Select Page

Jeff Bezos has always been a person that I’ve been admiring

In today’s article, we’re covering another huge corporation taking advantage of the consumer, and it’s kinda funny to be doing this article about Amazon as Jeff Bezos has always been a person that I’ve been admiring.

What does it really mean to take advantage of the consumer?

History tells an interesting story, and the story applies to almost all larger corporations in the world, not specifically the United States of America.

A company is formed, usually by a founder or a group of founders. These people had a great idea and wanted to service the consumer with a better product or service or with a cheaper product or service, and naturally, they wanted to make money doing it. And we can all respect a person with a great idea and really no one will judge that person for wanting to make money.

As time goes by, more and more customers buy their stuff or sign up for their service. The founders are working overtime and they are doing all the things they should. They listen to the customers, they improve their product or service, they provide Stella customer service and they are going out of their way to make sure every aspect is a success and that their customers love what they do.

At some point they reach a size or a certain amount of “followers”, we might call them addicts. What I’m referring to is the point where some or all customers consider the product or service as a part of their life, meaning they “can’t” live without it anymore.

In reality, they can, but if they think they have no other option or it’s too difficult to switch to something else, they may just give in and not care about their addiction to that specific product or service.

This is where the founders stop caring and where they realize that they can drain their customers even more. They can raise the price, and take benefits away, and that way their customers will start giving them a bigger portion of their monthly salary.

This is also where customer service becomes a thing of no consequence. Instead of having qualified Americans standing by to help customers on phones, e-mail, and Live Chat they simply find the cheapest outsourcing option available. This means lesser expenses and in the best scenarios better response times, which is something they can use to impress customers, partners, stockholders, and their conscience.

When they started they cared about their customers and they found prime in having awesome customer service ratings, prime in sticking with what they promised their customers, pride in their product or service, pride in growth, but no more. At this point everything is about a dollar, every dollar they can flip, they will flip. Cheaper workers, out-of-country workers no biggie, poor customer service, lesser accessibility, brand value, it all is defined by what they could do at the lowest rate, to make more money.

Is that really necessary?

Well, there are tons of aspects, but I guess there are 3 concepts that stand out and I think are the main reasons why these corporations is okay with prostituting themselves.

The first one is the stockholders, they want their investment to make money and often they demand more and more from the corporation. Naturally, a corporation needs to make money to feed the stockholders.

The other thing is the CEO, and even though I do admire and even envy some of these guys I find it ridiculous that Tim Cook makes $770 million a year, Sundar Pichai makes $280 million a year, Leonard Schleifer (Regeneron Pharmaceuticals aka the COVID-19 WINNER) makes $450 million a year, and Satya Nadella makes $310 million a year while people are literally suffering around the world. Who is paying for these salaries do you think? Yes, correct you do.

The last concept is profits. Looking at the same corporations, Apple, Inc. made $99 billion in 2022, Google $73 billion in 2023, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals $12 billion in 2022 and Microsoft $158 billion in 2023. Is this really necessary, no it’s not.

The worst thing is, it feels like these huge giants have already given up and decided the world can not be saved anymore, so they better make some money and keep them for a rainy day.

I know, I know, some of them actually donate a bunch of money, for example, let’s take a look at Microsoft, “Last year, Microsoft employees gave over $142 million in donations to over 19,000 organizations around the world. We funded computer science education and digital literacy programs in 58 countries reaching over 15 million youth. We donated over $465 million in Microsoft Cloud donations to over 71,000 nonprofits” Say what? All of these donations are either from worker pay slips or it’s virtual services, which may not cost Microsoft one dime.

And think about how this looks – On paper, according to Giving USA, Microsoft poured $622 million into charities in 2022. Ask me, I’d rather see them put their profits into charity or into areas around the world that suffer from poverty and starvation, but they are not doing that.

Then you may mention the fact that Bill Gates is the philanthropist behind Microsoft, but come on. The man is worth $124 billion, and since 1994 to this day he only spent about $50 billion. Do the math, he donated $1.6 billion on average per year and still holds $124 billion in worth.

Look, I don’t wanna bash Bill Gates, he actually does do a lot of good, even though I think he could do more. But the point here, think about what impact it would have on the world if these profits and salaries was given to the consumer in the way of making products and services better, keeping up good customer service, and making the consumer feel like they are appreciated. Cause that is what any consumer wants, they just don’t have the energy or the power to change any of this now or in a decade.

Let’s get back on track

I have been a member of Amazon Prime for several years, thinking I was given benefits like faster shipping, access to Prime Video and other small stuff. It’s $14.95 a month and I am not the only one in the family subscribing to Amazon Prime.

They get me every time I reach out on the Live Chat, “I see you are a Prime member, so let me see what I can do for you”.

Some time ago The Hammer with Reba McEntire was pushed to Prime Video and I’ve been wanting to watch that movie for some time, though I have to say I don’t spend much time on Amazon Prime. Today I found the movie, but to my surprise, it was $2.99 to rent, even though this was a Prime Video and not one of those 3rd. Party movies from another service.

At that point, I thought perhaps there was something wrong with my Prime membership, so I checked on the Amazon FireTV Stick, but my membership was active. In the same section I read I could go “ad-free” and apparently this is something new Prime introduced, not only to non-prime members but also to Prime members. To get “ad-free” I had to pay $2.99 in addition to my Prime membership, what?

What am I actually getting for my money?

Clearly, the benefits had been limited over time for paying Prime members, but why and how?

I thought this had to be a joke, so I reached out to Amazon using their Live Chat. The first person did not understand what I wrote, even though “I thought Amazon Prime membership was ad-free, do I have to pay” seems like a simple question. I was transferred 4 times, and at that time is was asking for an American Supervisor. Turned out supervisors weren’t available on the Live Chat, so I was advised to take a call with a supervisor.

The supervisor called, and he was not American, well, maybe he was. He explained to me that Prime membership does not give me ad-free Prime Video and that some movies would be free and some would be paid. While talking to him I read through their terms or should I call them benefits for Prime members, and at no point did I read “Some videos are not for free”, but still the supervisor kept confirming that I had to pay to get ad-free movies and that I would have to pay for movies.

The end of it was canceling my Amazon Prime membership, as I really don’t feel like there are any benefits paying for it. I admit, that some may have some benefits due to the fact that they watch other stuff than me, but come on. This is not how Amazon Prime came to, it’s not why I signed up for Amazon Prime and to be honest, this is not how it’s supposed to be.

Amazon, like any other huge organization in the United States, has entered the age of draining its customers, by any means necessary.

The argument from Jeff Bezos would be along the lines of “We have to charge more to be able to provide the best service and customer experience”, but that is not true. Since COVID it’s been a steady path downhill for Amazon, with benefits removed, higher prices, and poor customer service.

And the reason why this can happen and why they can get away with is simple. Amazon Prime has more than 220 million PRIME members paying no less than $3.2 billion a month to Amazon. That’s a lot of money for nothing.

Meanwhile, Amazon has a growth increase of 19.94% between 2022 and 2023 in profits! Yes, you heard me right, not revenue, but profit. This means they are making more and more money from stuff that should be free and providing worse and worse customer service where it is most needed.

It makes me think. Perhaps I should stop buying from Amazon, just drag my ass to Home Depot and get what I need with better warranty and better service. Yes, Home Depot makes big money, but they are not fooling you with a membership that holds no value.

Do we really need Amazon?

I guess a bunch of people would argue that Amazon does provide easy shopping and accessible entertainment, and that part is true. But that does not mean we need it. I am not okay with supporting this behavior, and I am not okay with spending my money building a corporation that doesn’t do anything other than grow itself. Think about it for a second, they add no value, they give you nothing you can love, nothing that solves a problem, nothing that makes your life that much easier.

I buy Apple, and I pay the price to get something that makes my life better – Meaning I love working on my Mac and I do prefer it compared to Windows, Android, etc., so I support Apple and I get something that is mine, something that adds value, something that makes me happy. Amazon does none of this – EVERYTHING they “sell” is virtual, products from other manufacturers, streaming services, nothing.

I must admit I am a fan of Apple and I have always been. That enthusiasm I got years ago has never faded away, and there is a reason for that. I get the best products, they last for many years (In my case), I don’t have to pay for any subscription unless I want to, and I still get superior customer service, phone, live chat, or in-person. Do I think they make too much money, that they should spend more money on the world in general, yes I do. But compared to Amazon I am actually getting something that I love.

Amazon Prime MembershipJeff Bezos Amazon Amazon Prime Video Prime Video from Amazon