It was love at first sight.
I had needs, needs that couldn’t be satisfied within the boundaries of my little world. Oh, I had searched countless times for my heart’s desires in local establishments. I had always come up wanting.
Then, she came into my life.
Her name was Amazon. We met in 1999, and I instantly knew that she would become my everything.
I wanted stuff. She had stuff. Lots of stuff.
It was a match made in Cyberheaven.
I would ask her for stuff without so much as a glance at what might be available locally. It didn’t take long to get what I wanted — often less than 48 hours after I had asked for it. Our love was deep, fulfilling and eternal.
Six years later, he came along.
His name is Prime. Suddenly, Amazon became more distant, more demanding.
If I wanted to continue our perfect relationship, Amazon told me, I would need to send her money — now. Otherwise, she could no longer promise to give me what I needed, whenever I needed it.
I was wounded, but I didn’t blame Amazon. I was certain that the new creep, Prime, was behind this heartbreaking development.
I steadfastly refused give into Prime’s demands. When Amazon seductively whispered to me about how I could still make points with her, I got one of her credit cards.
Things got better.
I put everything I purchased everywhere on that card, earning one to three points for every dollar I spent. Top rewards were, of course, reserved for stuff bought directly from Amazon.
I was OK with that — for a while.
During the next few years of our relationship, I frequently earned enough points to avoid shipping costs. I even occasionally had a few points left to put toward the items purchased.
Amazon and I had rekindled our love.
Prime, however, took every opportunity to complicate our relationship. He waved perks like free movies, books and music under my nose. He never let an order through without reminding me of how much I would save and how much sooner I would get my stuff if I would only send him $99.
He was right on the second threat. Free shipping orders, which once reached me in a couple of days, were now taking up to a week.
I was feeling increasingly like an extortion victim.
I reluctantly took Prime up on his standing free trial offer when I was desperate to receive an anniversary gift book order in time for the event. The books still came too late, apparently because Amazon was having a spat with a publisher.
No guarantees. Lesson learned.
I canceled the trial before it started costing me money — and more self-respect.
Right around this time, I made two shocking discoveries. When I bothered to look, I sometimes found an Amazon offering at a local store for a lower price. I also learned that some merchants, if challenged by a lesser Amazon price, would match or beat it.
I was getting the same deals without shipping costs and without the waits. Sweet.
I began to seriously question whether I should keep Amazon in my life, but the siren call of points kept me captive.
Then came the ultimate insult. I was not allowed to buy the latest Game of Thrones season Blu-ray set from Amazon.
I could not use points for the purchase. I could not use dollars. This item, I was told, was available to Prime members only.
I was outraged.
I paid off my Amazon card and vowed to never use it again. I began a breakup e-mail message to Amazon, listing our irreconcilable differences and canceling both my card and my 19-year-old account.
Midway through my fiery message, a sudden realization hit me. What about our love children?
What would happen to Echo and little Dot if I severed all ties with Amazon? I shuddered at the thought of waking up one day to find them lifeless and incapable of being anything more than paperweights.
No more weather reports. No more shopping lists. No more fart noises on demand.
Alas, although I may never again see an Amazon good buy, she and I can never say goodbye.