This post turned into a protest rather than an essay about my journey into the world of international buying. I wanted to write about how I found wonderful products that are not available in Canada, or are just to ridiculously expensive, and how pleasant it has been dealing with overseas companies to buy these items through. Instead, I witnessed two major budgets released this week, the Ontario and Federal budgets, and they really got me thinking more about what kind of a consumer I am now. As a consumer, with the aid of the online world, and super efficient means of long distant commerce, I seem to have followed a natural progression that thousands before me have followed—buying outside of Canada. Now, it has come to my attention that my natural progression as a consumer has landed me into that age old ethical debate of whether I should be buying locally, or through any means necessary to find that golden deal—you can guess which camp I have fallen into.
First my love affair with online buying. I have found means in which to buy online without having to get mired into contracts and one-sided agreement with financial corporations—or parasites, as I like to call them. This new arena of buying has opened a whole new world for me. Now, when I click online, I can really focus on what I want, versus what bureaucratic, or archaic law of commerce may lay ahead of me. Jokingly, from my research, I found that this online ease of buying predates the Harperhuggers’ quest for hard base commerce—where their focus has been on promoting the mega-corporation rather than on local small business—by a decade. Now that my trust has been built up, my buying frenzy has ramped up, almost expediently, in the last four months.
As a testament to my blog, anyone can tell by reading it that over the last six months I have fallen in love with photography to the point that I have invested in it—hugely. The personal revenue that I have put into my hobby is somewhere around five thousand dollars—a very large chunk of money for a high end—lower class taxpayer that I am. The break down of this expense works out that less than thirty percent of that money has been spent locally. The rest, well over four thousand dollars, has been spent outside of Canada. Fifteen percent of that total was spent in the United States, and fifty-five percent was given to Chinese companies, mostly in Hong Kong.
“Money knows no boundary,” as stated by CBC News’ program, “The Lang & O’Leary Exchange.” The ethical debate as to whether I should keep my money locally, had always been front and centre in my mind before I graduated from University and College. I used to believe that if I did not do that, then great terrible things would happen to us all and we would all be unemployed and begging for food from behind dumpsters on the streets. Now I see a totally different world. The New World Order, as I see it, has created a very efficient global economy. Buying locally is a fool’s notion of an extinct idea of control and patriotism. The Harperhugger may sell that concept to you—but they do not practice it either.
An Example of the Problem is in the Retail Markup Scheme
A Sony Flash unit that I so lovingly wanted retailed in my community for just under $740.00 (with encumbrances) once in my hand. The exact same unit, was purchased for $420.64 (totaled) in my hand from a Hong Kong company. Commerce in this way presented only one problem, and a tiny one at that which is, a lag in time as oppose to the instant gratification of buying it locally. With the retail markup so high in my local economy, the lure of buying from a market that offers it at almost fifty percent below my local retail price, the lag time is acceptable. However lag time is something that is not a constant across the economic spectrum of the market place. Buying on Ebay seems to produce a huge lag time as compared to buying direct from the overseas retailer. The difference between the Ebay company compared to the direct purchase was three weeks. Twenty-three days through an Ebay transaction versus just four days through a direct buy from the Hong Kong vendor. Even the quality of service was marked with noticeable differences between the two purchases. The direct Hong Kong vendor expedited the sale promptly, while the Ebay deal took several days before the transaction was final. The Hong Kong vendor gave their personal guarantee, including warranty and money back guarantee, even including a return shipping tag along with the product. The Ebay transaction appeared to solely be depended upon the PayPal service for its form of guarantee.
Until the Government of Canada makes it illegal for me to buy from outside my local community, I will continue to purchase through whatever means possible. With the higher than ever before encumbrances and other modes of impunity imposed by all levels of Government, it will be the local retailers’ markup that will continue to decimate the local economy—in my opinion. Even the big box retailer such as Canadian Tire, Costco, Walmart, to mention a few, must be feeling it in the bottom line as well, as consumers figure it out that the shopping market is better across the pond looking West. It begs into question that perhaps the Harperhugger is right all along, that cutting out the middle man is good, meaning that I can use the same tools as the retailer, and buy into a more competitive market place as well, as my profit margin is in the savings from my income.
The Ethical Dilemma
The concept of “what goes around, comes around,” or “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction,” could be nice ways of outlining this ethical argument. If I take my money that I earned away from the local economy, then the local economy will never prosper, and in turn it will directly effect my livelihood—of course largely depending upon if I work in retail or not. Well, this is bunk! As I stated before, we are a global economy now, and there is no changing that. So if I buy something outside of my local economic sphere, then somehow, somewhere, that money will reintegrate itself back into our local economy through some other means. The Chinese like our wood, and in turn we like their cheaper manufactured products. The question is, should we (our local economy) be in retail, to the point that these goods that we so crave for should even be stored/sold here?
Awh, yes, the value added question. I say, “yes” because if businesses want to be competitive, then they should stay and compete in the local economy. I remember someone from my Business and Economics class telling me this, “that good capitalism should be fostered on good competitive grounds—like an even playing ground—speaking in terms of macro economics.” Sure, then if the competitive businesses will want to leave the trappings of the oligopoly of retail giants here in North America, and venture into the world of competing with the off-shore competitors, then go for it! The question of value added products versus the now mindful consumer is, in my mind, a zero sum game. If I am going to save $250.00 on a product that will take an extra forty-eight hours to get to me from China, then I will wait that extra forty-eight hours for it, and save $250.00 in the process—what a deal!
Since this rescission/depression/economic meltdown was caused by the financial oligopolies around the world back in 2007-08, then they are squarely to blame for it. Consumers are now dealing with inflation three years later because of the meltdown. The local economy ramps up with inflation, Governments implement austerity measures, then consumers will look harder and further away for deals—it is free enterprise and capitalism my friend. Happy marketing!