Sales Tax and the Local Economy

We are on a panel that replies to questions for a Bike Trade Magazine (Bicycle Retailer and Industry News).  Here is the latest question and our reply:

If legislation passes to make online consumers pay state sales tax, what effect do you think it could have on your business?

We are just about to dip our toe in the waters of online retailing through SmartEtailing, so our projection of what online sales tax would do to our business is unclear.

Regarding the whole sales tax thing, we do get a number of folks that come in and want a discount (code word, to not pay sales tax) by paying cash. "I don't like Uncle Sam to take a cut", they say.  Oh yeah?  Do you like it when the firetruck shows up when you house catches on fire? Do you like the garbage man, cops and schools that the city provides? We all have to pay our share if we want our local communities to flourish.

We also get alot of folks who want us to match prices they saw online...I am not preachy (as I would be foolish to believe that everyone in the world should buy bike parts form me).  I politely refuse, and suggest they consider the axiom "you get what you pay for".  Hey, we all buy things online.  When i book a flight online, I find the online customer service I receive adequate for my needs.

I tell folks they can buy online and save on tax....but I also tell them that the robot that puts their part in that shipping box doesn't care of you're selected the right part, nor will it be there if/when things go wrong.  yeah, things cost a little more in a  brick-and-mortar shop, but I have 10 employees and we are actively contributing to our local economy.  

We do very well charging straight MSRP, and adding to that the best customer service around. people don't mind the slight uptick in cost if they know they will be taken care of.