To Amazon Prime, or Not to Amazon Prime


Amazon Prime is causing some degree of debate for subscribers this year, since they decided to increase the yearly fee by $20.

I dodged the increase, since my Prime day fell in May, but there are others who are considering the real value of Prime membership now. Gizmodo‘s Adam Clark Estes brought up some important issues surrounding the ubiquitous Amazon, and the nature of Prime membership.

Personally, I can’t empathize much when it comes to building up a Pantry order to get free shipping, since I think I’ve made only a couple of those orders myself – one was delivered to a friend. However, my reasons for never getting sucked into the Pantry buying has everything to do with the fact that I tend to shop local regardless. My food purchases on Amazon are scant, and include imported items that I simply can’t find at all in my local stores.

I also can’t speak to the idea of buying for the sake of buying, and getting the most out of my Prime membership fees. It’s true that I can end up with piles of Amazon boxes in my house, but that’s typically because of holidays. Otherwise, my purchases tend to fall in the category of “I can’t find it at all, or I can’t find it for less in a regular store.” That said, multi-packs of inexpensive earbuds, charging cords, phone and tablet cases litter my purchase history, right beside various specialty purchases like beach cabanas and soccer cleats. Yes, I am definitely guilty of having my kid try on shoes in a store, checking the price on Amazon, and if the shoes aren’t needed for another 48 hours, buying them online instead to save money.

We aren’t living in a “Smart House”, and it’s doubtful that we ever will. Frankly, the concept of my refrigerator being hacked terrifies me. So, I never seriously considered purchasing the privacy-invading nightmare that is Echo. I tried to make use of Siri and Cortana, and because those experiences were filed under “epic failure”, Alexa never caught my eye. Ok, maybe it did a little, when the stories about dildos being offered as a potential purchase when someone asked for something innocent surfaced. But, that’s just prurient humor that can be enjoyed via YouTube, not in my own home on a device that cost me a couple hundred dollars.

My point is that while I understand that Prime membership probably has lead many people down the path of impulse buying to a degree that probably is harmful, it doesn’t have to be that way. Are there compelling reasons to cut back on the use of Amazon in general? Definitely. Estes enumerated several of them, from unfair labor practices, through price-gouging on at least some products to make up for “free shipping”. Personally, as long as I remain the one in control of the situation, I suspect that I will continue having Amazon Prime. But, no matter what, yes I will be taking stock of the situation in April, well before my Prime day arrives.

Image: By Quote Catalog