You are Here: Home > Rant: Rage against Walmart
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
This is a tough issue, and I don’t have a good answer. But I know where I stand on it.
Check out this article about this ridiculous pricing war among of the giant discounters on their on-line sale price for new bestseller-category books. I was alerted to this situation this afternoon by a good friend, known perhaps to some of you as “The Little Fluffy Cat,” and @littlefluffycat on Twitter. She was calling on the Twitterati to stand against this rapaciousness and douchebaggery and instead buy their copies of Stephen King’s new book Under the Dome from an independent bookseller instead of Walmart, Target or Amazon.
Yeah, I get it that it can be more expensive to buy stuff that way. I understand that many people (like me, for example) live in the hinterlands and there simply aren’t any other options if you want a brick-and-mortar store (but we do get the internet here). Well, part of the reason for that lack of options is that the big box operators are so huge that it’s nothing to them to literally lose several dollars per copy on a book just so that they can have the best price. An independent operator can’t afford to lose money like that. So they go out of business or never go into business in the first place. And for what? So Walmart can win? Walmart and its ilk don’t give a fuck about offering the best price on a Stephen King novel. Walmart doesn’t make its money selling books at all. Walmart makes its money by being the only goddamned store in town for groceries, toiletries, paper products, automotive supplies, clothing, pharmaceuticals and everything else that people need to buy whether they want to or not. How do they get to be the only store in town? By suckering all of us into their stores for the “best price” (and poorest selection, and worst service, and shoddiest merchandise, but so what?). Every time one of these eyesores sets up shop, it’s like a nuke explosion: everything dies within a wide radius around it. This dumb price war among the store’s online operations is just another manifestation of it. What, do they want the whole world wide web to also turn into suburban commercial blight? Disgusting.
Perhaps this is one of those things that I am getting too exercised about. After all, what does it have to do with me? I can’t afford to buy new hardcover books anyway, even at the discounters’ prices. Part of the reason for that is that I lost everything I ever had financially, in part as a casualty of the big box economy, and I have yet to recover (those years I spent in business for myself are nothing but failure on my resume, in the estimation of most employers). But if I wanted Stephen King’s new book and had the money to spend on it, I’d try like hell to buy it from someone whose real business is selling books.
Because if the day comes that there are no dedicated booksellers left (online or in meatspace), and it’s all in the hands of the mega-retail monsters, then where will you get those special treasures, those beloved book that are not Stephen King or Dan Brown novels, those books that really matter to you after the bestseller lists are forgotten?Related Articles :
Labels: real world crap