Consumers Asked To Avoid Online Shopping
The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) has launched a campaign asking consumers to shop locally at brick-and-mortar stores instead of shopping online. Their reason: online retailers don’t collect sales taxes and don’t support local jobs and community organizations.
The ad campaign will run through December 22 on major networks like NBC, ABC, CNN, Fox News, and The Weather Channel, and is titled “Give Your Community a Lift…Shop Locally for Your Gifts!” Added to the anti-smoking and anti-piracy ads pervasive on TV and DVDs, you could call it the latest in “shame-vertising.”
“Many consumers shop online and avoid paying sales tax, and while this may appear to consumers as a way of saving a few dollars, in the end it may cost them more if local tax revenue is eroded and municipalities are forced to cut back on services,” said ICSC CEO Michael P. Kercheval.
In the TV ad, Trenton, NJ mayor Douglas Palmer pleads, “Sales tax revenue is important to local communities, because it’s our life’s blood. We need those kinds of moneys to provide the services, whether it’s police, fire, public works and all the other services that cities have to provide.”
With all the homogenization of chain-store, local-vendor-crushing, consumer-corralling, wage-dwindling going on in most American towns, one could ironically suggest a new tagline for the campaign: Do your part. Shop at Wal-Mart!
At least the city makes up in sales tax what it lost in local worker income tax, right?
Maybe it’s not the sales tax consumers are avoiding. Maybe it’s the maze of same-old-same-old commerce. Maybe they miss the variety that comes from all that local flavor our towns used to have and cost a little more to have. Can you imagine the Antiques Road Show in a hundred years and all that early 21st Century made-in-China plastic?