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>what can brick-and-mortar stores, with all that overhead, do to compete with a presence like Amazon?

Vet their suppliers!

I can walk into any Walmart, Target, Home Depot, etc, etc in the United States, buy a light-bulb (just an example of a product they all carry) and be assured that it is going to do the job it is sold as being able to do for a reasonable amount of time and if not I can bring it back for an exchange or refund.




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