It’s illegal to buy a car direct from the factory or over the internet. You have to go through a local dealer. The electric car company Tesla is trying to change that. But state and local governments are resisting. That, arguably, goes against the free market and against the trends of the new technology. But do we really want online commerce to kill off small businesses that are the backbone of many small town economies? [Read more…]
We blogged earlier about how online shopping sites have a big advantage over local businesses in not having to charge sales tax. So states and now Congress have been trying to pass laws to collect those taxes. Amazon used to fight those efforts, but no longer, saying, in effect, throw me into that briar patch. From Farhad Manjoo in Slate:
Why would Amazon give up its precious tax advantage? This week, as part of an excellent investigative series on the firm, the Financial Times’ Barney Jopson reports that Amazon’s tax capitulation is part of a major shift in the company’s operations. Amazon’s grand strategy has been to set up distribution centers in faraway, low-cost states and then ship stuff to people in more populous, high-cost states. When I order stuff from Amazon, for instance, it gets shipped to California from one of the company’s massive warehouses in Kentucky or Nevada.
But now Amazon has a new game. Now that it has agreed to collect sales taxes, the company can legally set up warehouses right inside some of the largest metropolitan areas in the nation. Why would it want to do that? Because Amazon’s new goal is to get stuff to you immediately—as soon as a few hours after you hit Buy. . . .
It’s hard to overstate how thoroughly this move will shake up the retail industry. Same-day delivery has long been the holy grail of Internet retailers, something that dozens of startups have tried and failed to accomplish. (Remember Kozmo.com?) But Amazon is investing billions to make next-day delivery standard, and same-day delivery an option for lots of customers. If it can pull that off, the company will permanently alter how we shop. To put it more bluntly: Physical retailers will be hosed.
In Vancouver, British Columbia, there is a motorcycle repair shop that lets you use their tools and someone shows you how to fix your bike yourself. Here is a video about the business, which is called Motomethod:
The video shows the two owners enthusiastic about their vocation, including their zeal to love and serve their customers.
Would you say the do-it-yourself impulse is an example of vocation (cultivating your talents) or the repudiation of vocation (not letting yourself be served by someone else)?
Can you think of other businesses built on this model?
HT: Rich Shipe