A petition for a ‘Noël sans Amazon’ has attracted thousands of signatures, as well as the backing of high profile French political figures.
With shops reeling from the impact of a second lockdown, people in France are being urged to avoid Amazon and shop local this Christmas.
The petition, backed by green groups and trade unions, asks people to pledge “For the holidays, we promise not to buy any gifts on this platform” and enjoy a Noël sans Amazon (Amazon-free Christmas).
It has been backed by Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, the Green party mayors of Grenoble and Poitiers and French MPs Matthieu Orphelin (independent) and François Ruffin of the hard left La France Insoumise.
Hidalgo called on her fellow Parisians: “Don’t buy on Amazon.
“I really say it to the people of Paris: don’t buy on Amazon. Amazon is the death of our bookshops and our neighbourhood life.”
Although non-essential shops are closed during the lockdown, they are permitted to allow ‘click and collect’ services – the government is offering financial support for small traders to develop this side of their business and many towns have created their own directories of shops that offer online ordering.
The current lockdown continues until December 1st and Prime Minister Jean Castex has said he hopes that shops will be allowed to reopen on that date, although bars, gyms and restaurants will likely stay shut.
However traders are calling for the reopening to be moved forward to November 27th to allow them to compete with the online deals of ‘Black Friday’.
The international Black Friday event has proved controversial in France even before the pandemic, with last year’s online sales day sparking protests from environmental groups and trade unionists.
Amazon also got into trouble during France’s lockdown in the spring when its warehouses were ordered by a French court to improve safety measures for employees. The online giant was ordered by the court to only sell essential items until it put in place extra anti-Covid measures for staff, but reacted by closing its warehouses completely and suspending sales in France.
A request for government help in paying the salaries of its employees was turned down.