And just because
I call you up
Don’t get me wrong, don’t think you’ve got it made
I’m not in love, no no, it’s because….
I’m sure you recognise those lyrics from the 1975 hit “I’m Not In Love” by 10cc — which was precisely 20 years before Amazon was launched onto an unsuspecting world.
If only we’d known then what we know now.
But hey, who am I to criticise Amazon? After all, I’m a Prime member, just like the next person. And the next. And the next. Just like the other 150 million people worldwide who bring in annual revenues of £19bn for the company. Who’d have thought it, paying for the privilege of buying from a retailer. It’s like John Lewis or Harrods charging an entrance fee at the door.
So I keep telling myself I’m not in love — but of course I am. Hopelessly, head over heels. Because, well, it just works.
I’m not in love with Amazon, obviously, because what’s there to love about a technology company? Like most of its users, I ignore the stories of poor working environments, unrelenting pressure on employees, the fact that its founder boasts a net wealth bigger than most countries’ GDP. Similarly, I try not to notice that its customer insights and attempts at personalisation are, at best, rudimentary.
Because, while I don’t like to admit it, I do have an intimate relationship with Alexa, who can fulfil my every desire, 24-7. She knows me better than anyone else I know. That’s what I value.
Except, of course, she doesn’t. It’s a gimmick, it’s convenient, but it’s surface-level at best.
Back in 2018, Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos predicted that his own corporate titan would eventually fail. There seems little evidence of that at the moment — in fact, his reach is growing bigger still. With Amazon Fresh same-day grocery delivery now available and the prospect of 30 Amazon Go stores opening up in the UK, including on London’s Regent Street, Amazon looks set on ever greater domination.
In some ways, the expansion seems a smart move. Grocery is Amazon’s next frontier and it won’t fully crack that market without a physical presence. Also, it will not have escaped the notice of those at the top that the trend now is for working from home and hyper-local shopping. If those habits become embedded, expect an Amazon Go store on a corner near you in the not so distant future.
But all that is to ignore one thing: we’re in love with the ease and convenience of Amazon, not the brand, with which we will only ever enjoy a platonic relationship. We save our intimacy for others.
So, we continue to pay our membership and enjoy the benefits of the club, but for the most part we take no pride in our membership. Rather it is viewed as evidence that we have succumbed to the inevitable, that we’re not a free thinker, that somehow we’ve sold out.
This means that our loyalty is fickle. The moment Amazon stops offering exactly what we want, we will abandon it without a second thought. Its fundamentals are unstable, its future insecure.
And so Jeff Bezos was right: ultimately, Amazon will fail.
Main image credit: Getty