Camping it up · el cheapo · Keepin' it real · Kids

Day 445: I wish I could quit you.

Dear Amazon,

I wish I could quit you.

By most accounts, you engage in unethical business practices and your employment practices aren’t anything to write home about either. You sell lots of stuff cheaply, most of it made in China, which makes me wonder whether it was made by Uyghurs in Chinese detention centres. And you’re not-so-slowly taking over the market, elbowing small local retailers out of the way because they can’t compete with you.

Granted, you have economy of scale on your side. And I’m sure you’ve invested gazillions of dollars in software development and logistics planning and implementation. You’re so big because you’re so good at what you do. I get that. But still, for ethical reasons I’ve been trying to reduce my purchases from you by, oh, ninety percent.

But I just can’t leave.

There are some things I can’t seem to find anywhere else; all of your collapsible silicone water bottles in multiple colours, for example. It may not seem very important to others, but in our house we colour-code everything so we know which of the four kids each item belongs to. I checked five local sports/outdoor stores before resigning myself to the fact that I’d have to buy from you. Again.

I needed a very long, continuous curtain track system. IKEA’s system failed me. I looked everywhere I could think of and found absolutely nothing. So I came crawling back again, credit-card CVV in hand, to buy a seven-metre track with rollers and everything. It works perfectly, by the way.

At least the curtain track story has a positive spin: it was sold by one of your “Marketplace” vendors, which I gather means they use Amazon as an e-commerce platform so they don’t have to develop their own. They benefit from your reach and your search algorithms and I presume they pay handsomely for the opportunity. Anyhow, this vendor was a small family-owned business based in Alberta that only sells through you. I had a minor customer service issue and they were perfectly lovely to deal with. I would absolutely buy from them again… on Amazon, of course, because they have no other platform.

And now… I have three kids to prepare for camp. Who knew they’d need so much stuff? Twenty-four towels (total, not each)? I mean, yeah, first I’ll canvass everyone I know for their old towels they don’t want anymore. But after that, you might be my best chance for towels on the cheap. Although I’m happy to pay smaller local stores a bit more for their products, I’m less happy to do it when I’m staring at a packing list that looks like it was put together by a stereotypical Jewish mother who doesn’t get that it’s okay to wear your sweatshirt a whole week running even if it’s got grass stains on the elbows and a smear of melted marshmallow from Wednesday night’s campfire. Point is, there’s so much stuff we need from camp that I do need to economize just a bit.

So, Amazon, even though I said goodbye dozens of times, even though I’ve resolved to stop crawling back to you, I can’t. You’re just that good at what you do. And apparently, I need you.

Shamefacedly yours,

3 thoughts on “Day 445: I wish I could quit you.

  1. I hear you! There are just so many things that I absolutely can’t find elsewhere. I guess years ago I would have found alternatives, or just done without, but when the stuff you want is *right there* at a totally affordable price…it seems silly not to buy it?

  2. I am increasingly reluctant to buy there but they are helpful for comparison education shopping. However I am at the de-acquiring stage of life so I rarely need to buy much making it all fairly moot.

  3. You really don’t need to pack all the towels the camp suggests. They are suggested packing lists. Not required packing lists (at least at my kid’s camp). And your kid can be a bit grubby and rewear the sweatshirt – it’s camp after all.

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