Surfing Down the Retail Abyss of Amazon

Photo by Heather Ford on Unsplash

I’m not sure if I’ve hit a new high or reached a new low in life.

Today, I received an online order in the mail that has me thinking about my relationship with Amazon. It’s making me see myself in a new, not positive light, but I’m struggling to acknowledge the full truth. I’m now buying clothes on Amazon.

It started in a legit fashion. Skiing for the first time and needing warm socks. Amazon saves me from having to run all over town, wasting time and probably money. Plus, I can easily sort for non-wool socks. I fight with wool. It hurts, itchy and uncomfortable. It’s nearly impossible to avoid that lamb stuff in a cute sweater. But that’s not so much the fault of Amazon and really just life.

Next is workout socks. I don’t have enough. My laundry philosophy is as infrequently as possible, which requires staples in volume. I tempt Target. “Danger, Will Robinson.” From soap to soft pajamas, I can cover myself head-to-toe, improving every aspect of life in a single visit. Wipes to clean the interior of my car, which will go unused, and sparkly hair clips to distract attention from the new growth of gray I’m trying to hide.

The socks? No good. They slip below my shoe. I buy some at the grocery store. I know things are bad when I’m getting retail therapy at Kroger. Embarrassing, even for me. I meet old people socks. Compression ones that basically give your feet a hug. They feel utterly amazing and I’m hooked. I’m not just wearing them to the gym. I want to wear them daily. I suck it up and buy more, this time from Amazon. No fuss. Done. Sock drawer overflowing.

Low on sports bras, I go straight for Amazon, which offers things I love. Easy returns and near instant gratification. Plus, Amazon Smile makes a donation to my pet cause, the Oak Lawn Library Friends. That’s the good stuff.

Now we get to things that drive me crazy about Amazon. I check on all this “good” going on for charity contributions. Amazon tells me I’ve placed 170 orders — but doesn’t tell me over what period of time. If that is just 2017, that means I place an order on Amazon every third day. And that is just horrifying. There is no way that’s good for my bank account, the environment, or my quest for less stuff and more Zen.

Worse, my shopping has only generated $27.65. That won’t even buy two new books, even with Amazon prices. I better be Prime for life. Soon. That’s a thing, right? Currently I pay an annual fee for the privilege of spending money and having “free” Amazon delivery. I  need to remind my parents I pay for that. At first, they thought I was magical, how quickly I make packages appear. Then they caught on, and their requests — which entail me tracking down the item they want, placing the order for them, and sending it to their home — grew, ranging from a printer cartridge to a wooden toilet seat. “It’s $30 cheaper than Home Depot,” I’m told.

Really? You’ve got time to figure that out, but won’t learn how to place an order online. I’m then supposed to keep track of how much money they owe me, so they can turn around and write me a check, which I then have to remember to deposit in the bank. “You still haven’t cashed my check for $35 from two months ago.”

Enough. Buy a sports bra. Which I need. Amazon #fail  The ones I bought didn’t contain my tiny boobs and now sit in the donation pile. Meanwhile, today’s package arrives. Jeans. Not just one pair, but two.

I blame Macy’s, where I found Levi’s I like but not in my size. Buying jeans is an exercise in insanity. Once you start, you can’t give up unsuccessfully. You have to stick with it. Persevere. I find them on Amazon of all places, in both blue and black. I figured what the hell and buy since they’re the right length, which is uncommon for me to find. I’m short. Clearly shorter than the average jean buyer.

The Levi’s arrive and I try them on, as a good online shopper should. They fit. Nicely, in fact. That’s what my mother would say, if she wasn’t busy comparing me to her thinner self.

But here’s the rub. I’m not sure the jeans are legit. They don’t actually have the red Levi’s tag on the back pocket. Plus, the embroidery line across the pocket looks like a drunk squiggle.

It takes me a few days to realize why I don’t like the jeans. I feel like I’m wearing mom jeans. But I’m not a mom. And I’m convinced these are some sort of irregular version mimicking the original. Another Amazon #fail.

So I do what any normal person would do. No, I don’t break up with Amazon? I still need  jeans.

"Surfing down the Amazon" originally appeared in the Katy Trail Weekly.
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