amazon boxI love Amazon, because you simply can't beat their prices on a variety of items. And I admit, there have been times I've gone into Barnes & Noble, found a book I wanted, then turned around and ended up buying it -- along with several others -- on Amazon. I'm sure we've all done that at one point or another, and the online shopping giant has caught onto our fickle ways! That must be why they're running a promo this weekend, on Saturday, December 10, that actually encourages customers to walk out of regular brick-and-mortar stores.

The gist: You download Amazon's Price Check app, and with the geolocation feature turned on, you head into any regular store and take a picture of three items you want to buy. Then, when you go home and purchase those exact items from Amazon instead, the site will give you a 5 percent discount, up to $5 off each item for a total of $15 in savings. Smart and savvy, yes. But a bit harsh? Yeah, I'd say so.

The thing is ... with this promo, Amazon's basically thumbing their nose at regular stores, and the underlying statement is that online shopping is king. And alright, that's definitely true for some things ... like items you always buy that you don't need to test-drive and you know can get cheaper online (even with shipping costs). But for some things, point-and-click purchases just don't cut it.

Like a bicycle for your kiddo. Isn't that something you want them to see in person and choose on their own, test ride it, maybe have the ability to ask the store owner some questions or to know you can always bring it back into the store if you need something, like new tires or a repair? Or clothes! I can't say how much I appreciate having helpful customer service when going to buy certain articles of clothing (bras, shoes, jeans, etc.) that are impossible to figure out the sizing for online.

What's more, promos like this Amazon one end up hurting the small businesses that pay their rent and prioritize one-on-one time with customers and quality service. I really do emphasize with those business owners who might have to watch their customers "pretend shop" this weekend, snap photos of their merchandise, then walk out empty-handed. Amazon may be able to undersell them, but these little guys have something to offer, too, and unless we want to kiss the in-person shopping experience goodbye, that's something we should pay tribute to -- literally!

What do you think about this Amazon promo -- do you think it hurts small businesses or would you take advantage of it in a heartbeat?

 

Image via Aurelijus Valeisa/Flickr