Prime Day: Reflections

It’s really my own fault. When a company like Amazon says it’s going to have “more deals than Black Friday,” it’s hard not to at least be interested in the hype train. Ever since I heard about the event I’ve been casually eyeballing it. I made sure to quickly trade in last term’s school books so I would have the credit on my account in time for Prime Day, but unfortunately my trade in is still pending. This is my own fault for putting it off so long, but that gives you a little context of how this sales “event” started for me.

To prepare for the Prime Day I compiled a couple quickly assembled and updated “wish lists.” Perhaps the thing I was most eager to check was my $600+ worth of books for next school term. If I could save 20% on even one of the books I was looking at saving $20 or more. Remembering a time when Amazon was exclusively an online bookstore, I kind of held hope that they would revert back to their old school roots and offer up some book deals. I should have known better, because here’s big problem #1 for the sale:

Prime Problem #1: It’s actually TOO big
Yeah, I know they openly claim it’s “bigger than Black Friday,” but why is this a negative? Basically Amazon fell into the trap of trying to please everyone. While there are some really cool deals with widespread appeal, those naturally get bought out earlier. The result is the few things that are popular sell out within minutes, and all that’s left has basically been compared to “garage sale” product. Oddly specific items, bundles of DVDs that are actually more expensive than if you bought them individually, and other strange little anomalies. There’s just too much stuff that most people don’t care enough, and not enough of the stuff people would logically want to purchase. Which leads to our next big problem…

Prime Problem #2: Navigation is basically impossible
This might be the most common complaint I’ve seen so far. Let’s be 100% honest here, for being the biggest game in town their site navigation can be kind of shit. Anyone that has tried to track their trade-ins, obscure “gift card balances” from promotions, or basically anything outside a general transaction knows what a mess it can be. For some unknown reason, Amazon thought this design which barely works for normal daily use would be acceptable for Prime Day. The end result is something like this:

prime day sucks1

In case you can’t read it, that’s 145 pages of upcoming deals that only display on average about 6-9 items per pages. This is compounded by the issue that you can only filter the displayed content by the most basic and generic categories. Looking for a deal on a bicycle? Good luck wading through the pages of “Sports & Outdoors” category, which includes everything from Zippo lighter kits to poker chips. When you factor in how much time you spend looking for deals, I’m sure that the discounts probably aren’t worth it.

Like I previously mentioned, I attempted to plan ahead for this and made a couple wishlists for various items I need and/or want, but even that isn’t that helpful as it doesn’t seem to notify you if and when an item goes on sale. One thing that can be said about Valve’s digital sales platform Steam is that it is build to sell you shit. It seems a weekly occurrence that I will receive “An item on your wishlist is on sale!” Is it so hard for Amazon to do the same? Hell, they might even offer this, but the website is so unmanageable at times I wouldn’t even know where to find such a setting.

Though in the end, I think if anyone is to blame for this, it’s us. We the consumers are just too easy to trick into buying into nonsensical commercial hype.

So in short, hope you guys were able to get some deals and weren’t suckered in by all the hype. But just encase you did buy into it all, don’t forget: