Goodbye Amazon Prime

(To the tune of the popular Elton John song.)

I've often joked that if my employers could pay me in Amazon vouchers, it would save me a lot of hassle. I'm one of those insufferable people who prefers a delivery driver dropping off a single light bulb rather than having to pop to the shops like some sort of savage.

But now the dream is over. Amazon have bundled their sub-standard video offering, a moribund music subscription, and an underwhelming photo backup service in with their excellent free delivery service. In doing so, they've jacked the price from fifty to eighty quid.

Last year I was able to convince them to give me Prime delivery at the old price. But this year? No dice.

No more prime

And so now I get this passive-aggressive message whenever I visit Amazon.

prime no renew-fs8

Here's the thing - I don't listen to much music, I don't live in an area with same day delivery, I already have a photo backup service, and I don't use a Kindle for my reading. Even if I wanted to watch more TV (I don't) Amazon refuse to build an app for my fairly recent smart TV. The same TV I bought on Amazon...

This really shouldn't come as a surprise to me. Amazon works on a socialist model - as described by the CEO Jeff Bezos:

Levy: Speaking of pricing, I wanted to ask about your decision to include streaming video as part of Amazon Prime. Why not charge separately for that? It’s a completely different service, isn’t it?

Bezos: There are two ways to build a successful company. One is to work very, very hard to convince customers to pay high margins. The other is to work very, very hard to be able to afford to offer customers low margins. They both work. We’re firmly in the second camp. It’s difficult—you have to eliminate defects and be very efficient. But it’s also a point of view. We’d rather have a very large customer base and low margins than a smaller customer base and higher margins.

Jeff Bezos Owns the Web in More Ways Than You Think - Wired Magazine, 2011

The more people taking part, the cheaper the cost for everyone. As a political philosophy I'm all for it, but I'm not keen on it being foisted on me as part of a capitalist transaction.

I personally benefit from a well educated, healthy public even if I don't use the services myself - I'm not sure I'll see any benefit from people being able to watch re-runs of Downton Abbey!

Eighty quid for "free" delivery is just too much. I dare say I'll still shop there, but not with as much regularity.

Jeff, if you're reading, please just offer your delivery service as a separate subscription.

I know that Amazon won't mourn the loss of one customer. But I mourn the fact that the subscription economy is slowly killing the services I enjoy.

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5 thoughts on “Goodbye Amazon Prime”

  1. says:

    I'm not a politics expert, but I'm pretty sure that what you're describing is not socialism: the Amazon customer community owns nothing of Amazon, regulates nothing for Amazon. Amazon is just bundling services in such a way that they can get people who are keen on one of those to pay for the others that they're not keen on. So someone who really wants the TV option will take Prime, and someone who really wants the delivery option will take Prime, both at a higher price than they would for those services alone, and so Amazon gets more money out of them than they could if they offered the TV and the delivery separately. That's describable by many terms, but it's not socialism.

    1. Terence Eden says:

      I'm using "Socialism" in the laziest sense of the word. Much like that wingnut American politician who was begging his supporters to "pool their resources to defeat socialism."

      Amazon's theory is that if all their members subscribe, everyone gets a better deal. I suppose it's closer to the ideal of the Co-operative than state run services.

      1. Suw says:

        Trouble is, there are already too many people who use the word 'socialism' wrongly, because they have no clue what socialism really is.

        Amazon's *excuse* is that if all members subscribe everyone will get a better deal (still not socialism, and definitely not a co-operative because it's not co-owned and no customers get a share in the profits), but their theory is the same as every gym on the planet: the more members who subscribe who don't use the service, the more money we make. People who get more than £80 worth of value out of Prime are going to be few and far between, and fewer and farther between the more services are bundled into it.

        So, in shore, still not socialism, not even in the laziest formulation of the word.

          1. Suw says:

            Does that mean you're going to change the wording of the post? Maybe to the more accurate " Amazon works on an exploitative model..."? 😉


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