Breaking up with Amazon? It’s harder than you think


Sasha Zvaners, Reporter

“So, how many of you have Prime memberships?” 

Almost every hand in the classroom goes up. Sounds fake? I assure you, it isn’t. 

It makes sense, actually: because as of July 2019, 82% of American households had an Amazon Prime account, and that number has definitely gone up since COVID-19 hit (Digital Commerce). I’ll admit, that one-day shipping is awfully convenient, and it’s saved my skin more than once. But… Do none of us find this concerning? 

It seems that just about everyone uses the site, or at the very least, knows somebody who does. A recent survey of Urbana’s students shows that nine out of ten shop on Amazon, and half of those students are using Amazon at least once every two weeks. The student body has spoken: Amazon is here to stay. 

Not everyone, though, is so infatuated with the site. 

 “Amazon is a modern necessary evil,” says Mr. Friedland, a social studies teacher here at UHS. He calls it a last resort, as he only shops on the site if he’s unable to find products elsewhere.

When I spoke to him, he touched upon Amazon’s ever-growing user base, and he finds it a bit unsettling. In his opinion, “Every dollar you spend on Amazon is a dollar to get Bezos to Mars… You vote with your dollars in this country. In my eyes, if you spend locally, the more it goes back into the community. Local businesses will grow instead of Amazon’s stock.” 

I also spoke to Neesh Patel, 12, a self-proclaimed Amazon aficionado. Yes, she has a Prime membership. And yes, in her own words, she uses it a bit too much. 

“I use it in the moment… A good word for it is impulsive.” 

Many Amazon users, Prime especially, also see themselves purchasing on a whim – a similarity throughout all UHS students interviewed. And, interestingly enough, Patel says that for all her use of the site, she’s not a fan. 

“The main route of capitalism is Amazon Prime… Everyone I know uses it. It’s concerning to me,” she says. “I love it as a consumer, but it’s the worst business to ever exist.” 

Madi Mustafa, 12, also weighed in. “I can’t stand it,” she admits. “Is it convenient? Yes. Ethics wise? Absolutely not.”  

This distaste for Amazon was, actually, a common sentiment among the interviewees, especially those who use the site the most. Nearly all of UHS uses Amazon, and nearly all of UHS can’t stand it. 

So… Why? 

Why do we keep coming back to this site, over and over again, despite how much we hate it? Why can’t we just break up and move on? 

One word: convenience

Convenience, convenience, convenience. 

In today’s world, it’s the name of the game – and nobody plays the game better than Amazon. I mean, couple up a near-perfect business model and our collective thirst for instant gratification, and it’s no wonder we’re addicted. We’re also concerned and frustrated and unsettled, but the satisfaction we get from that little brown box outweighs any and all negatives.

So no, UHS won’t be dumping Amazon any time soon. None of us will be. 

But the next time you see that condescending smirk of that little brown box, it might do you some good to consider what, exactly, the true cost of convenience is. 

I can tell you one thing: it’s not $9.99.