The Internet: Compulsive Buying

I almost bought something I didn’t need this morning. It was on my Amazon Wish List, and they sent me a suggestion email, that I might like to go ahead with the purchase,

Perhaps like many other people, I frequently add things to my wish list on Amazon, just to remind myself that I like those items, and may wish to buy them in the future. Unfortunately, Amazon is a marketing wonder, so constantly reminds me about items I have added, especially if they have sightly reduced in price.

I was almost mesmerised into adding the item to ‘My basket’, when I remembered that I would have to spend £20, to qualify for ‘Free delivery’. That in itself is misleading of course, as I have no doubt that Amazon has already factored any delivery costs into their pricing plan. But to add something extra in order to reach that magical £20 mark is indeed compulsive.

Buying with ‘One Click’ with Amazon online is so easy now. They have my account details, my delivery address details, and my payment details. Just click ‘Buy Now’, and the transaction happens so seamlessly, the confirmation email has already arrived in my inbox. I can actually feel ‘happy’, that the sale has gone though without a hitch. How crazy is that?

The end result, is that by my own admission, I constantly buy stuff that I do not need. DVD films to add to a pile that I might never watch, Kindle books added to a list that I can hardly keep up with already. Then there are the home and kitchen gadgets, that look so effective in the short videos. In reality, I could do most of those tasks with a sharp kitchen knife. But Amazon is very clever. Much cleverer than I am. They make it look not only easy, but essential. Amazon has me enthralled and captivated.

On the plus side, I am aware of this mercantile snake charmer, so unlikely to be seduced.

So why does it keep happening, I wonder?

61 thoughts on “The Internet: Compulsive Buying

  1. Oh my, same problem here. As a matter of fact, I just cleaned out my wish list. Now I read that Amazon is busy buying up “dead malls” so we have that to look forward to… It’s a good thing to check EBAY before every purchase and I do that. You can get better deals on things you can’t find locally.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Lara. I have bought quite a few things from Ebay over the years; mostly cameras, which are cheaper than on Amazon. However, some of the suppliers on Ebay are notoriously unreliable, so I am careful to check their ratings first.
      I have never had a single issue with Amazon, which says a lot about how ruthless they are! 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. For some reason I haven’t gotten into the Amazon online culture, even though it started here in Seattle and I know a lot of people who work there. I still like to run to the store where I can see and touch whatever I want to buy. I do occasionally use it to order a book or something unique I can’t find elsewhere. My husband uses it more than I do for tools and parts and other mysterious mechanical things! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Great observations, Pete. I think the whole convenience thing trumps all. I’m one of those rare people who dislike shopping. Your piece got me reminiscing about how my wife (she likes to shop) and I would go clothes shopping together once a year before the start of school. She has a much better fashion sense that I do. She also knew she had to be time efficient with the task because I get stir crazy after an hour.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I used to be a very patient ‘accompanying shopper’ at one time. But now the hassles of driving into Norwich and trying to park get me wound up before I start. 🙂
      Mind you, I am still a patient shopper, as long as I am on my own…
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pete, there is a reason that Amazon is so successful – they have managed to make “anything you want” as easy as a few taps of your computer – or phone – screen. It’s fast, convenient, usually at a good price, and you don’t have to leave the house. Is it good for local business? No, of course not. Is it the future? No, it’s the NOW

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I hate those emails. I place an item on their “wish list” for my benefit not for Amazon’s. Months ago, I added myself to their “Amazon on the Truck” list where they either text or email you about an item that they believe you may find of interest that is available on the “Amazon Truck” which supposedly is making its way through your neighborhood.

    The problem with is:
    (a) that not one day goes by that I have not received a text or email in the past year;
    (b) 90% of the items referenced in the notifications are of no interest to me;
    (c) 90% of the items referenced in the notifications are costly; and
    (d) the Amazon truck is NEVER in my county and many times over, not in my state (why would I travel for an hour to meet the “truck before it leaves”.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I get an average of four emails a day from Amazon. But I am also on their Vine Voice testing panel, so they are sometimes about the free stuff available. I don’t know about the ‘Truck’ thing, maybe we don’t have that here? I certainly never get a text from them, but I don’t believe I have ever supplied my mobile number.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My husband is always ordering from Amazon. I have an account and a wish list but they know I probably will not buy anything so they do not bother me. He, on the other hand, gets little parcels all the time. Everything from odd and end parts to new light fixtures. Nothing is convenient where we live, but at this stage in my life there is nothing I really must have. I still prefer to take a day and make the drive to shop in town.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I also drive 3 miles into town to use the local shops, Maggie. But I avoid the city 20 miles away, with its traffic and parking issues. So I use Amazon for the items that are hard to find locally. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Oooh Pete! Amazon is quite incredible isn’t it? Even the algorithms are much improved. Only a few years ago if you bought a bicycle saddle, Amazon would suggest a… bicycle saddle. These days they seem to go the next step. Bought a saddle? How about a pump, some lights, or reflectors?
    Only recently I sent a bottle of Vodka to an old pal. How convenient.
    I can’t remember the last time I bought anything in a shop that wasn’t food or household goods. There have been a few occasions where I seem to have bought stuff in my sleep, luckily its only been books from my wish list but I fear I may soon end up with more sinks than kitchens!
    The Amazon firestick is a handy piece of kit though. It’s transformed my tv viewing habita and wouldn’t be without it. Amazon uber alles! K

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I have to be very careful when I have necked a bottle of wine, or I might end up with a delivery that I can’t recall ordering. 🙂
      I don’t have a fire stick, as I already have a NOW TV box. One is enough…
      Cheers, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a good plan, FR. I started a wish list so I could let other people know what to get me for Christmas and birthdays. Then I ended up buying most of the things on it myself! 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Thanks, Pete. Yes, it is so easy. I’m forever adding books to my list, although I have hundreds (or close to) and I keep getting requests for reviews and books on NetGalley as well, so I have no idea when and if I will ever finish. If I check for other stuff I tend to go through Amazon and see their prices, although sometimes I buy elsewhere, but I keep getting reminder of things I’ve added to my list as well. I’m a Prime member at the moment, so it’s even easier… I guess whoever started selling via catalogue had one of the best ideas ever (or the worst, if you’re a consumer) but in small isolated places I guess it can be a life saver…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That was Montgomery Ward & Co in Chicago.

      If you search ‘50 things that made the modern economy’ you’ll find a BBC World Service series of that name. It’s a fascinating series, and one of the recent episodes was the mail order catalogue.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Living so far (well, 20 miles is far to me) from a big shopping centre, Amazon does cope with so many of my shopping needs admirably. But I still try to buy things in the small local town first, and only resort to Amazon for things I know I cannot get 3 miles up the road.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I go to Amazon looking for something specific…I seldom pay any attention to the “prompts”….I agree that Kindle is too easy….I have books in waiting on my account…..and I still buy real books…..Amazon just makes it too damn easy. LOL chuq

    Liked by 3 people

  10. It’s far too easy to buy books on Kindle. I read every one I download, but many of them I’m unlikely to read again and I’d probably be better off saving the money. The other day I bought a book completely by accident, thinking I was putting it on my wish list! I think you can cancel that if you’re quick, but I decided I might as well read it now I had it.
    I wish Amazon would seduce people into buying MY books!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I have bought Kindle books by accident, and managed to cancel them in time. In my case, it is the fact that they are so cheap, (usually 99p, sometimes even free) that makes me keep adding them. Amazon is also very good at suggesting ‘similar’ titles, making me want to read more from the same author. It is amazingly good marketing! 🙂
      Thanks, Annabelle.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. It’s because it’s so easy, Pete. They know that if they remove all the friction, people will spend more. The main beneficiaries are the companies that operate landfill sites.

    Having said that, I ordered something on Amazon yesterday at 1400, and it was at my door before 1630. I wouldn’t have been able to get to a shop to buy it in that time!

    Liked by 5 people

All comments welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.