Embracing the Amazon Advantage

May 17, 2023

I remember when I first started using Amazon, I didn't appreciate all the benefits. A lot of times I would forego a cheaper price for the immediate gratification of going to the store and getting the product I wanted at that moment. But now as I have grown older and more patient and more mindful of my time, the fact that I can go on and purchase a product within 5 minutes and then the next day or two spend another minute or two getting it from the mail is actually a huge benefit.

Most stores are going to be somewhere between 5 and 20 minutes from my house. Round trip it's going to be 10 to 40 minutes of travel time, and also another 5 minutes of checkout time and another five minutes of locating the product.  Most of the time this is going to eat about an hour out of my day. This is cut down to about 10 minutes at most with Amazon, sometimes far less. Now imagine you need to go to the hardware store, and an art store. Now your looking about an hour and a half to two hours of travel time, the time to get these items still falls in about 5 to 10 minutes with an Amazon.

If one can abstain the need for immediate gratification, which I believe is made up for by the joy of coming home and getting a new package, you're really saving a considerable amount of your time in life.

Another great thing is it's more efficient and therefore better for the environment. An Amazon driver drives about 6 miles delivering about 50 to 90 items. Now imagine if each of those customers had to drive an average of 1 mile to the store and back, that's going to be 100 to 180 miles driven, versus just six miles that the Amazon took. It's a way more efficient use of fuel. Considering how many items Amazon delivers a day think about how much gas this is saving.

Another huge advantage is shopping on Amazon lets you buy the best version of a product that exists in the world instead of the best version of a product that exists in a store. The other day I was in a auto parts store and at the counter they had some flashlights. They were about 15 bucks a piece, I picked one up and turned it on, it was not nearly as bright or high quality as the pair of flashlights I bought an Amazon a few weeks earlier for about the same price. Sometimes the reverse can be true as well, sometimes you don't need the best version of something and don't want to spend a lot of money on it, Amazon will let you buy a basic version that gets the job done for a fraction of the cost as what you can find available in stores.

Also now you can find out with reviews what's good or not. I bet a lot of people have had the experience of going in and buying some product, maybe a power tool, maybe a set of headphones, and later talk to some to someone and find out that was one of the worst versions of that item. With Amazon you get to see the ratings right there, read the review see what other people's concerns are. I'm almost always happy with my Amazon purchases and never feel like I need to return them.

One thing I've done is search for an item that I don't even know exists but that I hope does. I remember one time I was thinking what a great idea it would be to be able to attach a cleaning device like a sponge or a brush to a drill with a standard drill bit. I decided to do a search on Amazon and low and behold somebody already came up with the idea and made it available for me to purchase right there. I bought it and it worked just as I had hoped.

On the business side, there's many small businesses where they sell such a niche product that they wouldn't be able to get on very well in a small town or even a big city sometimes. But now they can produce something that may be only one out of a thousand people are interested in purchasing but because of the reach of Amazon in the internet they can have a healthy business.

Sometimes I hear people complain about Amazon being a big corporation and how they are pushing mom and pop businesses out of the scene, but the reason they're doing that is because they provide a better service.  People talk about how great the future will be or all the cool stuff that will happen but sometimes we have to just stop and look around and realize this is the future for our past selves. If I would have told myself as a kid, running from comic book store to comic book store trying to find missing issues of the Phoenix saga, that I could one day just go online and buy the whole thing with the click of a button off eBay or Amazon, and save hours of hours of driving to random comic book shops around town on the chance that they might have one of the issues I was missing, on top of that for a fraction of the cost, I would have been elated.

I can see an argument that we're missing something now, the thrill of the hunt, or the adventure of going around town a different places trying to find what you need, but all this really does is just free up our time to find new adventures.


Back to Home