What happened to Amazon?

I used to buy quite a bit of stuff, mostly books, on Amazon. Mainly for the convenience, but also because they had the cheapest prices and free shipping. In the past year, however, as their stock price has gone through the roof and they’ve solidified their position as king of online retailers during the pandemic shutdown, I think I’ve only ordered a couple of things. And at this point I can’t see myself ever shopping there again.

Two reasons for this stand out. In the first place, their prices for almost everything have gone up, to the point where they are no longer even close to the best deal available. I’ve had conversations with friends who shop in other departments that back this up. They have similar complaints about how there are “no longer any deals on Amazon.”

I don’t know if this is because the pandemic has placed their operations under extra strain or if they are only using that as an excuse. Or perhaps it’s just the natural next step in their dominance of the marketplace. Since they really aren’t in competition with anyone, why not jack prices up? Even this year’s Boxing Day sale prices were double, or in some cases triple, what they were for the same product just five years ago.

The second big thing I’ve noticed is the huge number of sponsored products, or ads, that come back with every search. There are now as many of these as there are regular search results, and none of them have any bearing on what I’m looking for. Shopping on Amazon has become like searching for something on Google: not just a crapshoot, but a very unpleasant experience.

I doubt this matters much to Amazon. Nor am I sure if it even has any bearing on their game plan is now, their next step on the way to establishing a global media and retail monopoly. But they’ve lost me as a customer. Not for any political reasons (of which there are a few that are serious) but because they suck. There are better places to shop.

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