The best way to punish Amazon for avoiding tax is to shop elsewhere this Christmas

We know the company minimises its tax bill, so why do so many of us still shop online there? Laziness, mostly, says our writer

Share
Related Topics

It's worth starting this piece with an admission I'm going to take the liberty of making on behalf of most of this country, myself included.

When weighing up our ethics with how we choose to spend our money, the vast majority of us are either a) Hypocrites, b) Ignorant or c) Lazy. Or maybe you're in the thinly-populated d) category. One of the small percentage who buy food at overpriced farmers' markets rather than supermarkets; bank with either an Islamic bank, Co-op, or have all your money stashed away in a shoebox under your bed; ride a bike; excrete into a toilet of wood shavings (shavings must be supplied from sustainable trees); breed your own chickens; till your own fields; wash your clothes in a dolly and tub; and brush your teeth with sliced Aloe Vera leaves.

And these are just examples. Once you've carefully trodden through the minefield of avoiding everything that makes you an evil human being, you look up only to see the field stretching all the way to the horizon, where a cold, hungry and miserable wreck of a being is huddled up in a cave, scared to break wind for fear of accelerating the Earth's demise.

But let's not be too hard on ourselves.

Most of us are aware that it's better to shop at an independent shop rather than Tesco, and if the two are standing next to each other, we'll pick the former. However, if we're on our way home from work in this razor-cold winter and there's a Tesco Express conveniently located on the way (which, sadly, there always is), we'll go there rather than seek the long-suffering farm shop. If you manage to rise above this behaviour, then I salute you, and believe it's people with your mindsets who should run this country's parliamentary constituencies (just for fun, have a run at police commissioner as well).

However, the evolving tax avoidance scandal surrounding Amazon has finally put us in a position where it's inexcusable to sit back and do nothing, considering that all the action that's really required of us is to sit back, and perhaps be forced to click our mouse buttons several more times than we'd normally like to.

Steps have been taken. Recently, George Osborne took the – frankly meek - step of investing some £77m more into HMRC to combat tax avoidance, and John Lewis have attributed their recent strong sales partly to a customer backlash against Amazon. Despite this, there are millions of us who continue to shop from the cunning retailer. Now unless you’re genuinely ignorant, this is the kind of criminal laziness that should have you hung, drawn and quartered for crimes against your country.

There's no denying that, for all its brilliance, the internet has made us lazy. Where once people would sit down with a quill and ink pot, dedicating hours to writing then sending a letter, now we find it laborious to reply to a relative's email. Incredibly, Amazon has managed to make us even lazier within the Land of Indolence that is the internet. By offering us competitive prices, one-click buying and speedy deliveries with their 'Prime' service, Amazon make every extra typed word or click of the mouse feel like a task of Sisyphean proportions.

Thanks to advances in internet speeds and technology, we're slipping into an ever-deepening rabbit hole of lethargy. Everything in the world should be a click or two away, and every website should load up within four seconds. If these conditions aren't met, we want our money back for those wasted seconds.

But if all we need to do to avoid a gross tax injustice occurring is browse a few extra websites that perhaps don't offer quite as intuitive an experience as Amazon, or which make us sign up to their newsletter, or even those sites which waste a good 20 seconds of our precious lives by making us look for those account activation emails, then perhaps we're willing to take those few extra clicks.

I know you’re thinking that those clicks could be better spent stalking an ex-girlfriend on Facebook, or looking at captioned pictures of cats with hats, or dogs with shades, or beavers with stilettos, but on balance the effort-reward ratio here (the reward being the eventual tax return of millions of pounds) couldn’t be any more generous.

Here’s a chance where the laziest among us don't even need to stand up to be counted. We don't need to firebomb Tesco or go defecate on the steps at the Bank of England. The chance to force the world's largest online retailer to pay up in these tough times like the rest of us is just a few clicks away (sorry, no Amazon-style One-Click deal), and Christmas is the perfect time to make an impact.

If we find this smallest of shifts in our shopping habits too hard to make, then it'll be an embarrassing indicator that we've succumbed to apathy, and that any remaining notion of people power in this country has all but withered away.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Whitehall Editor: The spurious Tory endorsement that misfired

Oliver Wright
 

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband hasn’t ‘suddenly’ become a robust leader. He always was

Steve Richards
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence