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

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

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Read Next
UK Border Control  

Do you think I'm feckless? I worked for two years in the Netherlands

David Ryan
Bob Geldof  

Ebola is a political AND a medical disease

Paul Vallely
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin