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Huntn

macrumors Core
Original poster
May 5, 2008
23,461
26,582
The Misty Mountains
Looking for zip ties to tie up the Wife…I mean the Wife’s roses, I ventured into Lowe’s today to discover a package of 15, 18” black nylon, for $18. Something nibbled at the back of my brain, so a whipped out my phone, launched the Amazon App and there discovered I could order a package of 100, 18” black nylon zip ties for… $9, being delivered tomorrow. Guess what I chose? 🤔
 

maflynn

macrumors Haswell
May 3, 2009
73,447
43,358
This is why Amazon is both convenient and evil. People are choosing amazon over going to the store, and its not hurting just big box stores, but the small businesses that help your community. I actually choose to go to my local hardware store and buy there whenever possible. True its a tad more expensive, but its helping a local business owner who is active in the community.

I still buy things on amazon, its virtually impossible to not. I had to get some medical equipment for my mother coming out of rehab, no brick and mortar store carries that. There used to be a medical supplies store where I grew up, but amazon killed them off
 

Gregg2

macrumors 604
May 22, 2008
7,183
1,175
Milwaukee, WI
You chose to show the deal to a Lowe's employee and had them price match it?
That's what I do for my printer ink cartridges. Office Max/Depot will match their online price in the store if you ask. I recently got 3 standard color cartridges, and the online price was 5 bucks lower.

But, yeah, shopping on Amazon is often more convenient. Plus, since I can use my Discover Cashback points, I order things and pay no additional amount over what the stores tack on to cover their expenses for processing credit card payments. It's a vicious circle, isn't it?
 
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imaccooper

macrumors 6502
May 29, 2014
318
108
North Carolina
I know that you've already made the purchase, but for next time if you happen to have a Harbor Freight in the area, they are usually cheaper than Amazon for things like that. Zip ties, tape, glue, sandpaper, etc.

I get what you are saying though. I almost always check Amazon pricing before going to get something at a store like Lowes, and I've definitely pulled my phone out to price check in the store more than once.
 
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eyoungren

macrumors Penryn
Aug 31, 2011
28,770
26,837
This is why Amazon is both convenient and evil. People are choosing amazon over going to the store, and its not hurting just big box stores, but the small businesses that help your community. I actually choose to go to my local hardware store and buy there whenever possible. True its a tad more expensive, but its helping a local business owner who is active in the community.
tore carries that. There used to be a medical supplies store where I grew up, but amazon killed them off
I agree with you on this up to a certain point.

I grew up rural, so buying local was the only option. Local businesses had monopolies and charged accordingly because they were the only place you could get an item and they knew it. In some cases, supporting local business meant supporting the scummy council member of the town council because they got themselves elected to pad their pockets.

Business in metro places are no exception. I used to work for a small newspaper and a lot of our ads were for a business district where the majority of owners were people who'd retired from their high finance jobs and taken on a 'hobby'. "I've always wanted to run an ice cream store!" So, they opened one. Their stores kept banker hours and often closed at 2 or 3 in the afternoon. If they lost money, they didn't care.

One advertiser with us was on the city council. She had a hard time explaining where a million dollars in the city budget had gone off to.

I support genuine local business owners. I just do not run across too many of them.
 
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ProbablyDylan

macrumors newbie
Mar 26, 2024
28
37
Los Angeles
If I have the choice between ordering it online or picking up from a brick and mortar store, I try to go out of my way to pick it up. I personally find it increasingly difficult to patronize Amazon; especially now that their search is worse and listings are lined with alphabet soup house brands.

I'd love to support real, small businesses, but those are becoming fewer and farther between in my neck of the woods.
 

Mousse

macrumors 68040
Apr 7, 2008
3,488
6,707
Flea Bottom, King's Landing
One thing I will only buy online are glasses. Every local eyeglass shop--every frakking one--gouges you on the price of a pair of glasses. For the price of a single pair at the local shop, I can get 5-7 online. Unless they have a lense grinder in shop, they all get shipped over from China anyways.

Many, many years ago, I used to pay $200 for a single pair from LensCrafters or TSO. Now I get 5 different pairs for $170 online.
 

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Ivy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
63,937
46,402
In a coffee shop.
Agree with @maflynn.

Personally, I will always prefer to buy local if at all possible; quality, rather than price, is what matters, as does the idea of choosing to support local businesses (rather than giant chains).

For something such as a pair of glasses, I would never buy such a thing online; rather, I will take my business to a small, (but extremely good) local place, with highly qualified staff who know me - and who know my eyes (and I have had issues with my vision and with my eyes since I was a small child) personally.
 

bousozoku

Moderator emeritus
Jun 25, 2002
15,690
1,861
Lard
Normally, I would buy at a physical store, but without my car, I've had to order many things online.

Today. I went back to a Korean retaier's web site in order to have a certain item shipped, as their closest store is 60 miles away, and the stores I shopped before they were in the area are probably 75 miles away. The other day, the items were out of stock. Today, they're unavailable to ship to me. Everything I selected was unavailable to me. That sounds like a glitch, but it is what it is.

Amazon didn't have anything close, and the Chinese retailer's site I shop doesn't have anything, either. Time to learn to cook Korean.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Penryn
Aug 31, 2011
28,770
26,837
Agree with @maflynn.

Personally, I will always prefer to buy local if at all possible; quality, rather than price, is what matters, as does the idea of choosing to support local businesses (rather than giant chains).

For something such as a pair of glasses, I would never buy such a thing online; rather, I will take my business to a small, (but extremely good) local place, with highly qualified staff who know me - and who know my eyes (and I have had issues with my vision and with my eyes since I was a small child) personally.
Once upon a time before I met my wife I used to take my $60 Sears boots to a hole-in the wall boot repair shop. They did a great job, didn't charge much and I wasn't picky about how they looked (who cares what your boots look like sorting bulk and irregular packages at 2am?). I still have those boots (got them in 1992).

Before kids, my wife and I use to shop in metaphysics shops (candles, incense, knicknacks, etc). Those type of things you can find more or less online now but they are all mass-produced. We have some original and quality items because they were not.

Within my city is a local coffee shop I love, but haven't been in since COVID.

I'll visit and support local business as long as they are treating me right. I do not give my support (loyalty) blindly. While most do not take it lightly and are appreciative there are some that just don't care. I'm not going to frequent those businesses.

Not all major businesses (online or brick/mortar) are bad. Likewise, not all local single owner businesses are good.
 

TheIntruder

macrumors 68000
Jul 2, 2008
1,701
1,194
Whatever consistent price advantage Amazon used to have went away a long time ago.

Now, it can be hit or miss, and requires an current assessment. Sometimes, it can miss by a lot. There's one item I've shopped for that Amazon consistently prices at double the MSRP, and typical retail price elsewhere, and despite using the price feedback link, it hasn't budged. Whatever machine algorithm sets its price will not acknowledge that anomaly.

The product page doesn't even list the MSRP, and can't boast about a percentage off. Yet, it does have the claim that 400+ were sold in the last month, obviously to people who didn't, or didn't need to do a bit of research.

Their biggest advantage now is the selection, that nobody else can match. They're said to have 600 million SKUs

For comparison, an average supermarket, which carries a wide breadth of products, with multiple options for each item, has about 60,000.

Amazon stocks items that one would have a hard time finding in a typical B&M retail store, so they end up being the default option. Other online options carry the same advantage, though not to that extent.

But, it is still a free market to a large extent, and there are areas where it can't compete, like immediacy.

I recently had a need for some thread locker. Amazon was a buck cheaper than local stores, but even with Prime it would have taken five days to deliver. They're willing and able to ship a larger, heavier item from the other side of the country and deliver it in two days, but can't do the same for a small cardboard blister pack. For common items like that, the local store holds the advantage for most folks, who don't have accessibility constraints.

Right item/price/place/time is still the final arbiter, and the options and needs will always vary.
 

Herdfan

macrumors 65816
Apr 11, 2011
1,085
7,581
Their biggest advantage now is the selection, that nobody else can match. They're said to have 600 million SKUs

I still think their biggest advantage is the ease at which you can checkout. Find the item, click "Buy Now" and you're done. It shows up tomorrow or the next day.


For comparison, an average supermarket, which carries a wide breadth of products, with multiple options for each item, has about 60,000.

But at the same time, you only get products that the stores think you should be able to buy. Either they don't like a product or the competitor pays the supermarket for shelf space crowding out other brands.
 
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fanboy-ish

macrumors 6502
Apr 1, 2022
270
280
When I was younger, I used to think that branded clothes meant something, brands like Tommy, Ralph Lauren, Napapijri, Levi's, Wrangler, then I realized they don't mean anything more than showing off and I could get good, or better clothes, for cheaper, but, living in a small town, I had to buy online, when I switched to non-branded clothes I started buying clothes and shoes in stores.

However, I still like buying online to avoid having to deal with salespeople. A few months ago, my parents' TV died, they needed a new one and I went to the store with my father; he had a budget in mind, they didn't need a fancy TV, when we got to the store, he chose the TV - a Philips TV - and the guy there kept trying to upsell my father into buying a LG TV that was more than a 100€ more expensive, he insisted to the point that my father lost his patience and told him something like this "Look, I'm not an idiot, I know that a more expensive TV will be better, but this is fine for us, so will you sell it to me, or should I go somewhere else?".

That experience reminded me why I prefer buying online, or, if I go to physical stores, I prefer bigger store where I don't have to deal with their staff, considering that I can't stand people who insist. The only time a salesperson didn't try to sell me the more expensive item is when I bought my Mac, I wanted to buy a more powerful model and the guy on the phone convinced me to buy the cheaper one. And he was right.
 

bousozoku

Moderator emeritus
Jun 25, 2002
15,690
1,861
Lard
I still think their biggest advantage is the ease at which you can checkout. Find the item, click "Buy Now" and you're done. It shows up tomorrow or the next day.




But at the same time, you only get products that the stores think you should be able to buy. Either they don't like a product or the competitor pays the supermarket for shelf space crowding out other brands.
Considering that physical stores here are scheduling people fewer hours, you're better off putting together an order online for a fulfillment worker to shop and package, so that you can go to the pickup area and receive there.
 

Herdfan

macrumors 65816
Apr 11, 2011
1,085
7,581
Considering that physical stores here are scheduling people fewer hours, you're better off putting together an order online for a fulfillment worker to shop and package, so that you can go to the pickup area and receive there.

And now my local WalMart is turning off half its self-checks after 6pm, but not opening more manned registers..... :mad:
 

avro707

macrumors 68000
Dec 13, 2010
1,705
804
I prefer physical stores. Sometimes online with the shipping can be a hassle waiting for deliveries to arrive.

For supermarket shopping I try to use the registers that are manned deliberately. The self scan machines are cumbersome and very slow.

One of the supermarkets has a phone app for scanning items as you put them in the trolley, this works faster than the self scan registers. You just use the phone camera to scan barcodes.
 

icanhazmac

Contributor
Apr 11, 2018
2,512
9,417
Whenever possible I try and patronize mom and pop stores.

Unfortunately brick and mortar is being systematically destroyed between megacorps and government meddling, both neighborhood grocery and hardware stores are nearly gone. At least in grocery you can still find "ethnic" specialty stores but you need to travel for them. Hopefully farmer's markets survive, thankfully we have some good ones near here so I do a fair amount of my shopping at those.
 
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Herdfan

macrumors 65816
Apr 11, 2011
1,085
7,581
One of the supermarkets has a phone app for scanning items as you put them in the trolley, this works faster than the self scan registers. You just use the phone camera to scan barcodes.

Our local Kroger had "guns" for scanning as you shopped. Then you scan the barcode on the gun at checkout and it gives you a total.

But they went away during COVID and never returned.

For supermarket shopping I try to use the registers that are manned deliberately. The self scan machines are cumbersome and very slow.
You must live in a city. Because in the rural areas where everyone knows most everyone else, the manned checkouts are like the corner diner where everyone wants to catch up on the latest gossip.
 
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bousozoku

Moderator emeritus
Jun 25, 2002
15,690
1,861
Lard
And now my local WalMart is turning off half its self-checks after 6pm, but not opening more manned registers..... :mad:
This last time, I could work the self-checkout by myself but the previous two times prior, cashiers were working each self-checkout to keep people from stealing.
 
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HDFan

Contributor
Jun 30, 2007
6,562
2,824
And now my local WalMart is turning off half its self-checks after 6pm,

Love doing checkout by a shopping cart. Load items into shopping bags when add to cart and just walk out of the store. Makes shopping fun.


IMG_2658 Large.jpeg
 
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Herdfan

macrumors 65816
Apr 11, 2011
1,085
7,581
This last time, I could work the self-checkout by myself but the previous two times prior, cashiers were working each self-checkout to keep people from stealing.

Had that happen to me at the Scottsdale Home Depot. And IIRC, the registered said "Assisted Checkout" not "Self Checkout".

Not a fan.
 

KaliYoni

macrumors 68000
Feb 19, 2016
1,718
3,789
Love doing checkout by a shopping cart. Load items into shopping bags when add to cart and just walk out of the store. Makes shopping fun.

I never did believe in barcodes
But I've a feeling it's time to try
I never did believe in the ways of tech
But I'm beginning to wonder why

Don't, don't drop the jar
It would be messy and you know it will
You, you make shopping fun
And I don't have to tell you, but you're the only one

You, you make shopping fun (It's all I want to do)

[apologies to Fleetwood Mac]
 
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bousozoku

Moderator emeritus
Jun 25, 2002
15,690
1,861
Lard
Had that happen to me at the Scottsdale Home Depot. And IIRC, the registered said "Assisted Checkout" not "Self Checkout".

Not a fan.
I understand that. As someone who watched four self-checkout lanes and caught a lot of people not scanning items, I believe that there are better ways to handle it. I couldn't catch everyone but I let everyone know that I was watching them. Most people just scanned, paid, and left, but a few complained that I was staring at them, when I actually wasn't watching them that closely.

Now that I'm gone, they have tried a little of everything, but I'm sure that their theft rate is higher. When I've been there to shop, it's been an ugly mess but it's not my mess, thank goodness.
 
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Herdfan

macrumors 65816
Apr 11, 2011
1,085
7,581
I understand that.

What I don't understand is Home Depot and Lowe's. Self-checkouts aside, they are locking up so much stuff now. Specifically wire and power tools.

They say it is because people are brazen enough to grab a 500' roll of wire and walk out the door in broad daylight and the associates can't do anything about it.

So hire some off-duty police officers and position them at the door. If they see someone just walking out with something, they can stop them. Just them being there would probably stop 90% of it.

And no, I won't show my receipt at WalMart.
 
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