Is Amazon Prime a Cult?

I like Amazon.  Half the receipts on my typical credit card statement are from Amazon.  I buy a lot of stuff from Amazon.  But, I don’t want Amazon Prime.

Now, if I am being honest, I have to admit that I don’t really know what Amazon Prime is; don’t know what benefits membership confers.  All I know is that I don’t want it.  And I will tell you why.

It is because Amazon want me to have it.

Every time I make a purchase on Amazon, there, somewhere, is a mention of Amazon Prime, whether it be a relatively innocuous line indicating that I could get cheaper postage if I was a Prime member, or a full-screen advertisement blocking my seamless passage to the checkout.  In the past, I have always prided myself on being able to circumvent this kind of advertising, and thus passively indicate my contempt for Amazon Prime, but I had not bargained with Amazon stepping up their hard-sell.

The specifics of how I succumbed are still slightly vague to me; it all happened so fast; everything a blur.  I was completing a purchase when I was redirected to a screen that invited me to join Amazon Prime.  There were two options offered to me: one button saying JOIN; one marked CONTINUE.  What would you do?

I pressed CONTINUE.  To me, CONTINUE meant continue to my purchase without joining Amazon Prime.  Not so.  A new screen appeared congratulating me for joining Amazon Prime.  As easily as that.  No ifs, no buts, no opportunities to back-track.  I was a member.  All of a sudden, my life had changed.  At the click of one button I was one of them.  An Amazon Prime member.  I felt defiled.  Conned.  My Amazon innocence had been stripped from me.

Instantly, I looked for a means to reverse the process.  It wasn’t obvious to find.  I Googled my predicament; discovered others who had been through the same experience; eventually found a set of instructions, which allowed me to revoke my membership, albeit after a 30-day cooling-off period and a barrage of appeals to reconsider my decision.

What is that definition of a cult?  Easy to join; not so easy to leave.

Since being pressganged into membership, I have read a lot more about the benefits of Amazon Prime.  It all sounds rather good; given the frequency of my purchases, I am sure that membership would save me money every month.  However, I rail against their aggressive sales’ tactics and, while it might be spiting my nose to save my face, I will continue with the Groucho Marx philosophy of rejecting any club that wants me as a member.

© Fergus Longfellow


Fergus Longfellow remains a steadfast non-joiner.

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