Not for nothing, there is life after Amazon.

Walmart.com isn’t quite up to Amazon’s website ease of use, depth of user reviews, or breadth of product, but it’s getting a lot better. And the price is the price and the shipping (or free shipping) is what it is. Do a test at Amazon, price products using Prime for “free” two-day shipping, then price the products without Prime with regular shipping.

I ordered a kayak cover at Walmart.com, free shipping but delivery not for 10 days, from a third-party seller. If I wanted it guaranteed in two days, it would be an extra $10 shipping. I received the USPS tracking number quickly, and it’s shipping immediately. So it looks like that 10-day shipping is actually going to end up being shorter. I don’t need it in two days, so no big deal. Of the products you order, how many do you really need in two days? And there’s no annual fee.

I also opened an account so future shopping will be easier, with shipping, billing and CC info. already entered.

I am also starting to order directly from companies and through alternatives.

The kayak for which I bought the cover through Walmart.com was purchased at Westmarine.com, at a price much better than available elsewhere and reasonable shipping considering the weight. I also recently ordered instant coffee directly from an Amazon third-party seller, rather than through Amazon, where I used to order it from that same third-party seller. It was much cheaper at the third-party seller directly, but with shipping, was a wash with the total cost at Amazon.

Increasingly, I’m using Amazon.com to locate, price and get reviews on products, then finding them cheaper elsewhere. That’s using the power of Amazon’s publicly available pricing, user reviews and third-party seller data to my advantage.

We saved a couple of hundred dollars on a dining room chandelier (it’s spectacular, seriously) by locating it on Amazon, then buying it at Build.com, which kept offering us bigger discounts each time we visited the website. It got to the point the price was so low, we grabbed it. Amazon put a couple of hundred dollars in our pocket.

Amazon’s competitive advantage is information, and the information that is important to consumers (product selection, reviews, price) is available for free on Amazon’s website. Amazon gives away for free its most important asset, in exchange for convenience for which consumers are willing to pay.  But that convenience is available elsewhere, possibly at a lower price, with just a couple of additional clicks.

It may be, ironically, that Amazon’s website now is the bricks-and-mortar store of the past, where we would go to find what we wanted to buy, then buy it at Amazon. Amazon’s massive fulfillment centers may someday resemble the lonely rows of books at Barnes and Noble stores, if consumers decide to use Amazon’s information to their own advantage, not to Amazon’s advantage.

As of now, Amazon is flying high and seemingly untouchable. Municipalities are falling all over themselves to land Amazon fulfillment centers and Amazon’s planned second headquarters.

But along with that has come a sense of arrogance and willingness to treat people like dirt. Business history is full of examples of untouchable companies that failed due to their hubris and sense of invincibility.

How strange that Walmart.com is the White Knight in this scenario.

It’s in our interest that there is competition among big tech (and I consider Amazon part of big tech culture), whether it’s Amazon, or Google (incl. YouTube), or Facebook, or Twitter, or whatever. As the saying goes, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Big tech already has a corrupting political power over us. We need to stop feeding the beast.