Aidan Sprouls ’23
Walking into any grocery store, I often expect to see the same things: fruits, meats, dairy and all different types of food. When I think of Amazon, I can’t quite place my finger on what to expect, it could be the latest piece of technology, one of their own Amazon Prime movies or even a pair of shoes. Little did I know, they’ve even progressed into the food industry, and not just online, but in person and in our very own town.
Amazon, one of the largest businesses in the world, to the great detriment to our town, is opening a new Amazon Fresh supermarket in Westport, Connecticut, in place of the Barnes and Noble bookstore that used to be on the Post Road. In the process, it is providing direct competition with local supermarkets such as Stop and Shop, Fresh Market and Trader Joe’s.
But what gives Amazon an unfair advantage over these stores is the fact that, according to the Amazon website, there will be a flawless shopping experience whether it is online or in-store, in addition to lower prices, free same-day delivery for Amazon Prime members and many other features. I believe that these advantages and others could force other supermarkets to close indefinitely and contribute further to Amazon’s seemingly unstoppable world domination of every possible market.
The convenience that these new Amazon stores have is unmatched by local competitors. No one can compete with Amazon’s same-day delivery perk. Yes, Stop and Shop has Peapod that delivers groceries, but it does not offer same-day delivery and it is not free. The fact that the competitors to Amazon Fresh do not have these delivery options will take away business from the supermarkets and only further line the pockets of the insatiable money monster that is Amazon.
Furthermore, food prices are continuously rising with inflation levels for meat, poultry, fish and eggs up 15.7% from before the pandemic according to The Washington Post. This supply chain issue means customers will be looking for more cost effective options and Amazon Fresh is able to provide cheaper prices due to their monopolization of many other markets. This makes Amazon Fresh foods an ideal price for their target consumer who are middle-income shoppers according to CNN which in turn contributes to the endless cycle of Amazon’s international takeover of seemingly endless industries.
By further contributing to Amazon’s wealth as a company, not only would customers be putting other grocers out of business but they would be funding a company that is putting book, clothing, toy and many other retail sellers out of business as well.
Amazon Fresh stores also offer a service called “Dash Cart” which, according to CNBC, builds onto the cashier-less technology which would allow for shoppers to walk out of the store without dealing with the checkout line. No local competitors have this technology within their stores. And while I hear my peers cheering and saying, “That’s so cool!”, it takes only a millisecond of thought to see what a great threat that poses to jobs. This new feature would eliminate possible job opportunities at the store. And ultimately, if Amazon Fresh does succeed in driving all competing grocery stores out of business, that means all the people employed at those markets will also be jobless.
Amazon Fresh store shoppers additionally have the ability to order items ahead of time through the Amazon app. Without the use of current technology, the stores that are already in Westport will be negatively affected because having the app makes shopping at an Amazon Fresh location much more convenient than shopping anywhere else. While this is the case, all the recommendations that the app would provide are based on their analysis of your own personal data based on your previous and current purchases. This data mining presents itself as an invasion of personal privacy that no other competitors come even close to.
The presence of Amazon Fresh in our town does not only cause individual concern due to privacy, but as a community, shopping at Amazon Fresh is supporting a company that will put our own neighbors, and even business owners across the globe, out of jobs. Shopping at Amazon Fresh due to the mere convenience and intrigue behind Amazon’s new technology would have negative ripple effects that could lead to permanent harm to our town and community and I truly hope no Westporter would want to be a part of that devastating process.