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Do Not Shop on Amazon for the Holidays This Year

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When it comes to giving gifts in 2021, it would do a world of good if people patronized independent artists and sellers rather than the behemoth that is Amazon. (Courtesy Pxfuel)

At some point last week, I realized that it was about to be the holiday season. Somehow, we’d trudged through one of the most trying periods in modern history, and that celebratory end-of-year blowout of family, festivities and gift giving was nearly upon us. Unfortunately, just because this year is nearly over, it doesn’t mean any semblance of normalcy will be returning.

Because of Trump’s callous, moronic and criminally negligent handling of the pandemic, millions of people believe that they shouldn’t get COVID vaccines. And if things go the way they are going in Europe, we may have another COVID spike coming our way very soon. Things are still really, truly, not OK and because of this you should be extra mindful about where you spend your money this season.

It’s no secret that Amazon is a shady company. Among other things, it’s purposefully harmful to small businesses, treats employees poorly, is anti-union, and pays $0 in federal taxes. On top of that, Jeff Bezos is a monumental douchebag. But yes, they are incredibly convenient, I know.

While it would be great if you stopped giving them your money altogether, I know that’s not realistic (though if you want to learn how you can easily do that, read this). But I am asking you not to use them for holiday shopping this year. In fact, I’m hoping you’ll also avoid Target, Walmart or any other major retailer this year as well.

Why? Because this year it is imperative that you spend your money with local and independent shops, retailers, and makers. Whereas companies like Amazon are having record years because of the pandemic, all the funky shops and artisans who make the world a more interesting place have been devastated. You know this. I know you know this. But right now, I’m asking you to do something about it.

Many of the places and creators that you love will not survive if they don’t have a fantastic holiday season. Shopping on Amazon will only serve to make the richest tool in the world even richer, when he’s already grown his wealth by more than $50 billion during the pandemic. Let me write that out so you get a better picture: that’s $50,000,000,000!

Earlier, when I realized what time of the year it was, I posted the following on my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: “Do you have an indie business where people can buy cool holiday gifts online? Leave the link to your store in the comments so others can find dope gifts.”

I was floored and inspired to see all the wonderful and creative things people were making and selling. From custom pet portraits to organic beauty products to jewelry to charcuterie boards, hundreds of artists, musicians, craftspeople and other makers shared brilliant creations that were made with love.

These are the people who we should be supporting this holiday season. These are our friends and neighbors, our family and our random acquaintances. Hell, they might even be complete strangers, but they need and deserve your hard-earned money WAY more than the shareholders of Amazon or Walmart.

One way you can find out about these indie makers is by posting the same thing I did on my social media feeds and then peep at all the impressive links shared in the comments. Another is to check out online creator markets like Etsy, Uncommon Good, or Cratejoy where you can search for things the same way you would on Amazon, yet find independent, handmade versions.

Assuming you feel comfortable doing so and COVID safety measures haven’t become even more restrictive, it’s vital that you support your favorite brick and mortar stores as well. They are in even more perilous predicaments than people who have online shops, since they have a whole lot of rent to contend with, too. Of course, many of them allow you to order online, but if you feel safe, I’m sure they’d like to see your lovely mask-covered face in person.

This is also a fine opportunity to support local restaurants. Instead of cooking your holiday meals, order them from nearby eateries. You’ll be saving yourself hours of work and cleanup, while also supporting the places that make living in a city so great. And if humanly possible, see if you can pick up the food yourself since the delivery services are absolutely rapacious.

Do not shop on Amazon this year. Support people who deserve your money. You’re going to be so glad you did.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.

1 Comment

  1. Mark
    November 20, 2021 at 4:39 am — Reply

    It need not be either/or. You can support local shops and sites that support independent businesses . . . and shop on Amazon. And you can do so while also supporting measures to hold corporations accountable.

    Scorched Earth doesn’t work. Being selective, and proactive, does. Ringing a bell in the name of the worker always sounds great. But it is a tin bell in a world where other dynamics operate. So pitch in and support local businesses. And don’t let shaming stop you from making purchases that save you money from _Big_Bad_Companies.

    Again, perspective counts when people want to make you feel guilty for doing what is best for you, your wallet, and your home. And ad hominem appeals do little to shore up support for more pro-active measures when balanced reporting can do better work for the same goals.

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