Letters to the Editor: Amazon is worth $1.7 trillion. Spend your pandemic dollars locally

Customers browse shelves of books and other merchandise at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena.
Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena is struggling to make it through the coronavirus crisis.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Since March 2020, my local brewery as well as a vegan restaurant I patronized regularly closed permanently. Another neighborhood restaurant is struggling to survive on takeout alone. (“The Los Angeles we love is dying in 2020. We must fight to save it,” column, Oct. 11)

Therefore, it is especially jarring to see long lines outside Whole Foods and Amazon trucks pull up every day outside my apartment building. Sure, buying from Amazon is quick, easy and cheap, and Whole Foods (which is owned by Amazon) has undeniably great food, often sourced from smaller businesses.

But Amazon’s market capitalization has increased to $1.7 trillion this year due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic. Just think what would have happened if every dollar shelled out to Amazon since March instead went to a local business, many of whom have developed the ability to process orders online.


I am not against Amazon or any large business, per se. I just wish that all consumers (particularly those with the means to do so) stopped to think about whether our dollars could be spent more responsibly before we clicked “add to cart.”

Katherine Markova, Los Angeles


To the editor: It would be more accurate for Steve Lopez to say that businesses are in danger thanks to mismanagement of the pandemic rather than the pandemic itself.

There is no reason why a bookstore like Vroman’s in Pasadena could not be managed under the same regulations and restrictions as the Target across the street from Vroman’s. The same can be said of many other businesses that have been crushed.

At the start of the pandemic, Target was deemed “essential” because it sold pharmaceuticals and food, but its nonessential departments remained open.

Considering the drop in income to the city and the state, the rise in unemployment and all the other negative effects of the shutdown, perhaps stores like Vroman’s were also essential.


David Goodwin, Pasadena


To the editor: Lopez’s column about Musso & Frank, Vroman’s and other struggling local institutions brought back vivid memories.

When I was a new bride in 1969, a kind Vroman’s employee directed me to a cookbook by a local woman named Julia Child. There began a lifelong love of French food and culture.

Being a born-and-raised Angeleno, Musso & Frank has been a fixture in my life as long as I can remember. On one especially memorable occasion my husband and I sat close to Donald Sutherland, whose voice was unmistakable even if a beard obscured his face.

Pamela Taylor, Huntington Beach