I think the point of the article is about: Do people want the changes that are happening to the main street to continue?
From a purely consumer standpoint, sure, cheaper is better. And as long as there's no development of monopolies or other devious practices, that's fine for consumers.
But. Stores closing down in your town leads to decrepit town centres; decaying cities aren't nice and have other, unpleasant consequences. Massive corporate tax avoidance (partly why Amazon has such great prices in the UK?) actually is a bad thing too -- for infrastructure, and for your own personal tax bill. So yes, these changes have a cost -- to society. But, damn, that USB memory/ LED monitor/ Android tablet is cheaper there. Yay!
"but it isn’t clear whether the case protected the phone from the fall or the fact that it was cushioned by the brush that it hit"
What, the brush was moving too? It (actively) hit the iPhone 4? That's one Fandroid bush!
The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all your time.