answer that all of society is actually based on, is socialism. The world revolves around groups, not individuals. The statement that no man is his own island is always true. And if there single-people islands, larger groups would come in and take it over or test atom bombs on them or whatever the fuck they want to do with it. You are therefore dependent on others (government) for your own basic survival. Libertarians just don't know that yet. They're obviously not supercomputers that can model all of society in their head.

    Basically Libertarians are people that just didn't think their cunning plan all the way through.

    I totally get where you're coming from, but every time I talk to libertarians about their mistaken worldview they simply get mad because I don't make the same mistaken assumptions they make. No libertarian has ever walked their cunning plan all the way through to me. Ever.

    Also libertarians are always the spoiled brats that do not appreciate the benefits of government. And every psychological profile of a libertarian show them to be spoiled brats.

    They love themselves too much.

    So, yeah, don't be libertarian. And don't have "beliefs". Ever.

  • Re:Like Obama? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @04:51AM (#42114681) Homepage Journal

    Out of all of the three times (I think... maybe four) that my credit card number has been stolen in the past few years, thus far it has always been stolen at a local merchant. Your credit card number is much safer on Amazon's servers than on a piece of plastic handled by a minimum-wage employee at a local store or restaurant, statistically speaking.

    Also, once you have an account with a store, you never have to create a new one. I usually order stuff from the same three or four stores all the time, because they usually have the best prices on the things that I buy. That's really not a huge inconvenience. And you can opt out of email from those companies.

  • Re:Like Obama? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by demonlapin ( 527802 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @08:17AM (#42115567) Homepage Journal
    TCP/IP is what everyone else uses. If we weren't using it, we'd be using something else. It's like MP3: there were lots of competing standards, and the first one that's "good enough" will often dominate.

    the air you breath is clean

    Not that there aren't libertarians who are anti-environment (of course there are), but it's not like it's a majority view. I'm pretty okay with regulating pollution; I just wish they would use more efficient methods to achieve the goals.

    the water you drink is safe

    My municipal water supply has had numerous excursions from standards, although most have been quite minor. And it's only subsidized for the elderly - the rest of us pay the full cost for the system, so we're not really "taking" from government - we're using the umbrella of government to provide a utility directly rather than having it operate as a regulated private entity like power or natural gas. So it's a bit like any other utility - except that I can testify from personal experience that you get a lot better service from the private companies. Last big storm that came through here, we had power company crews from 500 miles around working on our lines. When I bought my house, I had to have the power line re-strung - took a couple of days. It took the city water system over a month to come to my house to install a second meter, and they left my yard a wreck. At least my friends who live in more rural areas can sue the people who run their water cooperative if they pump out substandard water. I can't sue the city.

  • by WillAdams ( 45638 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @09:07AM (#42115915) Homepage

    Went to a local hardware store (in business since the Civil War) to purchase bullet catches for a woodworking project since I knew that they carried Stanley brand, unlike the local True Value distributor which I was in on Sunday which carries National Hardware --- turns out that Stanley sold their hardware division to National Hardware, so the bullet catches were the same as the ones I'd rejected on Sunday, just in Stanley's black and yellow packaging.

    Lowes and Home Depot don't bother w/ much small hardware, so no bullet catches at either when I checked on Sunday.

    The only other choice locally (since the last nearby independent woodworking shop closed) is Woodcraft and their inexpensive bullet catches seem to be from the same Pacific Rim factor which makes them for National Hardware so that leaves Brusso catches (too expensive and I want surface mounted strike plates), so I had to order from Lee Valley in Canada (and order strike plates from D. Lawless).

    I really regret my father selling his father's anvil --- looks like I'm going to have to take up metal-working to have nice hardware for my woodworking projects.

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