The peak of the holiday shopping season is upon and many are now waiting for a bunch of brown boxes, marked with a smile, to arrive on their front porch. Amazon has become a mainstay for many shoppers, even commanding its own “holiday,” Amazon Prime Day. The pandemic has only increased the connection between consumer and company as we seem to be more reliant on Amazon than ever.
This holiday season, you may find yourself like many, both loving and hating the online giant. This mixed reaction is understandable. See if you can relate to any of these five reasons why we have a love-hate relationship with Amazon:
1. We love and hate the convenience. Whenever a need or want crosses our minds, we can quickly go to our Amazon account, make the purchase, and have it in hand within a very short period of time. We love the convenience. But we also hate it. We hate it because instant gratification is made that much easier. The small purchase barriers, like drive time, are eliminated. We are not forced to pause and consider the financial ramifications. We just buy. We love and hate the convenience.
2. Selection. There is a seemingly endless amount of product offerings on Amazon. Coat hangers? Would you rather have wooden or plastic? Wooden? What stain? Cherry, oak, natural? We can find exactly what we want. We love it. But we also hate it. Inevitably, we find something that we didn’t even know that we wanted. And now we're purchasing it. We love and hate the selection.
3. Price. Who doesn’t like a good deal? On Amazon, we find some of the best prices on products. In fact, we will even check our app when looking at a product in another store to see if Amazon offers the same product at a lower price. Why do we do this? Because they often do have a better price. We love it. But we also hate it. We hate it because we find ourselves regularly making purchases that are not a part of our budget. We justify it because it is such a good deal. But the problem is that there is always a good deal. The regular justification leads to financial deterioration. We love and hate the price.
4. Amazing recommendations. We go on our Amazon account and are immediately hit with recommended products. And they are great recommendations. The Amazon algorithms nailed it again. We love it. But we also hate it. We didn’t go on Amazon to purchase that item, but, somehow, the item has found its way into our cart. The total purchase amount is higher than we planned but we click the purchase button anyway. We’ll deal with the regret later. We love and hate the amazing recommendations.
5. Life integration. Amazon is now more than just a place to shop. The company has woven itself into our everyday lives. Home security, television, music, news, and more are all a part of the Amazon ecosystem. Alexa is now a member of the family. We love it. But we also hate it. We realized how reliant we are on Amazon. We can’t imagine life without it. Somehow the original sense of freedom Amazon gave us occasionally feels like chains, not knowing how we would operate without them. We love and hate the life integration.
Amazon is an incredible company. I am a regular customer. But as I worked with others and their finances, I can see the double-edged sword. Increased convenience, better prices, and an immense selection regularly lead to more spending, not less.
So, what about you? What do you love and hate about Amazon?
This holiday season, enjoy online shopping. But be careful. Don’t let the boxes on your front door represent a series of regrets. Stay on budget. Live appropriately so that you can give generously.