The Amazon addiction

Laaiba Mahmood, Managing Editor, Opinions Columnist

I’ve never bought anything from Amazon.

At first, I didn’t have a real explanation as to why I don’t shop on Amazon. My family pays for a Prime subscription, but I’ve never used it. It seems helpful and convenient, but I have a general dislike of online shopping.

I’m just so used to physically seeing what I’m purchasing in a store. And you have to admit, it’s deceivingly easy to order something with a click of a button, especially with a service like Prime. Almost futuristic in a sense.

But there are some real issues with Amazon that discourage me from buying products from their website.

There’s no need to stand in checkout lines or leave a store in disappointment when they don’t have something you want. Everything can be bought from the comfort of your home, including groceries and basic necessities, feeding into the culture of instant gratification that we have grown up with.

I have a friend who has saved her credit card information to her Amazon account. During the holiday season, it is easier for her to purchase presents quickly online. However, with the information saved directly to her computer, it’s just as easy for her to make purchases that are not necessary.

At the same time, these online purchases are unsatisfying. Despite being able to buy more at one time and save on shipping costs, there is always something more that could be found on the website that someone might want to buy, feeding into a cycle of purchase and desire for more.

Consumerism has been woven into the American economic system since the 1950s and the craze of online shopping, particularly with Amazon, does nothing but strengthen its presence in our society. People are buying things that they don’t need, feel bad about spending that money and are stuck in a cycle of pretending like spending that money is alright.

Of course, people can spend their money on whatever they please. But there needs to be some amount of self-control when it comes to handling money, especially with the ease of purchasing on Amazon. It’s too easy to let go of any semblance of budgeting when anything and everything someone could want is right there, ready for buying (especially with free two-day shipping).

The company itself, with Jeff Bezos at its head, has issues and controversy with its workers as well.

Despite having recently raised their employee minimum wage to $15, there have been multiple reports of employees detailing the intense, harmful work culture cultivated within the company.

Journalist James Bloodworth went undercover in an Amazon warehouse facility and detailed his experience in an interview with CBS News.

“There’s very little concern for your well being,” Bloodworth said. “It was all obsessed with productivity, even going to the bathroom. They started treating human beings as robots, essentially.”

With concerns over how ethically Amazon treats its workers and wariness of becoming caught in a cycle of buying items I don’t need, giving Amazon my business is unappealing.

I won’t pretend to understand what it’s like to shop for the holiday season. However, for some who may not have the time to spend shopping during the holiday season, Amazon may be the best, and sometimes the only, option for shopping for loved ones.

I’m not a complete stranger to Amazon, but I fear that if I take the plunge and buy something from Amazon, I won’t be able to stop.

Besides, I put my money where my mouth is. And Amazon, with its suspicious treatment of its employees and how tempting purchasing unnecessary things is, isn’t where my money will go.