Breaking up with Amazon is hard, but it’s not impossible. I know. I just did it.
And I’m 100% happier now that I did.
Yes, I’m kissing two-day shipping goodbye. Waving farewell to one of my kids’ favorite TV shows, an Amazon Original called Creative Galaxy. I’m giving up access to a worldwide network of cheap goods.
Why would you break up with Amazon, you may be wondering?
Because I’m tired of paying $119 a year for a service I don’t get the full value of.
Because Amazon puts spying robots into peoples’ homes.
Because they treat employees poorly (according to investigations reported in this CBS News article, this Guardian article, and NBC News clip).
Because ordering stuff online to be delivered in cardboard packaging kills more than a billion trees per year.
A billion trees!
Like most everyone I know, I used to love the feeling I got when that unmarked delivery van (or random Chevy or Nissan) pulled up to bring me a special prize.
Even if that prize was just ink for my printer. It still made me feel special.
Getting that feeling is a rush. It’s addictive. It’s so easy to get a fix anytime you want it.
But ever since I read about employee work conditions a few months ago, and ever since they invented creepy Alexa, I haven’t been able to bring myself to use Amazon for anything.
And truth be told, I haven’t missed it at all.
Until yesterday, though, I was still a little afraid to cut ties completely. Not using Amazon these past few months had just been an experiment, after all, to see what life would be like without the behemoth breathing down my neck all the time. So I made my purchases in person, at local stores instead. The kids watched PBS shows.
My experiment was going fine, until I started running out of my hard-core, go-to, green cleanser, Flo-Kem Green.
I hadn’t even bothered to look for it anyplace other than Amazon. It’s a unique product, typically sold only to custodians in big institutional facilities. It’s not sold at Target, Wal-Mart, Whole Foods, my local co-op or any other store I’ve ever walked into.
Even if I could find it online, I assumed, it was probably more expensive than Amazon listed it for.
And who could beat free, two-day shipping?
But then I read the Wired article about Alexa being trained to pick up whispers. It pissed me off. Like, immensely.
I realized then that I’d only been dabbling in kicking the Amazon habit. It was rather cowardly, my faux abandonment of it. I’d been making excuses. Hiding behind my fear of what might happen if...
I knew it was time to make a real move and kick my Prime habit for good. So I did. I had to click a few dozen times through the cancelation process because Amazon kept asking me if I was really certainly sure I wanted to give up all those benefits. I happily clicked through until I saw those words, Cancelation Confirmed.
What I see now is that I’d been suffering from the illusion that I was stuck with Amazon. That I had no alternatives. That once I’d gotten sucked into the world of Amazon Prime, there was no way out.
And let me tell you, that is one icky feeling. Maybe you’ve felt it, too?
I call it Amazon Prime Addiction Purgatory, or A-PAP for short. And I’ll bet millions are suffering from it—they just don’t know it yet.
You dismiss the red flag that’s waving in your face; that small issue of always having to check with him first before you do or buy anything. It’s like he has all the answers, and you grow to depend on his resourcefulness.
Soon you start to believe he’s the only guy in town.
Besides, you tell yourself, who could resist his spiffy shoes and dazzling smile? And isn’t it sweet how he surprises you by showing up everywhere you go?
At first, you think that’s adorable. Then you start to wonder…is this creep following me?
Sooner or later you begin to realize he just can’t deliver everything you need. Plus, when it’s the two of you, all alone, he makes you pay—for everything.
Need a bear hug after a hard day? Sorry! That’s not included in your dating arrangement!
Need him to be your Plus-1 for a coworker’s wedding? That’ll cost extra!
Changed your mind about where to grab dinner later? Don’t even think about it! He’s already used your credit card to order the meal. The food is sitting at your table before you even arrive at the restaurant, whether you want it now or not.
In fact, you spend money without even realizing it—even when you’re not hanging out with him. Dollar bills just disappear from your wallet, a little at a time, month after month.
When you ask him about it, he changes the subject and lists all his other great qualities instead: “I’m punctual, entertaining, and I have connections all over the world!”
But you find yourself asking, Is that what I really want?
Because you know in your heart you don’t really care that he shows up early all the dang time. You couldn’t care less about all his entertaining tricks—you don’t have time to enjoy them anyway. And he’s a little skeevy, you decide, what with all his spying robots and unmarked vans.
So why are you wasting your time with this guy?
Because you’ve convinced yourself that you’re stuck with him.
That’s how I felt about Amazon. Hell, I even fell for the gimmick of their Affiliate Program, which I’ve never once earned one dime off of (and am undergoing the painstaking process of unlinking all of the products I’ve ever mentioned in my blogs, slowly but surely).
The good news? You’re not stuck with Amazon. It’s not the only game in town. We consumers do have other options.
It turns out that My favorite green cleaning product is sold elsewhere, and for a comparable price. And my kids are tired of Creative Galaxy anyway.
So, I’m sorry, Amazon. I know how sorry you are to see me go. But it’s over. We’re through at last, and I couldn't be happier.
I'm Janeen; writer, mother, wife, and full-time, radical Reductionist. I share stupid-easy tips on how to save money while reducing your impact on the environment, & I'm committed to helping others live a life of simple sustainability.
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