I was worried that Amazon was still stalking me. The whole truth really hurts
I was getting ready.
It was a big day, and it took more self-control than I feared I could muster.
I am human. I am a believer in persuasion. You would think then that Amazon Prime Day would expose all my inherent weaknesses in a desperate charge toward unfettered spending.
I make the assumption, you see, that all the big brands on the web follow me. They know everything about me. They know what I like, what I like to eat, and even what I like to do when I’m not grabbing one gadget or another.
So on Prime Day, I expected to open the Amazon homepage and find the temptation that made Adam and the Apple seem so PG-rated. Prime Day is a big deal for Amazon. He has a lot to change. I’m a prime target for stuff.
You know me, Amazon. You really know me.
I squinted cautiously.
I was sure Amazon would show me a bunch of desirable things that were suddenly 20% off, or maybe 30. If they were 50% off, they would be in my cart within seconds.
However, when I opened my eyes slightly, I felt weird.
Amazon’s homepage suggested an iRobot Roomba, an Oral-B electric toothbrush, Samsung phones and, oh, Levi’s cut-off shorts.
Dear Amazon, I thought you cared. I don’t need a Roomba. I only went to the dentist last week and she said I brushed really well despite my European teeth. Samsung phones? But Amazon, you know I love the iPhone since Nokia lost track of everything, right?
What about Levi’s cut-off shorts? You flatter me, Amazon. Sure, I’m proud of my ex-footballer’s hamstrings and glutes, but do you really want to put me in a Levi’s cup?
I scrolled down, thinking Amazon was just being modest. Surely there would be a special section of articles specifically recommended just for me. And organized, as they say, these days, by machines that follow me everywhere and know my complete innards.
As I scrolled through the recommendations, Amazon shouted, “Don’t miss this deal.” Naturally, I stopped. What deal could that be? Why it was for a “LOL Surprise! Movie Bigger Surprise includes OMG Fashion Doll.”
Surprise! I have no idea what it is. In that order, careful examination of those words only tells me that it is a doll. Somehow.
I am special. So special.
Finally, however, the specific personal recommendations.
Amazon teased me with golf clubs. OK, I play golf, but I recently bought some clubs. On Amazon. Why would I need more?
Then, on the Carousel of Joy, Amazon suggested a FireTV stick and a surge protector, two technologies I never dreamed of.
The next recommendation was: “Color Wow Dream Coat Supernatural Spray — The multi-award-winning anti-frizz spray keeps hair frizz-free for days, whatever the weather, with water-repellent, moisture-wicking technology; glass hair.”
At that, my core started to harden like a Jeff Bezos bicep.
Amazon, we’ve been together for years. More than a decade. And no one ever told you that I had no hair? What type of smart spying technology do you use? What IQ does he have?
It was like going on a first date, and your potential lover asks you questions he had prepared beforehand without actually reading your dating profile.
Oh no, Amazon. You don’t know me at all.
Amazon wasn’t done.
Next are the shaving products on the personalized carousel. Woman and man. Does Amazon really doubt who or what I am? Or could his AI be throwing sell spaghetti against the wall and hoping some of them stick around for some inexplicable reason?
You see, next came “NOCO Boost Plus GB40 1000A 12V UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter Box, Car Battery Booster Pack, Portable Power Bank Charger, and Jumper Cables For Up To 6-Liter Gasoline and 3-Liter Diesel Engines.”
And all because I once bought a tire gauge on Amazon? This is the most unimaginative and oblivious spy-based recommendation technology I have ever seen.
He knows very little. I’m afraid he knows next to nothing.
As proof, may I point to the last four recommendations: Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm, a Wilson tennis racquet, an Amazon sleep aid, and Camco RV parts and accessories.
It was like watching a penalty shootout by giraffes. It was like watching an elephant climb a pole. It was worse than Netflix’s recommendation engine.
I don’t use a cleansing balm, I don’t play tennis, I sleep pretty well, thank you, and I don’t have an RV.
So my Prime Day experience was quite uplifting.
Maybe tech companies don’t know as much about us as we fear. Perhaps their machines are so linear that they really do look like rudimentary nerds, utterly unaware of the basic nuances of the human soul.
Maybe there is hope after all.
And no, I didn’t buy anything on Prime Day. Well, apart from a few books.
But Amazon did not recommend them.