• Milena Murphy

How To Break-Up With Amazon This Christmas, Without Being An Utter Grinch

We’ve known for a long time that Amazon was monopolising the retail industry, but COVID-19 has done absolutely nothing to ameliorate this situation. The pandemic has caused a huge surge in online sales for Amazon across the world. As of August this year it is valued at 1.7 trillion US Dollars. This makes Bezos’ retail scorched-earth policy an ever closer reality, which is frankly terrifying.

I know that this year has been a tough one for us all, and so maybe we have put our ethical principles on the backburner. Furthermore, with lockdown 2.0 and the new tier system making high street shopping virtually impossible in Bristol, it is no surprise that we are looking to buy Christmas presents online this year. However, it is now more than ever that we need to say adios to Bezos and his tax-avoiding, planet-destroying online retail shark.

Here are 3 good reasons why we need to break up with Amazon this Christmas, and 3 good resources we can count on to still give the people we care about nice gifts this year!

  1. The sobering fact that if you’re not paying for it, someone else or something else, does.

We all know that Amazon is super convenient, and a lot of the time cheaper than the high street alternatives. It is great for us to have the luxury of next day delivery for a product we, in actual fact, could’ve waited a couple of days for. It is sometimes hard to remember that it isn’t magic that gets our cardboard packages to our doors in less than 24 hours, but warehouse workers on 15 hour shifts working tirelessly through the night. I’m sure you’ve heard the story that came out not too long ago about an overworked staff member who couldn’t even take a 5 minute toilet break, and out of sheer desperation resorted to peeing in an old water bottle. This very worker takes 5 weeks to earn what Bezos (Amazon CEO) earns in 1 second. Bezos has seen his wealth grow by $74 billion this year alone. In one single day, his wealth rose by $13 billion. This is absolutely obscene (and you can test this insanity for yourself using this wealth shown to scale tool which I discovered when writing this https://mkorostoff.github.io/1-pixel-wealth/ ).

2. Amazon obstinately avoid taxation, and get away with it every time.

Amazon has quite a reputation for avoiding taxation. A report published by Fair Tax Mark argues that there is an aggregate global tax gap of $100 billion. This is the amount of tax that goes unpaid by only 6 mega-corporations. It is difficult to imagine what we could do with this sum of money, let alone Bezos’ entire fortune. Luckily this schematic summarises it quite nicely:

***and this was made in pre-Covid times. I wonder what else he could fix now.

3. Amazon’s carbon emissions in one single year is equivalent to 13 coal-fired power stations.

I truly believe this one speaks for itself. Our planet needs us to boycott Amazon!

This year has been hard enough already, so what can we do to make Christmas full of nice things, in spite of our Amazon boycott?

  1. Look at this website that offers guidance on how to break up with and live without Amazon, not just for Christmas but forever. It offers guidance on ethical bookstores and plenty more: https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/ethical-campaigns/boycott-amazon/shopping-without-amazon

  2. Buy your Christmas gifts from Etsy, Not On The Highstreet or the Oxfam online store. Just because we can’t go to the shops to get Christmas presents doesn’t mean Amazon is our only available source of gifts.

  3. Get back in touch with your creativity. Remember all those banana breads you baked in March and April of this year? Remember all those weird arts and crafts hobbies you re-discovered in lockdown 1? Try and summon your creative juices into something meaningful, and special for your loved ones. It’s been a weird year. I’m sure that even if your clay model of your mum goes horrendously wrong, it’ll give everyone something to laugh about on Christmas day.