They're getting boxes like nobody's business; harried campus-mail workers struggling to keep up.
Ed question: Hmm, wonder if any of them are being misdirected to Allston?
how they included graphs and a histogram of the increased volume!
The Tech managed to effectively write a vapid advertisement for Amazon's promotion, but there might actually be a significant story that The Tech missed...
Increasing mail order is increasing revenue that is not going to local businesses. Additionally, in most cases, MA sales tax is not collected. How might this affect the local economy?
The Tech might have asked this question, except that Boston area college students really don't care about Boston area issues.
...that sells a lot of their textbooks is the MIT Coop, which is run by Barnes and Noble. So, one large chain is making the money over another. Many students sell used books to each other. That's local, isn't it?
The only part of the Coop that's run by Barnes and Noble is the commercial bookstore in the front building in Harvard Square. The other departments, including textbooks, are still managed by the Coop itself.
That only happens when a business does not have an MA business presence. If this is the sort of stuff one stuffs a dorm room with, my bet would be that MA tax will be collected because all the major retailers of this stuff have stores in MA.
Unless these packages are being sent from home - then they paid tax in their home state if their home state has tax.
Amazon claims to only rarely collect MA sales tax, and the article was basically advertising Amazon's special shipping promotion for students.
I just double-checked my Amazon orders for this year, of various goods shipped to MA, and none of them have sales tax.
Amazon regularly battles with states on this front. Amazon does not have a physical presence in MA (no store-fronts or employees) and therefore does not collect and turn over sales tax. Technically each customer is supposed to report such purchases and remit a "use tax" to the state.
All together now; "Yeah, right!"
So yes, the state is losing out on taxes when a kid buys text books from Amazon rather than the Coop.
(Argue amongst yourselves on whether this is a serious problem or not.)
Haven't bought a text book in about six years, but I don't remember UML collecting anything on them either. If you buy on line, then they may be. If you buy from your campus bookstore, they at least used to be exempt.
Clearly dating myself in that I didn't remember either...Text books (and books for religious worship...I could go on about THAT forever indeed!) are exempt.
However, the general point about Amazon and sales/tax stands. They aren't gonna collection on the latest Halo release for example.
I get charged sales tax on my textbooks. I don't know what you're talking about.
Exempt items include:
"Books required by educational institutions for instruction"
Something that allows you to assert "I think I bought less than $200 in stuff I haven't paid sales taxes on." I think I checked that box last year on the H&R Block tax website.
But when was the last time you only had to buy 1 college textbook for the whole year?
Did you mean Allston?
I'd already had my morning coffee (but now that we're getting up at like 5:30 to get the kid off to school, maybe I need to make it a double, or maybe even a triple).
It is difficult to get to shopping zones by T from MIT without numerous transfers on buses (and paying for three rides because you "changed direction") or tricky subway transfers with bulky items.
MIT also encourages people to NOT bring everything from home but get it sent from home or buy it after they settle in their space.
Ergo, there are a lot of people outfitting their dorm rooms by ordering off of the web.
Why this happens: They're 20-somethings....college students...nerds...and, thus, they buy stuff on the internet.
There could be a Target, "Bed, Bath, and Beyond", Microcenter, and Best Buy ON CAMPUS, and they'd still buy online.
But MIT's location and the longstanding advice to bring a suitcase and have the rest shipped later doesn't help.
I can also see the value in ordering textbooks on line since the Coop sucks.
If Downtown Crossing weren't a disaster, except for H&M and DSW, the Red Line from Kendall and Harvard could be delivering student shoppers.
How much do Emerson students shop in Downtown Crossing?
...Galleria is walking distance from MIT.
Considering that most of MIT's dorms are between Mass Ave and the BU Bridge, when is the last time you walked three miles carrying a refrigerator? Or a comforter and sheet set and a bunch of other stuff?
Remember MIT is not Kendall Square - that's just the furthest edge of campus.
... you had a refrigerator delivered by mail?
I picked mine out and ordered it on-line (but it was delivered by the local store).
The general point stands: Kendall is at the east edge of MIT, while the dorms they talked to are located most of a mile from there and at least two from Cambridgeside. Even if you might walk there to get some clothes, you would find it tricky to get any furniture or large bulky items back from there.
The Galleria runs a free shuttle to Kendall and MIT operates their own shuttles around campus. No need to take the T or walk 3 miles, just switch between two shuttles.
Joking aside, you might note that nothing larger than a backpack or briefcase is allowed on the campus shuttle. That rules out a lot of the things people might want to buy for a dorm room. I seem to also remember people complaining loudly because somebody had a large comforter on a T bus last year ...
Grocery shuttle sounds good - but for groceries. Unless they go someplace like Target, it doesn't help for furnishings and home goods.
The Galleria shuttle is unreliable, at least according to my husband and about 5 friends who work in Kendall Square. You can't reliably use it to go to lunch and get back.
The CT2 hits all of MIT and stops by the landmark center.
CambridgeSide Galleria does have a shuttle bus from Kendall Square.
But, yeah, the MBTA sucks butt. And Kendall Square mostly sucks butt. And MIT students don't like to leave campus, since Boston sucks butt.
I think the main reason people (myself included) shop online is because it is cheaper online than offline. When a textbook cost only 50 dollars online but 150 at the bookstore, I rather keep my hundred (plus tax).
I live in an MIT-owned apartment building inhabited by staff (such as my wife), but mostly by grad students. The past several days, the steps from the building entrance to the first floor hallway have been amazingly cluttered with large packages, making it difficult for some people to get up and down them. Never seen it this bad before.