Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Pygmies Take Over the Amazon
Like most customers, I'm somewhat in awe of Amazon's business model. Their ability to ship me the stuff I want, very quickly, at very attractive prices is almost supernatural. Purely from a consumer's point of view, I flat out adore Amazon.
But like any employee who works for a company manufacturing products sold through Amazon, I have a very healthy level of fear, loathing and distrust of the online retail giant. There is no retailer on earth more predatory, more cutthroat, more venal than Amazon.com. And that includes that corporate Son of Satan, Walmart.
So I've watched Amazon's buildup to Prime Tuesday over the past two weeks with a good deal of interest as well as skepticism, pretty sure I knew what was coming. As you undoubtedly know, Amazon's Prime Tuesday event was promising a whole boat-load of exceptionally good purchase deals exclusively to it's prime members—those folks, like me, who have paid $99 per year for what is an admittedly great membership that gives you a free book a month, free shipping on most products, and a whole lot of free video streaming from a library that is considerably larger and better stocked than Netflix. I have no problem with my Prime membership; it's one of the great bargains to be had.
I also was pretty sure I understood the business motivation to this highly publicized PR venture, and the evidence, as it unfolded, did not disappoint. In anticipation of these positively sinful good deals that were coming, hundreds of thousands of people coughed up 99 bucks to join the program, and Amazon stock has also soared on the stock market in recent days due to the frenzy of excitement over this scheme.
• A 14" long plastic shoe horn, which could have been mine for a mere $6.99.
• An airline seat belt extender, of the type which flight attendants loan people for free whenever asked. Owning your own, though, I guess saves you the embarrassment of having to ask for it in front of other passengers.
• A whole bunch of flash-drive memory sticks could have been mine, at many cents cheaper than I could buy them at Target.
• I just missed on a very expensive Husqvarna lawn mower, discounted from yesterday's regular 35% off to a full 40% today.
• Also missed on a pretty good deal on last year's Samsung 50" HD television, selling for $1000. Not a lot different from the closeout I saw at Best Buy last week, but still.
• An extra $30 off a black & white Kindle e-reader, which is utterly necessary if you'd like, as I do, to cough up $2000 to $3000 a year to Amazon to lease ebooks from them.
• A four-pack of No Pinch No Problem Panties
No shit. This was the special merchandise being offered by Amazon today in this once-in-a-lifetime event. Jesus Christ, these people are really smart. Who else manages to parlay a simple stock reduction sale into millions of dollars in new membership fees while simultaneously increasing the value of their stock options by 25% or so.