Farhad Manjoo, looking at the unintended consequences (or benefits?) of Amazon now having to charge state sales tax:
Physical retailers have long argued that once Amazon plays fairly on taxes, the company wouldn’t look like such a great deal to most consumers. If prices were equal, you’d always go with the “instant gratification” of shopping in the real world. The trouble with that argument is that shopping offline isn’t really “instant”—it takes time to get in the car, go to the store, find what you want, stand in line, and drive back home. Getting something shipped to your house offers gratification that’s even more instant: Order something in the morning and get it later in the day, without doing anything else. Why would you ever shop anywhere else?
This is the natural narrow-mindedness of established competitors: they thought Amazon’s only advantage was that customers didn’t have to pay sales tax. They lobbied and won, and now Amazon is making us pay.
The downside? Nothing is keeping Amazon from improving their distribution network now.