Oh sure. I'm sure that plenty of thrift stores and libraries have volunteers who know what an "API" is...
"Why aren't libraries using these scanners and pricing their books appropriately?"
Because their mission is to help people in their communities get better access to books, not make a profit.
"But then, ALL retail outlets will eventually go away except for boutiques and big box stores. There's really no need for anything in-between and such a business will always be less efficient than one which has no physical presence."
You may be right in terms of efficiency, but it makes for a shitty life if your town (like many already in the US) doesn't have retail stores.
"The only thing that depends on physical presence is impulse buying, where you get someone in your store and sell them crap they don't need."
Those of us who aren't sociopaths actually enjoy going to retail stores, and speaking with human beings in our community. It's a richer life than spending your life in front of a glowing screen.
I thought we already had this technology, and it was called "flat screen" technology. I swear I'm not a crotchety old man, but I can't stand flat screen monitors/TV's/laptops. All of them have this same effect, when compared to the bright, clear, viewable-from-any-direction CRT's. I don't care much for saving a few inches in depth, so I try to use CRT's whenever I can, because unless you're sitting directly in front and center of a flat screen anything, it's very difficult to read.
You know, fluorescent lights come in all kinds of color spectrums. I buy the warm ones, and nobody can tell the difference between them and incandescents!
? If no would you bother with your online store if having it required you to?
Of course! It's just a piece of software. I'm prepared to do what I do every day: buy a piece of software and pay a subscription to a service to handle it. I already have to do it for payroll, so it wouldn't be any big deal.
The only retailers that online sellers are putting out of business are smaller electronics and computers stores.
I gotta disagree with you there. I live in a very very progressive college town, and as of the last 5 years we no longer have any:
- book stores
- music stores
- video rental places
I think that a lot of people just don't care, but it definitely has a negative impact on my quality of life.
Why is that a problem, let alone one that the government should address?
You want to live in a city with no retail, and nothing but warehouses and UPS trucks? Really? You should try to leave your basement every now and then.
"Lower prices due to not having to maintain a brick and mortar store are the only things that allow online stores to compete against local stores."
The word "only" isn't used correctly in this situation. There's no "only" about it. The overhead of having a brick and mortar store is MASSIVE. Employees, rent, power, upfit, etc. It's MASSIVE. All they need is some crappy warehouse somewhere cheap. There's a huge difference, which enables them to be able to eat the shipping on most items. There's no comparison between a warehouse and a few computers and a real store.
They should pay taxes solely because if they don't, we're going to lose much, much more retail than we already have lost. The tax system certainly isn't perfect, but the way it is now, it heavily favors online merchants over real, brick and mortar merchants.
"I resent your implication that I fail to pay the use tax that I owe."
I'm not implying anything. I'm stating it.
"At present the playing field is level."
Huh? How so? A customer walks into a store in NC and the price of an item is automatically 7.75% higher than if they bought the same product online. How is that level?
"2 addresses on the same street in the same zipcode may have completely different sales taxes, and you want each online vendor to have to figure that out?"
It's called a c-o-m-p-u-t-e-r. They're very good at keeping lists, doing repetitive tasks, and calculating arithmetic. Every online vendor IS already using computers. We're talking about a tiny tax table, no more than a few hundred lines. It's not rocket science. A pocket calculator could handle it. It's really nothing when compared to the burden we already bear taking care of other taxes.
"ere's a better idea. All the stores could add a note to their invoices that says what the state, city, and county use tax is for their zip code. This could be easily done via a computer lookup, leaves payment responsibility where it should be (the buyer), and notifies them how much they need to account for at the end of the year when they file their taxes."
That's 100% unenforceable, though. Just like the current "system".
"Consumers are already required to pay local sales tax on purchases made like this, most of them just don't. Instead of states requiring retailers to deal with this, why not enforce things as they are already, the individual's responsibility?"
And, how exactly, to you propose that a state would enforce this? It's purely an honor system. I don't know a single person that reports their online purchases.