Why I Don’t Shop At Amazon

Why I Don't Shop at Amazon
Source: Pexels.com

So I might ruffle a few feathers with this post as it seems like everybody LOVES Amazon. Even people in my own family are Prime members. And, they have to be doing something right for a single share of stock to be worth $1,000. So let me tell you why I don’t shop at Amazon as much as humanly possible.

It’s the New Walmart

If you remember back to the 90s and early 2000s, Walmart received a lot of angst for killing the American Main Street and forcing many a mom and pop store to retire early because they simply could no longer compete with a superstore that had the ability to offer many of the same products for less money.

There were plenty of other reasons to “hate” Walmart as well:

  • Stores were (and still are) dirtier than other retail establishments
  • Employees have a lower hourly wage and fewer benefits than other places of business
  • Walmart is a greedy and big corporation
  • Private labels are not good quality

While there are many gripes about Walmart, there is one reason we have probably all bought something from there at least once in our lifetimes. They carry products we can’t find anywhere else, or, they are cheaper than other national retailers.

If you live in a small town like we do, your only retail options are Walmart and the Dollar Tree. Unless you shop online.

Amazon is the Internet Walmart

Amazon is to the Internet what Walmart is to brick-and-mortar businesses. Business models are always changing and right now the shop online and ship from a warehouse method is the most cost-effective for businesses and consumers.

Walmart is still the #1 retailer in the world in terms of size, but, Amazon is probably the most popular online retailer as they have their hands in so many different products.

While Amazon started as a bookseller you can also buy the following items from them:

  • Laptops
  • Kindle readers and Ebooks
  • Audiobooks and Audible streaming service
  • Stream movies and tv shows
  • Groceries
  • Amazon Echo
  • (Almost) Anything that is sold in any brick and mortar store
  • Subscribe & Save can net you an additional discount

For $99 a year, you can even get free 2-day shipping and complimentary access to the digital resources mentioned above.

I used to shop almost exclusively on Amazon in college and through my mid-20s because you only needed to spend $25 to get free shipping. And, I could buy used items for less even after paying the shipping fees. It was once they started raising the shipping minimums and basically requiring the Prime membership did my wife & I start looking elsewhere to shop.

I Try to Avoid Amazon and Walmart

As I’ve mentioned before, Amazon’s Prime program is hard to pass up. It’s one subscription fee that can actually be worthwhile and save you money in the long run. Plus, we still make the occasional purchase there and I also occasionally include Amazon links on my site.

In general, my wife and I try to avoid Amazon and Walmart as much as possible.

Here’s why:

  • Continuing to support the two largest retailers only continues to make them larger
  • We can find better (or equivalent) deals at other places
  • We try to support other stores and retailers that share a similar vision as us

I like to root for the underdog, and my biggest fear is that there won’t be an underdog left if we all shop at Amazon. At that point, Amazon can do whatever they want with prices, product selection, etc. If there’s a lack of competition, Amazon has no reason to continue improving their performance or bring new products to the market.


Don't Shop at Amazon

Will Amazon have a retail monopoly?

Where We Shop Instead

If we rarely shop at Amazon or Walmart, where do we shop instead?

Here’s where:

  • Craigslist and thrift stores….we like to buy used as much as possible
  • Online retailers that partner with Ebates (get 1% to 40% cash back on every purchase)
  • Wholesalers like Boxed or Jet that offer 2-day shipping*
  • Ebay (I’m a big fan of their Buy It Now option)
  • Vitacost and Azure Standard for healthy food

It takes a little more work on our end, but, we get can find better deals. And, we know we are supporting smaller companies and individual sellers as well.

*For full disclosure, Walmart owns Jet.

Why Do You Shop At Amazon?

I’m not telling you not to shop at Amazon because that would be hypocritical on my part. They are very successful for a reason. Before you complete your next purchase, I just ask you to ponder why you shop at Amazon. Maybe you can support another company to inspire competition and to help out the little man.

Do you shop at Amazon exclusively, or, do you “spread the wealth” like we try to?




About the Author

I'm a personal freelance writer.

22 Comments on "Why I Don’t Shop At Amazon"

  1. While I am not boycotting Amazon, I have been shopping there less and less. Not only because I find myself wanting less stuff (or just buying it used off craigslist or eBay like you wrote), but also because their prices have skyrocketed! With some shopping around you can often find it priced less on other sites.

    • Their prices have gone up and it is harder to find a deal. That’s one reason I shop on eBay. Several of the 3rd-party listings also sell on Amazon but the prices are usually cheaper and you get free shipping in many cases too! Plus, you only have to buy one item, not $35 worth.

  2. Of course I’m partial because I’m from Arkansas which is where Walmart was born and still is headquartered but I think much of the constant litany of attack on them is sour grapes. They are huge because they met the consumer’s wishes vastly better than any other retailer in human history. It is how the free market works. If you don’t like them, guess what? They don’t really care because you are statistically irrelevant to their success. They service the mainstream customer who has no idealistic hang ups about sourcing or the survival of mom and pop retail. Amazon is much the same. Most people are simply concerned about price and convenience. As far as eliminating competition, that’s an unrealistic fear. Just like Walmart created the need for Costco the company that will rival Amazon someday is probably already being created by the next Sam Walton.

    • We are just a number to any major corporation. As you mentioned, the beauty of the free market is that we can shop where we want. It will be interesting to see who will be Amazon’s future rival and how the retail landscape will change in the upcoming decade.

  3. I’m a huge fan of Craigslist and trying to buy things off of there first. I then utilize Slickdeals if I can’t find it on there. Althought I will admit that as a last resort I’ll use Amazon because it’s so easy to utilize.

    BTW…I believe that Jet got bought out by Wal-Mart.

    • Yes, I forgot that Jet was purchased by Walmart (I’ll put a not in the article). I personally like shopping from them since their site is easier to navigate than WM although you do need to pay attention to the prices.

      I’ll have to check out Slickdeals. I’ve just heard the name mentioned a week or two but that’s about it.

  4. I shop at Amazon and I’m a huge fan of their business model. I get your point that they are a huge corporation and are crushing the rest of their competition, but I do think their delivery model is way ahead of most retailers. I don’t think retailers provide nearly as much value as they used to, as they are really just a way to deliver products to people so that product owners don’t have to sell on their own (which does work for some brands). If I look at a store like Target I don’t really see how they are providing much value, especially with how awful their website and in-store pickup is.

    I have strong feelings about this : )

    • Amazon has an impressive business model and we sell our own products on there because of the wide audience exposure you don’t get from other online sites. Their business model is also why they are one of the FAANG stocks that have helped a lot of investment portfolios in recent years.

      I haven’t shopped at Target since we don’t have one in our town, but, I intentionally won’t do in-store pickup from a few retailers unless I absolutely have to because of less than desirable experiences.

  5. Wonderful post, Josh. We try and do smaller shops too, but the majority of our spending is still done at Walmart. As for Amazon, I try to avoid it when I can. Just the other day I purchased a book directly from the seller as opposed to getting it on Amazon because I got a better deal by purchasing directly from the author. It’s always good to check before your purchase to see if you can support a smaller shop. We did that with our homeschooling books too this year.

    • We usually buy third party on Amazon or Half when it comes to used books for price and the fact it helps an individual sell more. Having sold books and DVDs on Amazon, I can tell you that they probably have the highest seller fees of the digital marketplaces. But, if you didn’t list on Amazon, the book might not have sold and still be collecting dust on our bookshelf.

  6. Oh yes, we spend a good bit of money with Amazon. We always price-compare though. You can’t assume anymore that Amazon’s prices are always the best. We’ve found a few things we can get locally here for cheaper.

  7. I admit, I’m a bit of an Amazon addict, but the points you’re raising are worth raising. Too big is a problem, and, as a book fan, I miss having more options to shop. I’m glad you’ve brought up some other choices to explore.

    • Thank you, Emily. I’ll admit to that I like walking into an actual book store and browsing the aisles, even if I only buy from the clearance section. Lately, I’ve been going to the library or listening to audiobooks to save some money. Or, buying books based off the recommendations of friends and other blogs.

  8. Great post, Josh. I find myself in the same situation as you – not a fan of Walmart and Amazon, but sometimes caving to the convenience and lower prices. I’m also uncertain of the ethics behind other smaller stores and online businesses. Do they benefit from non-existant labour laws in different countries too? I don’t know. This is something I’d like to become more informed about. You’ve put some good thought into this whole issue. Thanks for sharing your views and practices.

    • The best way I can think of to support companies that don’t advantage of labor laws is by buying fair trade or buying handmade products from social-minded companies, charities, and families. We do try to support social entrepreneuship as much as possible.
      Smaller retailers might often sell the same products as Amazon and Walmart, the only difference is the money is going to the competition instead of the two largest retail conglomerates. Buying Nike or New Balance shoes for example.

  9. In the last few years I have steered clear of Amazon and only buy there if something is not available in a physical store near me. I prefer to do this even if the price is 10% higher in store. These guys are putting up a shop you can visit and also providing employment to people who may be your neighbors. But as Amazon grows, they crowd everyone else off the table which means that local stores are disappearing and can no longer compete viably. Many people think this doesn’t affect them but actually it does. Heres how – when your neighborhood stores close, people lose jobs which then leads to decreasing wages and unemployment. When this happens, these people spend less, lose their homes and it drives down home prices. I hate to think that when my son grows up and looks for his first job out of school or college, there will be no retail shops to knock doors at for a starting position. It is not an overnight decay but will manifest over many years. My honest advice – shop local and buy indigenous goods as far as possible!

    • My sentiments too. I know buying from other national online stores isn’t much better. We try to support local business and even small online sellers when we can. That’s one reason why I like Ebay, you’re more likely to have individual sells.

      Supporting local business for us is usually just the hardware store. Walmart, Dollar General, and Lowe’s basically hold the local market for everything else. And, we try to buy used when possible so we don’t have to go to a big box store to buy new.

  10. I do not shop at Amazon. I stopped for the reason rules and needs have changed I am old enough to remember real hardware stores. I remember fixing appliances and faucets. Now we buy things over and over and throw them away. 2 day products to your door. I have up cable,I gave up Windows for Linux and have already stopped Amazon. Nothing missing for me I can’t live without.

    • Yea. I’d say a lot of us millennials and Gen Z will be in for a rude awakening when the Internet breaks. I can at least remember a pre-Internet lifestyle but it’ll be a culture shock for me too. It’s been almost 20 years after all.

  11. Crystal Zevon | July 5, 2020 at 8:36 am | Reply

    I do everything possible not to shop at Walmart of Amazon. Years ago when my grandsons were starting kindergarten, I took them each on a shopping trip to get school supplies. What should have been easy, took 2 full days because we wouldn’t go to Walmart. I live in rural Vermont and it’s not easy, but I thank you for these tips on other places to go on line. We always buy used when possible, but I’ve been looking for mattresses which need to be new and every site takes me back to Amazon. Really frustrating but I’m determined. Bring back local small businesses.

    • It’s difficult to do especially this year. Having visited rural VT several years ago, I can imagine what hurdles you’re going through. I’m glad we have two locally-owned hardware stores. We have been supporting them as much as possible over the last few years although we still need to go to big box stores to get a few items they don’t carry.

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