Remember when I said that Amazon.com's Flow app was "about as close as Amazon can legally come to stealing from small businesses, taking advantage of their high overhead by treating them as product showrooms without giving them a cent of subsidy" about a month ago? I was wrong. They can get closer:
Apparently concerned that it's not already doing enough to undermine local physical retailers across the country, Amazon.com announced it will pay customers $5[*] to go into a local store, scan an item, walk out, and buy the same item on Amazon. Please don't do this cheap, sad thing.
To get the $5 discount, you're supposed to use Amazon's "Price Check" iPhone and Android app to scan in the bar code of an item and then indicate what price the item is being sold at. This gives Amazon valuable intelligence on how various retailers are pricing various items.
What a great idea! An online retailer convinces customers to do product research for them while simultaneously using small businesses as unpaid showrooms. Someone must have had a huge laugh in the South Lake Union conference room where that idea was brought up. Let me be clear: If you do this, you're a fucking asshole.
* Important notice: The discount is actually 5%, so it isn't really Amazon paying customers $5 unless they buy a $100 product through the app.