When Amazon Rules the World [Editorial]

I am the product of the “AmazoNation”. Not only do I live in Seattle, the capital of Amazon, but I was here before they swallowed my city; but I am spoiled by impeccable customer service.

I am seduced by immediate refunds with returns not always required. I am intoxicated by instant chat 24/7 about any minutiae that fucks up my day. I get wet just trying to imagine more stuff to buy and have delivered the same day. I have eliminated every credit card except for Amazon because I don’t like cheating on my one true love. I have achieved my personal goal of purchasing 80 percent of everything I need from Amazon, and almost always through Prime.

So when the glitch in my new Caviar food delivery app prevented me from ordering my Banh Mi, I just naturally expected exceptional customer support. When their tech department failed to respond within 4 minutes of receiving my text, I became annoyed. I wasn’t rude – at first. Just persistent, but after 3 weeks of texts and emails, I was apoplectic; because they “couldn’t fix it” and because you can’t leave a girl stranded when she’s trying to order a Banh Mi.

When my Sling TV app buffered into a black hole mid-X-Files, I expected the invisible tech goblins that exist in the cloud to flip some virtual switch and make Mulder talk again. Instead, some geek kept asking me to do stuff to diagnose the problem. Was I talking to a madman? If I knew how to disconnect and disable, I would not have been on my laptop in the dark at one o’clock in the morning chatting with Sanjeev.

And what’s up with the Gap still charging for shipping? Or Etsy not providing tracking info? Or eBay refusing to pay return postage? Are these companies from the past?

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And finally, there’s Comcast whose ubiquitous presence on America’s worst companies lists almost makes its enraged customers feel somewhat vindicated. If Amazon is the Foie Gras with black truffle shavings of the business world, Comcast is the Spam. I will happily phone any airline, utility and/or insurance company before ever being forced to listen to a Comcast-bot endlessly repeat the condescending phrase “I can certainly understand how frustrating that must be for you, Ms. Kostis”.

People in Seattle, aka Amazon Ground Zero, are angry because Bezos and gang have “devastated” our city with skyrocketing housing prices, an influx of irritating, giant-income earning millennials, a grisly traffic situation and worst of all, more bougie 30-something wanna-be trendsetters than any one city can handle.

Oh, and our high-crime, opioid and homeless crisis? All Amazon’s fault too.

But I say please, Amazon, don’t ever pull up stakes from your birthplace. I love that the company who will deliver my cat food 8 hours after I order it could also be a Saturday afternoon field trip destination with my grandkids (those new spheres have to be seen in person) if it wasn’t for the heinous traffic.

Finally, I shall never forget when my Prime video rental of Braveheart froze mid-death-by-disembowelment scene. It was 2 am and I was close to dozing off, and not sure it was worth contacting Amazon in real time. But I was aggravated that my typically seamless streaming capabilities were suddenly hinky and I wanted it rectified. I didn’t have to call. I didn’t have to email. An Amazon sorcerer was right there, at the ready, via chat.

“Hello, Trisha. This is Rudy. I see you are having some streaming issues?”

“Uh, yeah. You can see me???”

“I can see you are experiencing streaming interruptions. I would be happy to take care of that for you.”

Before the words “thank you” could escape my lips, William Wallace was bellowing “FREEDOM!” from my 55-inch flat screen. My 90-second interlude with Rudy was better than the most unforgettable booty call: surprising, swift and incredibly satisfying.

Unlike some, I was ecstatic when Amazon announced their acquisition of Whole Foods. I breathlessly await the day when they conquer the airlines, Social Security, the cable companies, and healthcare. Sitting here, with my piping hot Banh Mi delivered by Amazon, I can only hope I’m still around to see it happen.

Written by Trisha Kostis – Seattle, Washington

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