The new eBay commercial should be viewed by everyone for what it is: a mean-spirited slap in the face to the nation’s mom-and-pop stores.
The TV commercial includes people in a typical store. They look at the merchandise. They laugh that anyone would go to a regular store to shop.
Brick-and-mortar stores are going out of business, and eBay laughs.
Employees at those stores lose their jobs, and eBay laughs.
Communities that rely on sales tax revenue have less money for police and other services, and eBay laughs.
School districts that rely on business property taxes to educate children have less income, and eBay laughs.
When cities and schools have less money to operate, they either do without or are forced to ask residents to pay more in taxes, and eBay laughs.
In short, eBay hurts people and laughs.
Unlike those community-supporting, mom-and-pop businesses that employ family, friends and neighbors in every small town across the country, eBay can afford to laugh.
In the first quarter of 2019 alone, eBay Inc. recorded $2.6 billion in revenue on gross merchandise volume of $22.6 billion.
eBay paid taxes. But did the amount the company paid equal what mom-and-pop businesses used to pay, before eBay helped wreck them? Definitely not in Missouri, where the General Assembly requires mom-and-pop stores to pay sales taxes, but unfairly refuses to require eBay to pay sales taxes.
eBay has employees. But do the numbers balance against lost jobs and empty buildings on Main Streets around this state, including here in Richmond? No. eBay has no facilities here.
Main Streets across the nation may become nothing more than curiosities, quasi-museums with gift shops and restaurants in some cases; decrepit and vacant buildings in others. Not only will mom-and-pop stores vanish, but big box stores may exist someday only in cyberspace. People will no longer come together to do their shopping, exchange pleasantries in the aisles, mall walk and have a big, pleasant place to visit.Instead, they will wait for packages dropped anonymously at the front door.
Will these changes be for the better?
Most people say no, based on a survey led by University of Arizona researcher Sabrina Helm.
“The majority said this would be terrible,” Helm told Science News. “There’s a sense that brick-and-mortar stores are part of the social fabric of our society. If they disappear, many are concerned about the economy and what this will do for jobs and revenue for communities. Many people also said stores were vital to their quality of life.”
Maybe Helm’s research is correct. Maybe not. Either way, eBay is laughing, ha-ha-ha, all the way to the bank.
Isn’t that funny?