What would the opposite of a blog-crush be called? Whatever that is, we may have it for Amazon, not least because of their various commercial practices we cannot admire–though we admit to finding Jeff Bezos one of the most fascinating individuals alive today. But also because of our resistance of the standard rush to advance consumerism, and our wariness of innovations that make consumerism more difficult to resist, which this blog post explores in punchy terms:
BY IAN CROUCH
Amazon’s new Dash Button, which will allow shoppers to reorder frequently used domestic products like laundry detergent or paper towels with the click of a real-life button, is not a joke. Many people assumed it was, mostly because the announcement came the day before April Fool’s, but also because the idea seemed to poke fun at Amazon’s omnipresence, making it visibly manifest with little plastic one-click shopping buttons adhered to surfaces all over your home.
There was also something slightly off about the promotional video. It opens with a montage of repeated household tasks—squeezing a tube of moisturizer, running a coffee maker, microwaving a container of Easy Mac, starting a washing machine—that gets interrupted when a woman reaches for a coffee pod, only to discover that there are none left. She leans forward and exhales, resigned. It’s going to be a long day. But then, thanks to Dash, the montage starts up again, with those familiar Amazon boxes arriving continuously in the mail—and in them a supply of coffee, lotion, and macaroni and cheese for as many days as we may live to need them. “Don’t let running out ruin your rhythm,” a voiceover tells us.
As propaganda, the video seems more like a condemnation of consumption than a celebration of it. All that stuff, the same stuff, used and discarded day after day. It’s the kind of montage that a movie director would use to show just how sad and soulless a character’s life was. And the idea of shopping buttons placed just within our reach conjures an uneasy image of our homes as giant Skinner boxes, and of us as rats pressing pleasure levers until we pass out from exhaustion. But according to Amazon, these products represent the actual rhythm of life, any interruption of which might lead not only to inconvenience but to the kind of coffee-deprived despair that we see when the woman realizes that she has run out of K-cups. That’s the real dystopia: not that our daily lives could be reduced to a state of constant shopping but that we might ever have to, even for a moment, stop shopping.
But what do I know? I don’t have kids. I’ve never bought thousands of diapers and yet still constantly needed more. Now there’s a Huggies button, and if it takes a drone army to get them where they need to go, then maybe that’s worth it, too…
Read the whole post here.