At the start of this year I cancelled my Amazon Prime subscription. The motivations were political and environmental and now I feel the urge to write about them.
Two worrying trends have been in the my mind in the past few years. Economic inequality, and environmental degradation.
Brilliant chalkboard outside Local shop pic.twitter.com/JK0sOwqVbo— Simon Sugar (@simonsugar) June 13, 2017
Recognising my Amazon Prime addiction
Amazon Prime's free shipping is, in isolation, a huge loss leader for Amazon. Yet Amazon push it so much onto customers because it transforms some-time customers to all-the-time customers. The lure of having almost anything arrive the next day is too great.
Amazon became my one-shop for everything. Even if something cost a little more, the knowledge that you can find almost everything in a few taps kept me coming back.
When I moved to Switzerland, I did not realise they didn't have an Amazon service. I felt cut off. I continued to order items on Amazon Prime to a UK address, so I could pick them up when I traveled in for work.
Watching the wealth gap widen
Amazon's struggle to pay corporation tax is well known. When I moved to Kemptown in Brighton I saw how many local businesses still exist and how they contribute to the local village-style community.
The UK economy is struggling again, it feels wrong to throw more money into the pockets of a non-UK owned company when people around me are struggling.
Did I really want to continue contributing to making the rich even richer? Or do I want to give a helping hand to people who live locally, and contribute to the local community instead of paving over it for profit?
I decided I'd rather pay more and expend more effort to find what I need in my local area.
My personal environmental footprint
Recycling is good, better than throwing everything into a landfill, everyone knows this. But the process of recycling is also costly to the environment, it costs energy and resources to transform a cardboard box into another cardboard box.
Producing goods costs the environment a lot. Not just creating the thing, but the packaging, printing, shipping, etc. You can help reduce by buying products second-hand, so they don't end up in a landfill while an identical new version is being shipped to you.
I'm trying to reduce and reuse more things. Before buying something, asking myself if I really need it. Removing the endorphin releasing Prime service from my phone was a good barrier to slow down my purchasing decisions.
My new purchasing workflow
- Do I really need to own this thing? Can I borrow it?
- Can I buy it second-hand?
- Can I buy it from a local, independently owned shops?
- Can I buy it from a UK-owned business?
- Ok fine, Amazon