MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Competition between retailers is fierce to get your money this holiday season, but some are calling Amazon’s tactics unethical.

It all has to do with a free, mobile app called Amazon Price Check that allows consumers to get a five percent discount on three items Saturday. Amazon wants you to use the app anywhere you shop, but businesses hope you’ll just ignore it.

The way the app works is like this: You go to a local shop and scan the item you’re interested in buying; then head home and find that item on Amazon.com, where the online giant promises the lowest prices and a five percent discount on that purchase.

Cooks of Crocus Hill owner Marie Dwyer said Amazon is giving her business competition it doesn’t need.

“As a small, local business I find it slightly offensive,” she said.

But Dwyer isn’t the only one upset by Amazon’s app. Bloggers are saying that Amazon has reached a new low, and business groups are considering this move a blatant attack on local, small business.

Amazon says its app is a powerful, money-saving opportunity for consumers.

“It’s just not the way I’d run my business,” Dwyer said. “We don’t chase our business and we don’t chase other retailers to get the business that we have.”

Dwyer doesn’t expect her customers will take Amazon’s deal. Roxanne Young said she won’t.

“I really think it’s important to support the local economy and local businesses,” Young said.

Comments (24)
  1. See BS says:

    Way to give Amazon free press — that’s a good Iphone Idea! It probably helps them figure out prices too so Amazon can make more money.

    1. Tell ya says:

      I’ve shopped Cooks At Crocus Hill a few times, and they are one of the most over-priced kitchen supplies retailer in the metro area. I for one welcome the competition.

      1. don't be a hater says:

        They wouldn’t still be in business (and thriving) after 30 years if that was true. Check their prices for the same item against Kitchen Window, Chef’s Gallery, or even Williams Sonoma and you’ll find everyone’s prices are all within a few dollars of each other. What that does mean is that on the same item, Wiliams Sonoma is getting more per sale than any of the small guys because they can purchase in such huge quantities that the per item price is far less. For that alone, I care about the local guys. I’d rather support them than the mega corps when it is feasible to do so. Not saying I don’t support some of the big boxes but if I can get the same item at essentially the same price – small and local is the way I happily shop.

        1. A hater? says:

          Finding them to be overpriced means I hate them? Why that’s a mighty silly thing to say.

          And thinking a retailer who overcharges regularly is going to automatically go out of business is rather naive. Plenty of ’em do it, and they stay in business because folks who don’t know any better show up and pay the money.

          And if you’re shopping Grand Ave, Calhoun Square, Stillwater or RiverPlace for your kitchen stuff, you’re overpaying. Try Hockenbergs, Superior or the NordicWare outlet store. They’re local. too.

          Or you can keep shelling out for the “cachet”. Your choice!!

        2. No lie says:

          You want to support local? Get your knives at Eversharp down on Taft NE.

  2. get with the times says:

    WTG amazon.. and no I don’t have an iPhone.. but I have this AP and its awesome………

  3. mark says:

    Capitalism at its best, but I’m sure the government will get involved, and that is Socialism at its best.

    1. Huh? says:

      mark, how is it you’re “sure the government will get involved”? Would that be the City? State? County? Federal? What exactly would you think they’d do?

      Or is it just that you really have no clue what you’re talking about?

      Ahhh, that’s it!!

      1. mark says:

        @Huh Does it really matter what branch? Just a comment, get over yourself.

        1. Huh? says:

          Nothing personal, dude. It’s just your comment made no sense.

          Now if it’d been funny or clever or witty, why that’d be something completely different!!

  4. So What Are You Crying About? says:

    “Dwyer doesn’t expect her customers will take Amazon’s deal. Roxanne Young said she won’t.”

  5. The way it is says:

    “Dwyer doesn’t expect her customers will take Amazon’s deal. Roxanne Young said she won’t.

    “I really think it’s important to support the local economy and local businesses,” Young said.”

    Hey Dwyer – keep that attitude and we’ll see ya filing for bankruptcy in the near future. If you can’t keep up with retail technology, get out of the kitchen. And oh, in this day & age, don’t nobody care about “supporting the local guy” – figure out how to offer the best price, otherwise talk to the hand.

    1. Does not have to be says:

      How many people does Amazon employ in the state of Minnesota? How much is Amazon contributing to the MN economy? I wonder how much of a contribution their employees make to local schools, offerings at local churches, donations to food shelfs, hotdogs purchased at HS football games, MN fishing licenses and food shelves. The oversight in standing on the side of “don’t nobody care about supporting the little guy” is that you are the little guy. You, your friends, your family, your neighbors…………

  6. steve says:

    Offering the same product at a lower price is what drives market enterprise. Why would it be considered unethical? If local businesses want to stay in business, they should offer something unique to their store. Then, they can charge whatever they want.

    1. It's not the $5 bucks says:

      The question of “ethics” relates to the invitation to go into a local retailer, check out the products, hold them, ask questions about them, make your buying decision, scan the bar code and place your order with Amazon. It is NOT the idea of selling at $5.00 less. If you value the Amazon proposition, then go to their Minneapolis store, check out the product and place you order

  7. Debby says:

    Stores do this all the time! Find a better price and we will beat it and give you % back too!! So why is it bad that Amazon does it?? I shop with them many times since I CAN find a lower price on a lot of itmes. I would shop local IF I could find what I wanted around here AND at a good price! Deal with it people.

  8. Alex V says:

    First of all, we need to start collecting sales tax on internet purchases, even if the business doesn’t have a physical presence in MN, to level the playing field.

    1. No, You Got It Backwards says:

      We need to stop collecting sales tax on MN businesses.

  9. I hate thinking of a ficticious name. says:

    Store owners can argue against Amazon all you want, but they have to admit it works both ways. There are times I spend hours researching products on Amazon, then walk into a local store and buy the item off the shelf either because the price is lower, or because I want the item now. Sometimes I save store clerks the time of having to give me their sales pitch because I already know what I want. I RARELY research an item in the store and then turn around and buy it off Amazon. The price difference is generally not that big of a difference and the majority of people would rather take it home today.

    It is an old, old, line to complain against competitors that undercut you. The fact of life is that if we all had to pay to exagerated prices that the Mom and Pop stores ask we wouldn’t be able to afford the all the items that we do purchase. (Yeah, yeah don’t bother jumping my case, I know these stores have their benefits, too.) The internet is here to stay so stores are going to have to adapt.

    I do agree with the comment that it isn’t fair that Amazon doesn’t have to pay state sales tax. If they do business in the state they should have to pay.

  10. antitax says:

    Add sales tax and Amazon will dry up. It’s coming soon.

  11. Reality Check says:

    ….somebody forgot to mention in this article that the price match is good only up to $5. Here is my chat with Amazon in an effort to get them to price match.

    Me:If I had an ap and sent you the price you could beat it by 5%, right?

    James:That promotion would be able to match the price up to 5%, with a maximum of $5.

    Me:Oooooh, that is good to know. I wouldn’t bother with the ap.

    According to Amazon, they ONLY match TV prices.

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