When big is too big
Amazon.com is an amazing success story. Its founder, Jeff Bezos, is the father of e-tailing and has taken a great idea and executed it brilliantly.
That said, there are some things about Amazon that are downright scary. Bezos’ announcement Sunday that the company is experimenting with using drones to deliver packages to shoppers within 30 minutes of purchase is one example.
We can’t imagine a more unwanted presence than dozens of drones flying through neighborhoods – not to mention the consternation when one lands on Junior’s head while he’s in the wading pool on the front lawn.
And if the National Security Agency thinks monitoring cellphones is tough, try keeping track of what’s inside “shopping packages” once drones become commonplace.
It would be laughable, unthinkable – until one considers Bezos’ past successes. And the Federal Aviation Administration is loosening the rules for commercial use of drones.
In addition to the congestion in the skies, Bezos’ idea threatens thousands of brick-and-mortar retailers – and the millions of jobs those stores provide. If that happens, Amazon may well be the first company that can truly be said to be too big.
In one setback for Amazon and other e-tailers, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a New York court’s ruling that such businesses must pay sales tax to the state even though they have no physical presence there.
Traditional retailers have complained that not charging sales tax gives e-tailers an unfair advantage. Amazon’s website says it now collects sales taxes for 16 states – it does not charge Hawaii’s general excise tax.
While we will have to wait to see if e-tailers will begin paying all state sales taxes and if drones fill our neighborhoods, consumers should patronize businesses that employ their neighbors and help support local infrastructure.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.