The Amazon ain’t just a forest in South America. It’s big, expansive, and easy to get lost inside. Kinda like that little website we pay $120 a year to shop on.
I remember sitting in my college lecture, crammed full of overachievers who went by their middle names, with my professor, The Dean of the school mind you, ranting and raving about this business that sold books and CDs and insisting that it was going to change the world. Yeah, ok Grandpa, go on with the crazy talk.
Its purpose was to make your life easier. Get small, light, commoditized things delivered to your doorstep. Its purpose was to make your wallet happier. Price transparency is a beautiful thing. It sucked you in on the promise of being its own little democracy, where the search results showed you stuff that other people bought the most, the stuff that other people were most satisfied with. It was the answer to the consumer who wanted objectivity, who didn’t want to be “bought” or duped by corporate America.
It caught on. It got bigger. And now, it’s taking over the world.
– It’s not only selling you books, it’s selling you devices to read them on electronically.
– It’s not only a website, it’s selling you human-like devices that listen to everything you say at home and respond to your commands (and sometimes laughs at you?)
– It’s not only sending you stuff when you order it, it will replenish your most commonly used household goods every month automatically.
– It’s not only delivering things to your home in 2 days for free (but not really free), but it’s offering to enter your home, put your groceries inside your fridge, or in the trunk of your car.
– It wants to deliver tonight’s takeout dinner.
– It wants to suggest which original TV Show you might want to watch with the Hubs tonight.
– It wants to send you a box of clothes you might like.
– It wants to store all your photos and personal files on its cloud.
– It wants to provide you healthcare???
Are you creeped out yet? I am!
Is Amazon really the answer to our prayers? Well, I’m not sure what you’ve been praying for. But for me, it’s become the stuff of nightmares, and while I’m still coughing up the $120 a year- as what? An option for on demand shipping on any item I can possibly imagine exists for purchase on the internet? Insurance? The alternative to a cable bill? – I am really over Amazon, and have been going out of my way to divert away.
Why am I such a hater you ask? Well Amazon is not what it originally conceived itself to be. It has morphed into a multi headed monster.
It is no longer the best price in town. The marketplace is full of third party vendors that charge whatever price they want, taking advantage of the blind trust you have in Amazon’s great price promise, and the fact that the obscure item you’re buying isn’t something you can easily price check online. And while some returns are free, they’re never very easy, and some vendors don’t allow returns at all- try to find the fine print that warns you before adding to your cart!
It is no longer search agnostic, and showing you the most popular or relevant items based on your search terms. Amazon now sells a lot of their own products and prioritizes these over other brands, making you more likely to put your money directly into their pocket vs. a supplier paying them a portion of the sale. Amazon also sells a chunk of front page real estate to the highest bidder, so the first 20 or so results likely have a small “sponsored” tag somewhere on them. They are really just duping you after all. And you thought you couldn’t be bought?! Ha!
It has put tremendous pressure on Big Business and Corporate America. You can argue this all you want with your socialist tendencies (we all have ‘em somewhere), but at the end of the day, when retailers go out of business, and malls have tumbleweeds rolling around, where will your teenagers go hangout on the weekends? Where will your family enjoy smorgasbord food court lunch on a rainy Sunday afternoon? Where will you send you husband to return unworn clothes with labels on them (or not) 6 months after you purchased them? Stores have had to tighten a lot of their policies and get a lot more strict on their couponing because Amazon has really stolen a lot of their sales. Eventually, that rolls downhill and becomes inconvenient for none other than you!
Amazon is a TRILLION dollar company. It’s CEO is the RICHEST MAN IN THE WORLD. He was once a super smart nerdy dude with a great idea. He became a shrewd boss, who built a small grassroots mailing business into an empire. He was abandoned by his father as a young age. He wanted to make life easier for the masses. But with great power (and money) comes great responsibility. Sometimes the pressure is too much to handle, and the super hero becomes the egomaniacal mega villain. I am not saying Jeff is that bad, but his company has grown too big for itself, employees will tell you it’s a tough place to work, and his actions (like recent sexting scandal and his recently announced divorce from his long time partner) are starting to suggest he’s gone down a different path as well.
I managed to stop buying kindle books, and am instead using this cool thing called the public library through a cool app called Libby. I would love to quit Amazon for good, but I’m afraid my husband would shrivel up and die without the option of free 2 day shipping. Breakups are a funny thing, and this one might take time, but consider this a public service announcement that Amazon isn’t as irreplaceable or as altruistic as you may think!