On Oct. 13-14, Amazon hosted its annual Prime Day, which promised several enticing discounts on popular products.
Amazon has hosted the event since 2015, but it takes on a whole different meaning in the middle of a global pandemic and its ongoing consequences on the economy.
We are in the middle of one of the largest economic recessions in world history. Almost every single business in this country has struggled financially.
In mid-March, several businesses were forced to close after a slew of stay-at-home orders. A lot of them will never open back up. The Yelp Economic Impact report estimates that over 160,000 businesses have closed since March.
For a handful of large corporations, however, there were almost no consequences. There is perhaps no company that has benefited more from the pandemic than Amazon.
According to Reuters, the company posted its largest profit in its 26-year history in July. Amazon has made over $5 billion in revenue so far this year, which is already double its revenue from 2019.
Unlike other businesses, Amazon also faced very little restrictions on its operations as they were declared an “essential” business.
Going to church was not considered “essential,” keeping the already struggling small family-owned grocery store open was not considered “essential,” but ordering random plastic garbage from China on Amazon was considered “essential.”
That is not to say that Amazon did not contribute anything during the pandemic. It would be unfair not to point out that they delivered critical medical supplies during the peak months of the pandemic.
However, we cannot ignore the struggle of small businesses. Small businesses were struggling even before Amazon became the monopoly it is today, but the pandemic has accelerated the problem even further.
Of course, these businesses cannot compete with the convenience of finding exactly what you want and getting it shipped within two days. What these small businesses can offer I would argue is far more valuable: passion.
Small businesses are the backbone of our country. They provide local communities with jobs and the money spent there stays within the community.
Amazon might seem like a company that is able to do everything, but they cannot. No matter how many deals they offer or how fast they ship their products, Amazon can never put as much dedication to their craft as a small business does.
I recently moved to Hammond this past August and have grown very fond of the myriad of local businesses found here. Berry Town Produce has become one of my favorite local places to shop. Sure, it does not always have everything that I am looking for, but the produce they have to offer is of very good quality. From my experiences, the staff has been extremely helpful as well.
Bayou Booksellers is also a very interesting store that I frequently visit. There are tons of interesting knick-knacks and books to choose from. Whenever I have enough free time (which is very rare nowadays), I enjoy going there to see what they have on that particular day. My mom used to take my brothers and me to antique shops when we were little, and that shop reminds me of those little shops. It is also located downtown, so it is very close to campus.
Next time you have the urge to buy a knick-knack or even groceries (yes, you can buy groceries on Amazon now), consider who would benefit more from your purchase: a multi-billion dollar transnational corporation or your local small business.