Bye Amazon…For Now

I’ve long been a fan of Amazon, ever since the college I attended for a while wanted ~$75 for a wildly outdated software design book, that I got for less than a dollar from Amazon (paid a few bucks for shipping). I’ve been a customer for almost 20 years, and a Prime member for somewhere around 10.

In mid-2019, Amazon flew me out to interview as a Lead Security Engineer, and while I can’t discuss that due to NDA, I can say that I was impressed enough with what I saw to walk over to their street-level store and pick up my first Echo Dot.

In my New York hotel room, I connected it to the wifi and spent the night jamming out to whatever songs I could think of, it was fun. I flew home and I knew my wife would be a bit apprehensive since it’s another gadget. She is a music lover as well and quickly became a fan. I bought a few additional Echos (like 7 more) including the Echo Plus, which had a pretty useless home integration hub and an Echo Sub which performed terribly (sound was fine, but it often disconnected or the sound would only come out of that or the paired device).

Especially during the shutdowns that plagued some of the US in the early 2020’s, I ordered a lot from there and the 2-day (or less) shipping and video service was a great value. Christmas came from there, personal projects, interior remodelling stuff like faucets, outlets, etc.

Some things just compounded recently:

  • The cost for Prime keeps creeping up, however it is likely under the actual inflation numbers the past three years
  • Amazon Music isn’t as good of a value. For people with several devices for streaming of music, you have to have a family plan. So if I’m taking a shower and blasting “Splish, splash, I’m taking a bath” while my wife listens to Beatles, and my kid are playing songs they like, we all have to figure out who is going to be the person to use it. The family plan gets really expensive really quickly.
  • The value of Prime Video is still significantly better than Netflix, with the shows they produce (Clarkson’s Farm, Grand Tour, and the first season of Reacher) being decent. But it is on a decline and, similar to Netflix, is more “in-house” offerings and less shows people actually want to watch.
  • FireTV Ads: A while ago, they added a bumper ad to the beginning of their shows, which was annoying. They also changed their screensavers to ads and take up a significant amount of the screen real estate with ads.

Did you know: Cable television used to lack commercials due to being a paid service, and then networks gradually added them while suckers kept paying for cable television?

-Actual History
  • The final straw starts today: Amazon announced that they are adding advertisements to their shows starting today. I despise advertising, I set up PiHole on my network to DNS sink requests, uBlock Origin on all machines, and have YouTube Premium to avoid them. They waste time, they do not sway my product decisions, they do not inform me of products I need, they don’t represent my values, and I certainly don’t need medication with side effects that trump any illness they made me think I have.

I cancelled Amazon Prime yesterday, I was given an $81.25 refund for the remainder of my Prime agreement. I won’t have most of the services, so I’ve:

  • Unplugged my Echos and threw them in a box. I’ve found a suitable replacement that I’ll share soon here.
  • Am currently researching alternatives to the FireStick. The Roku is out similarly for their advertising policy (and fucking annoying DNS query rates)
  • Am making purchases direct from where I need them (bought something online from Home Depot today, free shipping albeit four day)
  • If I need something from Amazon, they ship for free >$35 — and this reduces the convenience of shopping there, thus making me waste less time and money on buying crap from China and subsequently having to return it

If they were to reverse that decision, I’d go back for the shopping benefits, but I doubt my dollar vote will mean that much.

Stay tuned to see what you can do to work around Amazon (but, I’ll probably still send you to Amazon to buy some of the things). In the interim, what have you done to reduce ads in your life?






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