Great story, guys (“Amazon primer,” Oct. 1). I have owned and operated a successful and respected local pet-care business since 1993. For the past 21 years, we have worked hard to remain current and relative in all aspects of our business, provide top-rated customer service, and most importantly pay our pet-care professionals a living wage.
In the mid-2000s, our industry of small, local pet-care businesses began to lose business to the predatory practices of pet-care franchises owned by large corporations that moved into the area and came in with guerilla marketing and deep pockets. Worse, they did not acknowledge the time-honored practice of respecting another’s service area.
Those of us that survived are being threatened by a scary Amazon-esque competitor: service providers such as Care.com and Rover.com – the Ubers of the “care” industry. These providers undercut our service fees by allowing practically anyone to provide services for them. No “care” experience, background checks or home checks (for in-home boarders, for instance) are necessary. Care providers are registered and approved online. Many are high-school kids, criminals or those with no animal experience needing extra income. And many pets dropped off for in-home “boarding” are exposed to dangerous animals, illness and undesirable conditions.
We are frequently asked by potential clients to meet or beat the dot-com rates, which we cannot do since we guarantee our service providers a minimum baseline fee (living wage), among other things, and require experienced care providers. Local mom-and-pop pet food stores are experiencing the same reality with Amazon-type fulfillment companies Chewy.com, etc. Order online. Cheaper prices. Pet food delivered to door. I’m sure Bezos’ has his spies eyeing these dot-coms for eventual takeover or annihilation. Karma is a bitch. Now, is there a David in the shadows who can annihilate Bezos the Goliath before his New Economy and Amazonian future are the death of us all?
Llovell1, via email