Thursday, May 31, 2018

Australia raises tariffs, Amazon stops shipping to Australia

Daily Mail.

They don't say tariffs, they say GST, goods and services tax, a value-added tax applied to international sales to protect national businesses. Australia makes all such sales more expensive, so Amazon goes along and closes its international site to Australians and redirects Australian searches to Australian local Amazon site, with fewer items that cost a good deal more. Pay more for less choice.

Fine. Have your little continent. Your ring nation around a vast desert.

Too bad.

They pulled a Trump.

But this is how international trade got Trump in the first place. Foreign countries protected their industries by raising taxes on foreign goods. Call them tariffs, GST, VAT, whatever you like. America tried to set the example for free trade by leaving our market open so much as possible. For decades. To its tremendous detriment such that the wealth of its entire middle class is redistributed worldwide. Everyone took advantage of the availability of the American market while protecting their own internal markets from us. Always have. Still do. Always will.

Their response to our correction? More of the same. That's the best their imagination allows them.

Trump doesn't have to do anything in response. Amazon does it for him. Amazon is behaving as a government. Amazon is saying to Australia penchant for protective taxation, "fine, pick at your own butts." Amazon is not even allowing Australian shoppers to see what it makes available to the rest of the world.

Daily Mail asks, "how does this affect you?" Answer: It doesn't.

Australian shoppers will have to go through a VPN to disguise their origin just to look at Amazon and see what their government is doing to them.

Change of subject.

Speaking of international shopping and Amazon.

William Jacobson wrote a post about shopping through He's been disconnected from Amazon associate program, a significant income stream for his site with no good explanation given, and he tried in his lawyerly way.

Deep in comments someone mentioned a recommendation given him, for a lot of imported stuff that Amazon sells. I checked it out.

The leather shoes all look terrible. Things that fer'ners wear.

Similar thing with leather jackets. Everything 50% off.

Men's underwear is the point where they run off the rails. Nothing is sensible. Nothing. Yet everything is surprisingly cheap. And nothing you'd want to be caught dead wearing.

Men's leather belts, three pages, everything is plain and standard except the one with the baby alligator head, and inexpensive.

All very similar to, a madhouse of junk goods.

I did an experiment elsewhere when conversation in comments here turned to round clear ice balls.

The most popular kit on Amazon and demonstrated on YouTube makes two large ice balls in 24 hours. So you could build up a batch for a party over a period of a few weeks. The finished ice spheres lasts a long time so they wouldn't be going as fast as regular ice does at a party. The kit cost $40.00. It's a styrofoam box with a 2-part silicone mold insert so the ice freezes from the top downward pushing impurities downward outside the mold and into a reservoir.  You remove the kit from the freezer before the water in the bottom freezes completely.

On this same kit sells for $9.00-$10.00 but you must buy 50 units at a time, or 100 units at a time.

It forces you to consider going into the clear ice sphere business. Your mind wanders to ideas of how you can get a couple of kits and sell all 48 remaining kits at a profit that makes the effort worthwhile.

And I get to thinking, a bar could do this. A place like the Elks, or Moose Club, or VFW could do this. Any professional club could do this. Several of my friends are involved in professional clubs. a couple of different clubs, whose chief reason for being is having cocktail parties and travel to other cities. Members host large parties at their homes in cities worldwide. They could sell hundreds of these easily at half of Amazon cost and double their investment. Any group could. Virtually any business could. The FRB employee club could have sold that many at, say, $20.00 per unit.

Too bad I'm not a group kind of guy.

So I let my mind wander and I thought and thought and thought, and after all that thinking and imagining possibilities, I arrived at the real reasonableness of the markup of 400% for just one unit.

It's an awful lot of trouble to go through just to put one unit into someone's hands.

You can have 50 or 100 with a whole lot of trouble for $9.00 each

Or you can buy 1 and have an immeasurably simplified life for $40.00 each.

So you pay $30.00 to be left alone. Free of marketing and industry. And poorer for not getting involved in the fun of global commerce. For not becoming a marketer yourself.

Some things on Alibaba you can buy by the unit. The young French chef that I watch on YouTube bought a single large pasta maker for ramen type noodles. He had to modify the pasta maker considerably.

Let's look at another thing. I just now bought a Pullman bread pan. Let's see what Alibaba demands of us.

Alibaba [pullman bread pan] Same deal, very inexpensive at large quantities. You can buy 50,000 of them at $2.50 each, or buy 1 for $25.00. That means it will cost you $22.50 for them just to mess around with your silly order of 1. You really are being a pain in the butt by ordering just 1. All that special attention given to you just for one single pan. It makes sense. They're in the business of pounding out these pans by the thousands, now get out of the way. *Foghorn Leghorn voice* I say, I say, you're in the way, Boy. Get outta the way."

1 comment:

ampersand said...

Amazon opened a facility in Illinois a few years back. Woosh, everyone here now has to pay a sales tax. Didn't stop Amazon from doing business here. No more advantage to dealing with them so I stopped buying.

The bigger they get, the smaller the competition, the more expensive it will be to deal with them. When Sears dominated retailing at least they had to compete with Wards, Aldens, Spiegels and other catalog houses not to mention the local department stores.

Someone smart in Australia can start an internet business and import the Chinese stuff that Amazon sells and get it cheaper.