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Old 07-26-2019, 05:51 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by crane3 View Post
Still local retailers are at a disadvantage due to how much inventory they can have because of the yearly inventory taxes; the laws are out-dated & discourage having much stuff in their stores. Does inventory taxes include what is in a warehouse?
In Canada, yes. I would be very surprised if American inventory taxes were not very similar.

Going back quite a few years, at one point, I used to order paperbacks that I couldn't get in the town I was living in from order forms in the final pages of other paperbacks (Ace for an example). That practice was dropped due to inventory taxes making it too expensive to keep older stock around.
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Old 07-26-2019, 07:36 PM   #47
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The great American mall caters to a different demographic than Walmart. In malls , nowadays, you see teens comparing what is in stores to how much it costs online using their smartphones and Amazon is definitely one if not the most used one they use to do this.
I found the documentary I watched about malls. Here's a link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBEajQWy-LU

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Old 07-26-2019, 07:51 PM   #48
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So it's better for me to receive a big honking hdtv in the mail, Find out it's a piece of crap. Repackage it and haul the big honking tv back to the post office and wait for a refund or replacement...???? How is that better??? I have a Best buy two miles from my house. I can buy and.replace a tv within an hour if need be and I don't even have to put it back in the box ...lol....I'm really trying to understand the big incentive of buying the bulk of ones goods online. I guess if you lived out where there were not many stores. But people imo are being duped into believing that somehow sitting at home waiting for packages to arrive is somehow better. It really isn't overall. I said this in another thread....even Amazon sees the need for physical stores....hence the fact that they bought Whole foods......they found that people ordering fresh food online really doesn't work all that well ..
I live in a retirement home in a small town and I have no car so without Amazon I'd have a hard time buying anything. We do have a Walmart here and I often compare prices on things I'm thinking of buying. Walmart on the stuff I buy is generally between 10% and 20% higher and on some things they're 50% higher. Cables and micro SD cards are examples of the biggest differences. There are a few things cheaper at Walmart so I buy some tech from them. But Amazon has them beat on most things.

I get free shipping on most stuff with my Prime account. That does cost $120 a year but that's cheaper than paying someone to give me a ride to Walmart. And if I want to return something they'll send UPS or someone to my door to pick it up. I have no easy way to get things to the post office.

So is it better? You bet it's better for me. That's not true for everyone, of course, but it does seem to be true for a lot of people.

And better yet is the fact that Walmart and Amazon are competing heavily. We customers win that competition.

Walmart is a lot smarter than B&N. They've done sleazy things in the past and made serious mistakes but unlike B&N they've learned from them and now they give excellent service. I wonder what their service would be like if Amazon wasn't also giving excellent service.

Neither Amazon nor Walmart or any other retailer can decide who wins that competition. Customers do. I personally think what's happening right now in retail is pretty nice.

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Old 07-26-2019, 07:58 PM   #49
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True hackers don't brag.
True hackers have changed. When I got into programming in the late 1960s a hacker was the programmer in the shop that the other programmers went to when they couldn't figure out how to solve a problem. He was the guy who could hack together a solution to just about anything. Not every shop had a hacker but the ones who did had an edge.

When people began looking for ways to break into computers or corrupt computers and the press got wind of it they mistakenly called these guys hackers. Probably because they misunderstood something in an interview. The name stuck. But real hackers are really just very good programmers, the press be damned.

It's probably also worth noting that viruses began in unix, which is what both BSD and Linux eventually grew out of.

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Old 07-26-2019, 08:00 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by barryem View Post
I live in a retirement home in a small town and I have no car so without Amazon I'd have a hard time buying anything. We do have a Walmart here and I often compare prices on things I'm thinking of buying. Walmart on the stuff I buy is generally between 10% and 20% higher and on some things they're 50% higher. Cables and micro SD cards are examples of the biggest differences. There are a few things cheaper at Walmart so I buy some tech from them. But Amazon has them beat on most things.

I get free shipping on most stuff with my Prime account. That does cost $120 a year but that's cheaper than paying someone to give me a ride to Walmart. And if I want to return something they'll send UPS or someone to my door to pick it up. I have no easy way to get things to the post office.

So is it better? You bet it's better for me. That's not true for everyone, of course, but it does seem to be true for a lot of people.

And better yet is the fact that Walmart and Amazon are competing heavily. We customers win that competition.

Walmart is a lot smarter than B&N. They've done sleazy things in the past and made serious mistakes but unlike B&N they've learned from them and now they give excellent service. I wonder what their service would be like if Amazon wasn't also giving excellent service.

Neither Amazon nor Walmart or any other retailer can decide who wins that competition. Customers do. I personally think what's happening right now in retail is pretty nice.

Barry
Sure there are exceptions. I hope when I reach a certain age im able to still leave the house. Even before Amazon or the internet people still found a way to get their stuff. (Probably from family) I personally like to leave the house to shop, work, exercise etc. I love social interaction. I hope I will be able to do that beyond by retirement years.

Also most stores today offer shopping programs where they bring the stuff right to your door the day of. From groceries to general merchandise. Not to different from the days when the grocery clerk delivered.

I also still believe that Amazon prices are pretty much online with physical retailers. Sd cards and cables can be bought cheaply anywhere now. $5 below is a good example.

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Old 07-26-2019, 08:51 PM   #51
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True hackers have changed. When I got into programming in the late 1960s a hacker was the programmer in the shop that the other programmers went to when they couldn't figure out how to solve a problem. He was the guy who could hack together a solution to just about anything. Not every shop had a hacker but the ones who did had an edge.

When people began looking for ways to break into computers or corrupt computers and the press got wind of it they mistakenly called these guys hackers. Probably because they misunderstood something in an interview. The name stuck. But real hackers are really just very good programmers, the press be damned.

It's probably also worth noting that viruses began in unix, which is what both BSD and Linux eventually grew out of.

Barry
Got a chocolate chip cookie???
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Old 07-26-2019, 10:09 PM   #52
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Old 07-26-2019, 11:39 PM   #53
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I found the documentary I watched about malls. Here's a link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBEajQWy-LU

Barry
I do not believe that the documentary did much research. Locally, an older mall is 'dying' with 30% vacancy & a big factor is the demise of Sears which was an anchor.

Also, not too far away another mall was created that was more modern & had more stuff for people with a bit more money; the mall is about 10 min away by freeway. Then a recent shopping area was developed that seems to cater to the more affluent judging from the shops; the uppity shopping area is between the 2 malls. A 3rd mall (new) is also thriving as it also catered more to the affluent. Downtown shopping isn't attracting that many people from the bedroom communities. And importantly, people don't 'dress up' much any more; & so clothing stores are not doing as well as pre-Jobs. I only wear jeans & polo shirts! no ironing. I've seen people running around in pajama bottoms or sweatpants which means less sales for store as dressing up to go to downtown to shop is no longer 'fashionable'(?).

Another thing is parking in the city center is bad especially since it require payment for a hard to space, including the parking metered space.

Like many things, malls needed to be remodeled. Buildings in shopping areas are being remodeled/updated & is done easier than a monolithic mall.
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Old 07-27-2019, 06:09 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by barryem View Post
True hackers have changed. When I got into programming in the late 1960s a hacker was the programmer in the shop that the other programmers went to when they couldn't figure out how to solve a problem. He was the guy who could hack together a solution to just about anything. Not every shop had a hacker but the ones who did had an edge.

When people began looking for ways to break into computers or corrupt computers and the press got wind of it they mistakenly called these guys hackers. Probably because they misunderstood something in an interview. The name stuck. But real hackers are really just very good programmers, the press be damned.

It's probably also worth noting that viruses began in unix, which is what both BSD and Linux eventually grew out of.

Barry
That reminded me of Hackers (S. Levy's book) which I read a long time ago, in high school, in paper, from the library. Probably something I should reread. So I check Amazon, and they have it (of course they would have it). When did Amazon start renting out books? First book I seen with that option. Probably going to buy it instead, removing DRM on a rental is not my thing.

Last edited by DuckieTigger; 07-27-2019 at 06:33 AM. Reason: Oops, misspelled author,
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Old 07-27-2019, 07:14 AM   #55
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IMO Mnuchin’s statements and the recent DoJ’s launch of an anti-trust review of Amazon, Facebook, and Google are nearly entirely politically motivated, on a mostly baseless conspiracy theory that they are politically biased against a certain political party. The DoJ is on a fishing expedition, but I think it is unlikely to be successful.

President Trump himself has publicly called for these things to happen, and in particular seems to have a personal vendetta against Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, who also happens to own the Washington Post, which he routinely calls ‘fake news’ in an attempt to deflect reporting he regards as unfavorable.

(Disclosure: I never bought books at B&N, and Amazon has gotten about 99% of my book-related purchases for the last 20+ years.)

Leaving politics aside, I don’t think Amazon (or Google or Facebook for that matter) is in fact in violation of the current anti-trust laws, or anywhere close to it. Microsoft’s run in with DoJ was a cautionary tale, was a huge setback for them, and was a boon for Google. Such large tech companies have regular training for their employees and teams of lawyers who review everything to make sure that they don’t repeat Microsoft’s error.

Google dominates in Search, and therefore ad revenue. Why? Is it ‘better’? I don’t know. But it is not a monopoly. Virtually all web browsers offer a choice of search engines, but most people never change the default (and Google pays Apple to make Google the default in Safari, for example). I use DuckDuckGo, and it is just fine.

Facebook dominates in social networking (in the USA especially), mostly because it was better than what preceded it and they have made strategic acquisitions since then. But they are running into headwinds in China, India and elsewhere and it is becoming fashionable to delete one’s Facebook account. Nobody is forced to have one or use one, apart from relatively mild social pressure. It’s unclear what societal or economic or whatever benefit there would be in ‘breaking up Facebook’ or how you would go about doing it.

Amazon has dominant share of book and ebook sales, but far from a monopoly in that segment. There are plenty of people who are determined not to ever buy books from Amazon, independent booksellers are thriving, and ‘nobody reads anymore’ so what does it matter. And it is not where they make money: AWS generates about half of their operating income, though only 13% of their total revenue, and it is growing much faster than the rest of Amazon. They are far from a monopoly in retail, or internet retail for that matter, nor is it clear they are on any path to become one (if they buy Walmart or vice versa that is a different story). Well over half of the retail revenue is through third party sellers.

Returning to politics, Elizabeth Warren wants to break these companies up too, and has a plan for doing so, but it does not make any sense to me. Undo Amazon’s Zappo’s acquisition? How does that change anything?

Or you’d have to convince a court that Facebook (Google, Amazon) is a public utility/platform covered by some interstate commerce laws or something, and I don’t think that’s possible.

What these companies have in common is they want to mine our personal data and make money off of it. That’s a problem, but we need some new laws to address that.

In the meantime, whatever trouble Big Tech is causing, it is mostly on us to understand it and make choices accordingly.
Couldn't agree more. Definitely politically motivated. Munchkin sucking up to his boss. What happened to 'free market'? I applaud Amazon and their innovation. I was visiting relatives. We were talking about books, they wouldn't use amazon and said they'd prefer to support local business. To each his own. I prefer the free market. I'll buy from whoever has the best product at the best price that is most convenient to me. If that puts a local business out of business, then so be it.

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Old 07-27-2019, 07:56 AM   #56
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I think where the author went wrong, as regards amazon lovers, was to say "Amazon" instead of "online retail." But there is no doubt that online retail has massively hurt physical stores. A cursory search reveals that Amazon controls between 40-50% of online retail aproximately, and is the single biggest player. So what the author said, regardless of his motives, is largely true.

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Old 07-27-2019, 09:26 AM   #57
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I think where the author went wrong, as regards amazon lovers, was to say "Amazon" instead of "online retail." But there is no doubt that online retail has massively hurt physical stores. A cursory search reveals that Amazon controls between 40-50% of online retail aproximately, and is the single biggest player. So what the author said, regardless of his motives, is largely true.
It's very easy. Let the market decide. I see no need whatsoever for Government intervention to save retail dinosaurs from extinction. I suspect that there will still be many physical stores which can compete.

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Old 07-27-2019, 01:33 PM   #58
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Amazon should absolutely be investigated. Doesn't mean they should be convicted, but certainly looked into.

As with Msft back in the '90's....today's winners are both out competing/innovating AND engaging in anti-competitive behavior.

Amazon has out competed and out innovated in the FULFILLMENT aspect of online commerce. Their "all you can eat shipping" for $125, Amazon Prime was genius. All the money they've invested in fulfillment centers, trucking, etc. etc. that's made "two day shipping" the baseline with one day and same time coming on strong. Very tough to compete with.

I buy a lot from Amazon that I would buy from stores but it's more convenient to wait two days (or one day) than it is to drive to the store.

However, I still believe that Amazon used predatory pricing when launching the Kindle and putting all the NYT's best sellers on sale for $9.99. That made selling ebooks unprofitable for anybody else. It threatened the business models of the suppliers of those books. It would have kept Apple from entering the market (and anybody else) as nobody can compete against "losing money". I do hope that this investigation will revisit that situation. Apple was said to have colluded with the publishers...but the judge specifically ruled out even considering whether or not Amazon's practices where anti-competitive. They were.

Another area that needs attention is when a platform provider also uses the platform. Google selling ads and competing with it's own services against those buying ads. The accusation (likely to be true) is that Google favors it's own properties in an unfair, anti-competitive way.

Apple will fall under this same scrutiny for the App store. There is no doubt it is a conflict of interest for Apple to sell iBooks and want to charge Amazon 30% to sell Kindle books via the Kindle app.

Amazon and Google both use the data they collect from their platforms to steer which services and products they sell. If that data isn't available for others....is that anti-competitive?

I'm thinking of Amazon's growing collection of products that they make and market themselves. I realize that grocery stores have long sold house brands alongside the national brand name consumer products goods. Still, it's an area worthy of considering in terms of open and fair competition.

It's not having a platform that one company controls that's a problem IMHO. It's HOW they go about using that same platform as a competitor on it.

As it relates to book stores....I think for the most part, that was the result of Amazon coming up with a better mouse trap. Pretty much all the books, priced well, and delivered quickly.
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Old 07-27-2019, 01:48 PM   #59
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Regarding ebooks, I used to buy most of my ebooks from B&N as my 1st ebook reader was the 1st gen Nook & was one of the lucky ones that got it before Xmas on the 1st shipment. I stopped buying from B&N when I encountered the suicidal action by B&N in not letting anyone download the ebook, easily or with trauma. I also stopped looking at Google books because I also was unable to download an ebook, turns out that it was a "text book". I do not care in either case as I do not want to be tied to an internet connection in order to read MY purchased ebook.

Obviously, Amazon is "monopolizing" the ebook business by default & with full cooperation from other ebook sellers.

To me, the demise of the "shopping malls" is just the single structure enclosed malls. I do see the rise of many open air shopping malls(?); the open air shopping areas is like shopping in 'downtown' as on has to brave the elements between stores/buildings & traverse down different streets/walkways instead of one long walkway. The times & preferences/customs have changed. It is easier to update/refresh an open air shopping area than a "mall"; even easier to do add-ons.
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Old 07-27-2019, 03:58 PM   #60
murraypaul
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Join Date: Jun 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pajamaman View Post
It's totally obvious robots will take more jobs than they provide. As you truly seem unable to see that, or refuse to, I'll leave it there.
I think it is pretty clear that the impact of technology has been, over a long period of time, to replace a large number of jobs with a smaller number of higher skilled jobs.
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amazon, anti-trust, competition, monopoly

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