Inconveniencing Jeff Bezos

Y’all. I’ve spent a good portion of life thinking I could make a decent dent in not being an inconvenience to other people. Lessening my footprint, if you will. Being I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T do you know what that mean, man. Yeah, yeah, if you’re a human you’re automatically an inconvenience to at least one other person, and yeah, yeah I’ve been to counseling more than once to deal with this and other things over the years, but this has been a theme that repeatedly rears its ugly head in the strangest of ways. I’m weaving this in with some thoughts on Amazon, so I ask for your patience.

Before I get into the trying-not-to-be-a-burden bit, let’s ask ourselves a question: are you truly living your best life if you do not have an Amazon Prime membership? It started innocent: free shipping all year if you pay the membership fee. I was a grad student so I got 50% off the fee the first year. And I ordered my required reading/books/textbooks.

Then they automatically renewed my membership. No longer able to prove I was a student, I was charged the full amount. But it was so worth it, because #freeshipping. Now I’m buying other things. Because there’s free shipping on gifts for out of town relatives and such.

Next thing you know I’m walking the aisles of Target with my Amazon app opened up, comparing prices on fun things like diapers and eye contact solution. Amazon is consistently just a liiiiiiitle cheaper, so I opt for the latter – look at me SAVING MONEY.

Then there are the movies and shows to watch for free. And my umpteen stations I’ve carefully curated (gosh I feel so artsy when I use that phrase) on Amazon Music.

Now I’m purchasing things through Amazon on ibotta (you can too! Click here!) to get some extra cash back (once I hit $20 then they’ll release the money to me, so please sign up so you and I both get referral rewards! Yay! What does this even mean!? What are you doing with my information??)

Most recently, I caved and bought the cheaper option of trash bags. Amazon brand trash bags. Two cents less per bag than Hefty (Hefty Hefty Cinch Sack! Does anyone else have this old commercial playing in their head when you opt for a Hefty brand pantry item?). Haven’t tried them yet…. will review the purchase later this year.

IMG_2943

And this is what Scott Galloway who wrote The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google (thanks, Amazon, for selling this) mentioned when he was interviewed on NPR earlier this year. Amazon, by offering their products at a just sliiiiightly lower cost than competitors, will eliminate the competition and be all that’s left. How droll. How Atlas Shrugged of you.

IMG_2944

(thanks for sharing this epic tweet with me, Tabatha. Had me rolling.)

And I thought about that NPR interview as I clicked “buy” on the slightly less expensive trash bags. And I think about that when given the choice between #supportingsmallbusinesses for a lot of money or #spendingless through Amazon. It’s like Amazon is the beans and rice that Dave Ramsey talks about! Following my logic? Alas, I should have divided this post into a few different ones, but we’re running with it.

Aaaannnnd scene.

Now here’s the part about the inconveniencing of Amazon.

There’s the decision to choose shipping speeds. Pay $5.99 or so for same day? Bought so much stuff you can get free next day shipping? Free two day shipping? Choose no rush and get a $5 credit toward your next Whole Foods purchase?

I chose the no rush option – not because I wanted the Whole Foods credit (because I’m more of an HEB/Central Market shopper), but because I didn’t want to be a bother.

To Amazon.

To the delivery folks who, though gainfully employed, seem to be frantically in a hurry every time they drop something off on our doorstep.

To Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world.

With my $40ish purchase of Amazon trash bags and diaper pail refills and dishwasher detergent.

Let that sink in, would you?

[Cue awkward, self-conscious laughter.]

Let’s spin it this way: I am disciplining myself to not go for the instant gratification of next day deliveries. That’s it! I am exercising delayed gratification and becoming a model citizen in the process. So non-millennial. YES. Reframing is a specialty of mine.

Now back to my Primehouse cleaning and Primemeal cooking…..

 

 

put your phone down, people.

LET IT BE KNOWN that I am by no means a model citizen at what I’m about to get all preachy about, but after what I witnessed today, I’m making a massive change in how and where and when I use my smartphone.

I decided that A and I would have lunch at the Cafe Bistro inside Nordstrom today. It was a lovely treat; food was SO good, and A was immensely well-behaved, cheesing it up to the kind waiter and the neighboring tables and not throwing food. We were in the middle of an intense game of tic-tac-toe (kidding: she was taking the crayons out of the box and putting them back in ad nauseum) when I looked up to see FIVE tables around us with inhabitants on their smartphones.

Five.

It was gross.

Four of these tables consisted of moms with their kids. One lady was by herself so I’ll give her a pass. Acknowledging the irony that I was joining their ranks when I whipped out my phone to snap a photo of the perpetrators, I tried to sneakily capture as many tables as possible. Should have used the panorama function. Will work on stealth mode for doumentation in the future.

people on their phones at cafe bistroA and I shared some fries. Don’t judge.

Maybe I’m blowing this out of proportion. I clearly have no clue what’s happening in their lives. They could have all been corresponding with a dear family member or checking in on a sick friend….(one was perusing photos, so no excuses for her – girl yes I saw your screen)…. but I know what’s happening when I’m usually on my phone.

I mindlessly turn to my phone to fill the time, to numb my emotions, to distract me from annoyances, to feel important and check likes/follows/comments, to escape from the monotony… Sure, there is a great deal of good that these fascinating pieces of technology can foster, like facilitating meaningful, authentic connections with others, but I get sick to my stomach when I think of the hours I waste scrolling through other people’s lives when my life is passing by right on the other side of the screen.

Back to the restaurant. Holy cow, moms. Can you please pay attention to your children for the brief 30-45 minutes it takes to eat lunch? Summer is nearly over and your kids will be back in school. They, as you well know, grow up entirely too fast.

And we aren’t promised tomorrow, you know?

I’m thinking of people who have lost loved ones, who would give their right arm to have a child of their own, who missed their chance to apologize, who ache when they look back at how half-awake they lived their lives…

WHAT ARE WE DOING??!?!

Andy Crouch has a book called the Tech-Wise Family (here’s an article about it and here’s where you can get the book – I’m reading through some detailed book notes – shoot me a note and I can forward the notes to you!) that is gently convicting and contains practical ways to appropriately incorporate technology in our families.

So yeah. Lunch today was an odd and eerie look into other people’s lives and I couldn’t quite stomach it. This is a strange time! We are becoming programmed to be so incredibly dependent on our smartphones and many of us are missing the lives that are right in front of us. After today’s observation, I’m massively curbing my smartphone use, especially in front of A.

Does anyone have any other tips or tricks for being available but not glued to their phone? I need some help in this department. And some mental discipline, big time.

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑