Showrooming Hurts Local Businesses

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Aristotleded24
Showrooming Hurts Local Businesses

This is one rare instance where I agree with CFIB:

Quote:
Showrooming — trying out products in-store and then buying them online — is becoming a major problem for local retailers in Canada, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

CFIB surveyed 1,370 businesses across the country — 60 per cent said it’s something they have experienced while a third said it’s causing a significant impact on business.

“It’s becoming more and more prominent every year because online shopping is more accessible to everyone,” said Jonathan Alward, CFIB Prairie region director.

“I’ve been hearing about this problem from our members in the retail sector for a while now.”

Unionist

Think the CFIB will support big improvements in wages, benefits, working conditions in the online shopping industry - to help drive them out of business? Let me know what they have to say.

#SupportLocalEntrepeneurs #ComplainAboutModernTechnology #RollBackTheIndustrialRevolution 

There, that should do it.

Aristotleded24

Unionist, I've been very critical of small business lobby groups for a long time on these threads, but on this issue CFIB is actually correct. Do you think the online retailers are going to be any different, what with Amazon being in the news over its labour practices? It doesn't just stop at shopping. Those items have to be delivered, and Amazon is trying to get into the delivery business. Do you not think that will have a negative impact on unionized workers at UPS and Canada Post if it is allowed to spread unchecked? Not to mention the sense of community that is lost as people meet each other and business owners at the business, and are left with only their screens to keep them company because the community around them has been destroyed? Do you think it's good that these business transactions are reduced to people who purchase these goods and services only care about how convenient it is for them and forgetting the cost to the people whose job it is to provide these services?

My initial reaction when I first saw that headline was to roll my eyes about how "small business" is hurting. When I actually read what that was about I changed my mind.

lagatta4

I wanted to buy something boring but useful at Reitmans. (jeans? an actual cotton pullover? forget. Of course they closed the outlet closest to me (Plaza St-Hubert, at most 15min walk from my house) and I had to to to the one at the corner of Mont-Royal and Papineau,  but no, they could not guarantee keeping black jeans in my size anymore as online orders were a priority. I hate such firms as much as anyone else here, but no, can't afford 1oo$+ for jeans.

This crap gets worse and worse.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

It is frustrating going into a brick and mortar store that for years you have used for basic clothing and such to only hear that they don't carry much inventory - just enough stock to show what wares they have for sale ONLINE. Then they direct you to their website to order your size. What a freaking waste of time to even walk into their storefront.

And there are too many horror stories of how warehouse employees of these online outlets are abused that I refuse to even consider that option.

Aristotleded24

Lagatta and laine, that is another aspect where stores deliberately try and arrange things, as you described, to move more purchases online. Of course, when you think of online shopping, most people immediately think "Amazon." If stores are doing this, and they find that people are moving to online competitors, then they have no one to blame but themselves.

I'm personally very stubborn about such things, and part of that is my experience working in call centres. I don't care how long I have to wait, I will ring up my purchases with a person rather than a self check-out. If a store suddenly decides to have only self check-outs, I will take my business elsewhere. If I have to travel anywhere by plane or train, I will either purchase the ticket at the counter or go through a travel agent. I don't care how much extra the travel agent costs me. I also once wanted to go to a concert in Portage la Prairie, and rather than purchase the ticket online, I went there specifically to buy that ticket in person. Anything that I can't buy in person that I have to go through purchasing online, I don't need. I guess not everybody is like me.

Unionist

Emotionally, I agree. But what exactly are you proposing to do about this? You said, "if it is allowed to spread unchecked..." Are you suggesting we should stop or limit online shopping? Really?

The only answer is to organize the workers involved - and hand in hand with that, to legislate decent minimum wages, benefits, etc., plus doubling the CPP/QPP, and I could continue. Getting rid of online shopping to support local exploiters of cheap labour entrepeneurs? No thanks, and yes, that particular train has left the station.

By the way: I feel the same way about self checkout in grocery stores. Protecting cashiers' jobs? Artificially? When they're not needed? Why?

And while I'm being provocative (but also very serious), I have a question for A24 and whoever else yearns for the good old days:

Do you use ATMs?

The industrial revolution wreaked havoc on working people. The answer was organizing other kinds of revolution. Not smashing the machines.

Aristotleded24

Unionist wrote:
Protecting cashiers' jobs? Artificially? When they're not needed? Why?

Some people actually enjoy being cashiers and the interaction that comes with it. There are also some people who enjoy doing repetitive tasks, like stocking shelves or sorting cans or what have you, because they like to focus. Who are we to pass judgement on this if this is the case?

By the way, the item still costs the same whether I use the self check-out or a cashier. Since I'm paying the full price, I figure I might as well get someone who is trained to do the work rather than paying to do the work myself.

I also want to respond to your point about "artificially" protecting jobs. That sounds to me like the same critcism of freezing university tuitions, for example, because it keeps the prices "artificially" low. It elevates the market to some sort of divine thing where we cannot interfere with it because of how it functions. Likewise, the adaptation of techonolgy is portrayed as some sort of "evolution" that is "inevitable." None of this is true at all. In the case of technology, it is about the choices we make as individuals and as a society about how we adopt it. Right now, those choices have been and are still made by the owner class. So whether a business hires a cashier or uses a self check-out, those are by definition "artificial" decisions.

Unionist wrote:
I have a question for A24 and whoever else yearns for the good old days:

Do you use ATMs?

The industrial revolution wreaked havoc on working people. The answer was organizing other kinds of revolution. Not smashing the machines.

Not that I need to justify myself to you, but yes I use ATMs and I withdraw cash from tellers when that option is available. An ATM card is nice, but I still want the option to withdraw cash from a teller. If I need to transfer between accounts, I will go to the branch and I will do it there. I don't make an effort to keep up with the latest technology. I still do my income taxes on paper and mail them in. I don't make online purchases, mainly because I don't want a zillion login accounts that I have to remember my information for. I refuse to sign up for e-statements of any sort. I still pay some of my bills with cheques in the mail. We're supposed to have freedom of choice in this country, but all of these choices I listed are choices I do not want ever taken away from me. Especially when companies and organizations are deliberately making the non-tech way of doing things more difficult as a means to force the rest of us to adapt or die while they make money off the new changes.

Unionist

Wow A24, I find myself in disagreement with virtually every point you made. I'll take some time during waking hours and reply.

But... where did you get the notion that I want the "market" to decide anything? University education should be tuition-free, just as K-12 is. Banks should all be nationalized. You don't need to "remember" any log-in information for zillions of accounts. I transfer money between accounts - and deposit the exceedingly rare paper cheque that I still receive - using my smartphone. Don't even need ATMs for that. And hopefully one day soon, "cash" will disappear, just as coins essentially have done. No, I don't want the "choice" of using pennies any more. No, I don't waste paper and postage and time on paying any bills by cheque and mail, and no, I don't believe that modern democracy requires that I have such an inalienable "choice". Not only is "techonology" inevitable - it is GOOD - because it enables us to produce greater quantities of goods and services with less input of labour. No, that does NOT mean mass unemployment, but ever-shorter work weeks and more leisure time. It means we build a society where goods and services, which are increasingly cheaper to produce (because of less labour), are distributed cheaply or for FREE to everyone (ike K-12 public education, like not enough but a good chunk of our health care, like roads, water, etc., all sorts of things which were once considered an unattainable dream). More ranting later.

Aristotleded24

Unionist wrote:
Not only is "techonology" inevitable - it is GOOD - because it enables us to produce greater quantities of goods and services with less input of labour.

I find it strange that for someone who is adamantly against the existence of any kind of god, that you have essentially made a god out of our technology, in much the same way the priestly classes of ancient societies built wood and stone structures and ascribed divine power to them (which came at the expense of the general population). Technology is not inherently good, it is how it is used. Let's look at communication technologies, for instance. People have raised health issues (eyestrain from long periods of time looking at screens) or increased depression and isolation from reduced interaction with real live human beings. Even look at the issue of bullying in schools. You say a hurtful thing to someone in person, you see right away their face turn or they will start to cry, so you have a cue that it is a negative emotion. Say the same cruel thing on a screen and other people are chiming in with likes. Different incentives there. Even consider how we get the technology? It has to come from somewhere. In some instances, extracting the raw materials needed for our devices will come into conflict with such things as environmental protection, preserving sensitive ecosystems, and indigenous rights, not to mention labour practices required to get those materials. In other words, we will have to make a choice. Our technology or the environment/human rights? Pick one.

And how did we come to decide that we needed this technology anyways? These tech compaines came up with a product, marketed it, and we bought it. Would we all need to rush out and purchase new iPhones each year if it wasn't for advertisiers saying we needed them? Did you know that tech company executives restricted use of their own devices within their own families much more than many families do today? Doesn't that tell you something?

Unionist wrote:
But... where did you get the notion that I want the "market" to decide anything?

I was making a comparison to your point about technology being inevitable to the market fundamentalism that the owner class promotes for its own benefit.

Unionist wrote:
And hopefully one day soon, "cash" will disappear, just as coins essentially have done. No, I don't want the "choice" of using pennies any more.

That is an absolutely frightening scenario from the perspective of maintaining privacy and oversurveillance. When I pay for something in cash, that is a transaction between me and whoever I'm doing the transaction with. When I pay by credit or debit card, that transaction is catalogued for authorities to look up later if they want to. Do you not think despots like Hilter or Stalin would have dreamed of being able to keep tabs on their population like that? There are certain authors who, if I'm going to buy any of their books, I will withdraw the cash first and pay for it that way precisely because I do not want that to be tracked. (Not to mention also that the cost of maintaining machines for debit and credit card transactions is onerous on small businesses and other community organizations and essentially anyone who is not a large corporate company.) This leads me to the issue of digital privacy. I'm sorry, there is no such thing. Anything you do digitally is recorded. People are constantly complaining about how Facebook tipped the election to Donald Trump? I never signed up for Facebook or any social networking. Workplaces are also starting to force people to sign agreements stating that if they make any questionable social media posts that they can essentially be fired for that. Maybe that is extreme, but what happened to people keeping their private lives private? If you choose to post unflattering pictures of yourself to your social media account and you lose your job for that, I have no sympathy for you. (Photos leaked without your consent are another matter. That's where revenge porn laws come in.) We can't let Big Tech rule our lives. We have to make decisions both individually and as a community about how we will use technology.

JKR

Unionist wrote:

Wow A24, I find myself in disagreement with virtually every point you made. I'll take some time during waking hours and reply.

But... where did you get the notion that I want the "market" to decide anything? University education should be tuition-free, just as K-12 is. Banks should all be nationalized. You don't need to "remember" any log-in information for zillions of accounts. I transfer money between accounts - and deposit the exceedingly rare paper cheque that I still receive - using my smartphone. Don't even need ATMs for that. And hopefully one day soon, "cash" will disappear, just as coins essentially have done. No, I don't want the "choice" of using pennies any more. No, I don't waste paper and postage and time on paying any bills by cheque and mail, and no, I don't believe that modern democracy requires that I have such an inalienable "choice". Not only is "techonology" inevitable - it is GOOD - because it enables us to produce greater quantities of goods and services with less input of labour. No, that does NOT mean mass unemployment, but ever-shorter work weeks and more leisure time. It means we build a society where goods and services, which are increasingly cheaper to produce (because of less labour), are distributed cheaply or for FREE to everyone (ike K-12 public education, like not enough but a good chunk of our health care, like roads, water, etc., all sorts of things which were once considered an unattainable dream). More ranting later.

Great rant! I can't wait for more! I totally agree.