Posts tagged ‘Online Buying’

August 9, 2011 and Paying Taxes

by Vince

John Judis at The New Republic has an interesting piece on Amazon’s intentional efforts to avoid taxation in several states that direly need revenue. After all, Amazon’s ability to avoid charging sale’s tax provides you and I opportunities to buy books (as well as plethora of other items) for dirt cheap.

This subject, which has been intensified lately due to Borders declaring bankruptcy, may be a good time for us all to question when to buy books online and when to buy in a store. What logic comes into play when we choose one outlet over the other? For me, if I can find a book for a penny plus ~$4 s&h on Amazon, I will go with that option over a store that may charge anywhere in the upward vicinity of $27 plus tax. If I can find a book in a store for a few dollars more than Amazon, I will go with the store. Judis elaborates on the ripple effects of the latter choice: “local realtors sustain neighborhoods and suburban malls; they fund local newspapers and theater groups. They are part of a community in a way that Amazon or Overstock—its Utah-based partner in fighting state sales taxes—will never be.” It is also worth noting that Amazon would not me Amazon without bookstores or trading houses who originally sell the books that we find online for a low price.

August 10, 2010

…but will it make you happy?

by Vince

A couple wonders if what they have will make them happy. The article is worth the full read:

Inspired by books and blog entries about living simply, Ms. Strobel and her husband, Logan Smith, both 31, began donating some of their belongings to charity. As the months passed, out went stacks of sweaters, shoes, books, pots and pans, even the television after a trial separation during which it was relegated to a closet. Eventually, they got rid of their cars, too. Emboldened by a Web site that challenges consumers to live with just 100 personal items, Ms. Strobel winnowed down her wardrobe and toiletries to precisely that number.

Her mother called her crazy.

Today, three years after Ms. Strobel and Mr. Smith began downsizing, they live in Portland, Ore., in a spare, 400-square-foot studio with a nice-sized kitchen. Mr. Smith is completing a doctorate in physiology; Ms. Strobel happily works from home as a Web designer and freelance writer. She owns four plates, three pairs of shoes and two pots. With Mr. Smith in his final weeks of school, Ms. Strobel’s income of about $24,000 a year covers their bills. They are still car-free but have bikes. One other thing they no longer have: $30,000 of debt.

As I began to read this, I could understand how their parents saw them as crazy. As I read on, I can see how they could be greatly praised by the same people. Debt free living trumps any lifestyle based on the overabundance of things, especially at the cost of your credit, money, and your own / your families mobility. Reports have been released that America’s personal debt has decreased while in fact many of these debts have been cancelled or made null by the card lending companies. Buying / spending habits are not different.

I noticed a neat side to buying and money the other month. I was buying a shirt from a clothing store. I had waited for this shirt to go on sale, which is an improvement for me (I use to buy at full price without even thinking about it). It was a good price for the shirt and I was pleased. The cost didn’t deter me. When I viewed that charge on my credit card that month in relation to my other purchases (most notably other leisure items), I saw that same charge amount have more of an impact on my wallet and my thinking than before. It was strange and gives in to the complex of electronic purchases: I ordered this item online and didn’t shell out the cash right then and there. It seems that credit card purchasing online delays that reactive feeling. Could that there have a deeper meaning?

Picture source: here.