From the Editor: Our year without Prime 'wasn’t a boycott’ – The Business Journals


Believe me when I say it wasn’t a boycott:
My wife and I didn’t give Amazon any money in 2022.
It was deliberate, yes, but if it was in protest of anything, it was in protest of ourselves.
We had been Prime members for a number of years and regular customers, of course, for much longer. You know the deal: Amazon has basically everything, and they will get it to you quickly.
At some point, it became our default. Unless we needed something from the hardware store that day, or for the pantry that night, the bulk of our shopping started and ended with Amazon. We couldn’t tell you when it happened, as it wasn’t a conscious decision on our part. It just … happened.
Which is a testament to what Amazon has built, of course. The convenience they provide, and the various frictions in the buying process that they’ve eradicated, is as high-tech and sophisticated as consumption gets.
It’s that lack of friction, however, that started to gnaw at us. Not only was there little friction between finding and item and then paying for it, but there was little friction between us deciding we wanted (or, rarely, needed) something and Amazon getting our business.
In other words, too much of our shopping and consumption had become reflexive, unthinking. There was little pause in asking ourselves whether we truly needed that thing and, if so, whether Amazon was where to buy to it.
So we took last year off from Amazon. Well, with two exceptions: Per their request, I used the company card to buy an employee an Amazon gift card. And when my wife applied for a new job last year, she bought an e-book written by her now boss that was only available from Amazon.
We didn’t do it to be “interesting,” either, in the way that people once boasted about having no TVs in their home. When it would come up, however — most often in conversations about which streaming shows we were or weren’t watching — I was struck by how surprised people were. “What do you mean you don’t have Prime??” carried the same surprised tone as “What do you mean you don’t drive anymore??”
It truly wasn’t hard, though, in that it required no real sacrifice on our parts. Walmart, having been supplanted by Amazon as the country’s No. 1 retailer, was the biggest beneficiary, thanks to a similarly expansive and convenient online presence.
Today, our experiment is over. We’ve not (and may not) rejoin Prime, but we’re prepared to again open our wallets to Amazon. Just with a little more thought behind it.
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