Our “Dear John” Letter to the State of California
We’re terribly sorry to have to do this but we’re no longer a good match for each other. And trust us when we say it’s you, not us…we just can’t afford you anymore. Ever since you and your new BFF–the Affiliate Nexus Tax–started hanging out, people just don’t want to do as much business with us anymore. Sure, we know it seems only fair that online retailers without a physical presence in California should have to collect sales taxes from their customers just like everyone else. The problem is, until every other state–or the federal government–feels the same way, companies like Amazon.com, Overstock and others have decided that it’s not worth working with us (or 25,000 other California-based businesses) anymore. Apparently, in your eyes, our affiliate relationship makes them liable for collecting taxes. They’ve decided it makes better sense to just work with affiliates beyond your, admittedly still picturesque, borders.
We know this letter might come as a bit of a shock–especially because things had been going so well between us. Last year alone we helped drive $400 million in sales and we’ve doubled the number of California jobs we provide year-after-year. And people started to notice: the LA Business Journal named us a “Best Place to Work in Los Angeles” and then Inc. Magazine just named us one of the “500 Fastest Growing Companies in 2011.” So what went wrong?
Well, you’re a Pisces, we’re a Gemini. And maybe we’re just being sensitive–like the time we asked you what color our eyes were and you said “white”–but we can either stick with you and try to weather the loss in revenue during these already fragile times, or we can start considering some of the offers from the other states that changed their feelings about affiliate companies like us. Sure, we’d miss you (you are still gorgeous after all) but maybe some clean Rocky Mountain air, or the sound of crashing surf on The North Shore, would be refreshing. Don’t worry, you could keep the futon, VCR player and Charoodles–but our 100+ employees and the state income taxes they pay each year would be coming along with us.
Now, please, don’t be bitter. We’d still want to be friends of a friend, even if we were, like, totally on opposite coasts. We had some good times, or so we think (FYI, we don’t even care about the Napa Zinfandel you spilled on our throw pillow anymore). Hopefully you feel the same way. So, if you’re still interested in us, here’s a good place to go for information on how we might able to work things out: getbackinbusiness.org.
In the meantime, take care of yourself–and don’t forget to water the ficus.
All the best,
P.S. Our friend the LA Times told us that Amazon says they’re not even going to pay the sales taxes you say they owe