We’re starting a new series of short editorials that will appear at the end of the day with a couple of things to think about — we hope you enjoy the Pocketnow Nightcap and invite you to respond through comments, email ([email protected]) and on Twitter with the hashtag #PNightcap.
There is no ethical consumption in capitalism.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, welcome to Amazon Prime Day 2018. It’s when your pricey organic supermarket (which used to be a super-pricey organic supermarket) becomes an average-price organic supermarket. It’s when a lot of deals pop up online, a lot of them mediocre and irrelevant to you, and when the great deals have compromises like the discontinued MacBook Air and the Essential Phone which is made by a company that gave up the ghost on a sequel. Oh, and don’t forget about the occasional site crash and redirect error. That’s always fun.
That said, there’s always a point where price and quality match up with other factors like a lack of retail choice in your area or needing something for a deadline or a replacement. It just so happens to be Amazon Prime Day. You’ll pull the trigger.
And yet there’s the other side of the webpage that needs to be considered. For thousands of Amazon workers in Germany, Poland and Spain, it’s striking season and it’s supposed to last right through the 36-hour Prime Day. Unions representing fulfillment center employees say that Amazon is proposing wage bidding wars for workers to compete for a position and a reduction in off days. Anonymous laborers in the United States have also complained about strict surveillance and extreme time limitations on bathroom breaks and personal healthcare. Amazon’s constant response has been to show that people want its jobs and it has a comprehensive benefits package and high pay for its jobs sector.
A column from Paris Martineau in The Outline balanced press coverage on the protests with a critique on The New York Times (and many, many other sites) publishing “the equivalent of a junk supermarket deals mailer” for a multi-billion dollar company that distresses its human assets.
But the big, big ask for consumers is a boycott. “Say ‘no’ to Amazon Prime Day,” they say. How much of an effect this boycott will have on total Prime Day sales will have to be estimated from the outside because we sure as hell aren’t guaranteed to get a report from the inside.
I’m not here to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. Pocketnow is part of the consumer tech media and that means we want to look out for your spending dollar on the things you might want. Apple has used Chinese laborers that work more than 100 hours a week to build iPhones and MacBooks and has contributed to the gentrification of Silicon Valley making it increasingly expensive to survive in. How many people do you know own an iPhone or Mac? Some things can only be acknowledged and decried, but we all need to post our thoughts to the almighty Facebook, right? I digress.
Upon all the facts I’ve unloaded above, I want to remind you that your Prime membership costs $119 this year. With it, you not only get free two-day shipping, but access to Audible audiobooks, Kindle e-books, Prime Exclusive phones, Prime Video original series, discounts at said pricey Whole Foods Market and there are more features that come at additional cost.
In line with our mission, I want to ask you a few questions:
- Do you buy and save enough on Prime sales?
- Are you using all of these services to your advantage? Or at least to the point where you would consider that price tag to be of good value?
- Perhaps you’re using duplicative services instead of Amazon’s? Spotify or Apple Music for streaming tunes? Netflix for video? Kobo for e-books?
- Are there alternatives such as other online retailers or even brick-and-mortar shops that could offer decent alternatives for you?
Caveat emptor. Take the time to evaluate your habits online and make sure you’re not spending more than you need. It’s a lesson for which we here sometimes need remedial courses.