The New eShopping Normal

I’ve been really enjoying not shopping at Amazon.

We have Prime. Lots of people have Prime. But right now, Prime for physical goods doesn’t matter because right now Amazon (with all apologies) is telling us unless it’s essential it’s not coming in a day or two days or even three. They’re overwhelmed. And (ostensibly) protecting their workforce.

Except they’re not, and as they try to ramp up hiring and compress orientation to a day they’re going to break some eggs to make that frothy omelet. So no more shitty knockoff Chinese spatulas for you, sorry. You gotta wait two weeks now if you want that.

And in turn, I’ve started finding other outlets for what I need.

I needed Easter candy, so I ordered it from See’s (before they had to close because they felt it was the correct thing to do). I have to bake a cake for my daughter’s birthday (she’s really into How to Cake It right now), but leaving the house is undesirable, so I bought the candy online from from a local e-market, and picked out some nice heirloom beans while I was “there”. Her cake pans I got from an online restaurant supply. I ordered some yeast from King Arthur Flour (it’s about as out of stock as it is in on Amazon, but much cheaper, and much more likely to ship on time). And while I was at it, I bought a new cookie sheet from Great Jones because whatever we aren’t eating out anymore anyway.

In most cases I paid less or just as much shipping, and when all was said and done I knew where the products came from and that the money didn’t go into the pockets of a guy who isn’t protecting his workers. So that feels good.

And as I’m doing this, I have to ask myself: why? Why is it these arguably smaller, less technologically “advanced” companies are able to do the correct thing, while Amazon — with all its money and much-lauded logistics — can’t. To say nothing of the fact that Amazon flat out isn’t honoring its Prime shipping at this time, and is doing nothing to compensate for that. And has never done anything to address the fact that so many of its listings appear to be one thing, but show up as another.

Why have we allowed this to happen? Really? At what point did we decide that instant gratification — getting anything within 24 hours — was better than getting the right thing in a humane manner?

To all those companies out there who saw Prime as an impenetrable Goliath they could never defeat, I have good news for you. Right now, an opportunity has yawned open. Treat your workers well. Ship good products fast. Those of us stuck at home who need them will be ordering them.

Stay safe and sanitized and we’ll find you. We’re — quite literally — a captive audience and we’re seeking you out.