To the Editor:
As an online seller of merchandise, I have been reading with interest the Northwest Herald’s articles regarding the perceived advantages that I and others gain by not having to collect sales tax.
We can sell the merchandise for less. We have no storefront, except for the World Wide Web. No sign ordinances to contend with, fewer employees and lower utility costs. That’s why many big retailers have an online presence. But type in a keyword on a search engine, and see how many of us come up. It’s much more competitive than the busiest of shopping districts.
Online retailers not being required to collect tax, except from Illinois residents, is only part of the brick-and-mortar establishments’ problems. All of their costs are higher. Why would I buy from them when I can purchase the identical new item online for much less? A used baseball mitt or bat? I can find it much cheaper on eBay. The shipping cost often offsets any savings garnered by not paying sales tax.
Despite the fact that I espouse the monetary benefits of shopping online, I am a strong believer in supporting our local merchants. I even pay more than I might when shopping on the Internet if I like the establishment or if I need it in a hurry. I just don’t feel that I have to just because you’re there. You’d better give me a reason to; through your excellent service and a knowledgeable, friendly staff.