I think I may have sold my soul to the company store.
I was quite late to online shopping generally, but once I got on board I sure took to Amazon. I’m no shopaholic, going into debt buying figurines or other crap I don’t need and in fact, I strictly use Amazon gift cards for purchases (no extra fee for the “privilege”). I find stuff there I can’t get in stores, love the convenience, and often ferret out good deals. There is no question Amazon has made my life better.
Now that being said, I often feel Amazon knows me just a little too well. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they’ve got psychologists on payroll to help them assess customers’ personalities and buying habits. Amazon is “Big Brother” albeit a mostly kindly one. Seduction is a far better technique than bullying, no?
When I first purchased a tablet (from Amazon) I steered clear of those produced by Amazon, i.e., Kindle/Fire. I wanted some of my life to take place away from Amazon’s watchful eye. I was pretty happy with the tablet, that is until this year, when after having it just over 2 years, the touch screen began to go bad. The virtual alphabet wouldn’t let me type certain letters, important ones like “a” or “t” for example. I’d tap “a” and it would type “s.” Being who I am – somewhat tenacious by times (especially when saving money is involved)) – I tried to work around not having a full alphabet at my disposal. Also – and try not to think less of me – I wanted to give the tablet a chance to fix itself or mend its ways.
Equally bad, I was hitting things on the screen I didn’t intend. To my surprise, I joined a “drum jam” on Facebook. I discovered this when I got my acceptance. Oh my! I had never even seen the group before let alone intentionally pressed “join group”. I hastily apologized and removed myself. That was innocent enough, but it occurred to me I could get myself into worse trouble with a bad touch screen. What else might I inadvertently join? Who might I send a message to? What might I purchase? No, it was time for a new tablet.
I strictly looked for inexpensive ones, just basic internet, I don’t need a lot of tricks and features I’ll never use. Also, I was irritated that my initial outlay of cash had gone south so quickly. This led me to an older model Amazon Fire. For weeks, I let the marked-down tablet languish in my online shopping cart. And for those same weeks, in my mind I kept hearing the words to the old song about the company store. When I was a kid, we had access to a pile of old 45 and 78rpm records, oldies left over from my parents and older siblings, and this was one.
For kicks – and because I don’t feel like looking them up – I’m going to share the lyrics from memory: “Sixteen tons, what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt. St. Peter don’t you call me because I can’t go, I owe my soul to the company store.”
My sister and I would happily sing along to the baritone-voiced narrator. I didn’t know what a “company store” was or why someone might be so indebited to it he’d be unable to get into heaven. I just knew the tune was catchy!
Decades later, I eye Amazon warily, feeling fairly certain with the purchase of their tablet (and its “special offers” i.e., ads, imbedded into it) that I’ve indeed sold my soul to the company store. I bet there won’t be much of anything they don’t end up knowing about me. “I owe my soul to the Amazon store…”