Me: “Hi. My names Infinity and I haven’t purchased any goods or services from Amazon in three days now”.
Group: “Hi, Infinity!”.
Where do I begin here. I guess at the beginning where most things start. I set up my Amazon account back in 2007, with my very first purchase being a copy of the RPG game Diablo II, which was ferried to my parents address in the UK during my summer leave and lovingly bubble-wrapped for the 7000 mile journey back to Kuala Lumpur where I had taken up residence.
Little did I know back then that this was start of something big. Big in terms of a shift towards online retail, but more a shift in the way marketing and consumerism was to take a hold of me as the years proceeded.
Of late, I have been sickened to the core apropos the exponential wealth growth of the likes of Messrs Musk, Gates and especially Bezos, as I was pretty sure that I was contributing to his Cheshire Cat grin as he bathes in dollars (digital or otherwise).
Amazon don’t make it easy for you to obtain your own data, there is a convoluted process and Service Level Agreement of one month, whereas the data they have on you and your retail profile is there for their data, analytics and insights consultants at the touch of a button.
So my “big data” came through today, I could not believe just how big it was. I knew of course that I had been spending more and more money lining Bezos’s pockets as the timeline went from left to right over the years, but 2018 saw a huge spike in the amount spent. Why was that? Was it that I needed more things? Was it that those goods and services were no longer available on the high street? The answer was simply no I’m all fronts.
I had become an addict, a shopaholic, and impulse buyer without knowing it. Just like any addiction, it crept up on me until it was too late. Around that time, it is no coincidence that online marketing and social media profiling really took off, and I would say like most others I have been a victim of those aggressive “you must have this now” campaigns, like those “coincidental adverts” that come up on Google or Facebook for the items or things you were only just discussing with your friends and family.
The graph below is absolutely obscene. I knew I had spent a lot over more recent years, but just how much really knocked me for six:
Here we have a real trend, Christ I even have my very own Covid Gompertz curve!
That really is the power of advertising and consumerism right there. Clearly the machine got to me, or I allowed it to get to me. A grand total of over fifteen thousand pounds has been spent since I first set up that account, the vast majority of it since the Covid Lockdown first started in the UK exactly one year ago this week (23rd March 2020 – during which period I spent £9200). Covid has been a lucky break for the elite billionaires hasn’t it.
Looking back on my purchase history (briefly, as there are too many line items), not a great amount of goods or services have been for essential living, the vast majority have been gizmos and gadgets, most of which have been used, abused, broken and discarded no doubt.
So today, I deleted my Amazon account, the last hook I have in cyberspace (with the exception of this site and my also-anonymous YouTube account), and set up several donations to UK-based charities close to my heart (MIND, RNLI, Barnado’s and Shelter).
If I need things (I mean really need things) in the future, I will acquire them by other means (local means from local businesses), come up with alternative solutions or simply go without.
Lining the pockets of the richest man in the world whilst so many people are suffering should not sit well with any of us, it’s time we recognised this and did something about it…