Victor Tangermann
Future Society

It’s Amazon Prime Day. Don’t Buy Anything.

Or: should I compromise my morals for an inexpensive mattress?

Sarah MarquartJuly 16th 2018

Happy Prime Day – that once-a-year, 36-hour, global spending extravaganza exclusively for Prime members. Last year, Amazon said Prime Day was its “biggest day ever” – bigger than Black Friday, bigger than Cyber Monday.

Yes, there’s a lot of hoopla to celebrate these epic deals (Krill oil pills for only $22.36? Kidz Bop 37 for $8.15? What a steal!). Even Ariana Grande is promoting the bonanza with a concert.

And, yes, basically every digital publication is trying to hook you into a too-tempting-to-resist deal, probably so they can scrape a little profit (gotta get that sweet, sweet affiliate money).

And yet: You shouldn’t give in. Here’s to encourage and empowering you, the user: Resist. For a few good reasons:

  1. Amazon’s workers are on strike… On Monday, Amazon employees worldwide didn’t show up to work. In Spain and Germany, for example, the strike is slated to last until Wednesday. Their primary complaint: horrible working conditions. “The message is clear — while the online giant gets rich, it is saving money on the health of its workers,” Stefanie Nutzenberger, a spokesperson for the German union Verdi, said in a statement on the organization’s website. And it seems to be working — “Amazon En Lucha,” a workers’ group in Spain, tweeted a photo of the empty warehouse parking lot.
  2. …Because Amazon treats them terribly. Remember when Amazon patented tracking wristbands that spy on warehouse workers? What about the claims of exhaustion, dehydration, and injuries, as reported by Minnesota Public Radio? In addition to sub-par working conditions, they’re not getting paid enough to survive (the median salary was $28,446 in 2017), which leaves many workers turning to food stamps to get by, according to The Daily Beast. Jeff Bezos just became the richest person in modern day history, with a net worth of $150 billion. Do the timed bathroom breaks and less-than-minimum-wage pay still feel worth that epic deal?
  3. Your dollars matter. The Spanish group Amazon En Lucha is also calling for a customer boycott. It may not have a huge effect on Amazon’s bottom line, but we’re in an age in which “voting with your wallet” is a frequent form of activism. Plus, as one former Amazon employee told Vox, every little bit of activism helps.
  4. Prime Day isn’t even that good of a deal. And that’s not just us—it’s by Amazon’s own admission. Amazon said customers could see for themselves whether they were getting a bargain, according to the BBC. “One of the great things about shopping online is that customers can quickly and easily compare prices,” Amazon told the BBC. And customers did. The BBC article outlines price hikes alongside the deals that suck us all in.

Luckily for you would-be consumers out there, at the time of writing, Prime Day shoppers have swarmed so intensely that the Amazon website crashed. “There is no doubt that this will erode sales and deter some customers from buying,” Neil Saunders, managing director of research firm GlobalData Retail told The Washington Post (which, we should note, is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos). “The outage is especially problematic as many of Amazon’s Prime deals are promoted for a set window of time – something that could cause a great deal of frustration for potential customers.”

Something else that makes it easier not to buy from Amazon today? LOTS of other companies, including at Walmart and Best Buy, are having sales of their own.

But in case you’re able to get through, of course it’s tempting to ignore all these reasons and just go whole-hog on a deliciously dangling deal. To that end, just make sure to use our affiliate code, and go to town. We’ll make money. Bezos will make more. Enjoy that new mattress.

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