Does Jeff Bezos Need $25?

I’m fairly indifferent to technology. I carried a Nokia flip phone for so long after the advent of smart phones, my girlfriends forbade me to take it out of my purse on ladies nights. While they were posting real-time pictures of our adventures, tagging friends accordingly on proper social media outlets, and pinning our locations, I was sending the babysitter binary texts letting her know what time I’d be home. I haven’t had cable or wifi in approximately 12 years (that’s a partial lie – Covid forced me to install wifi so I could work from home and my teenagers could attend virtual classrooms), and I rarely so much as watch a DVD. I love to hold a book in my hands when I read, so I swore off Kindle-type-apparatuses the moment they debuted. Then I had a mental lapse on August 8, 2020.

Scrolling Amazon on my smartphone (yes, ladies, I finally upgraded) from the comfort of my bed, I clicked “add to cart”. I hadn’t been drinking, and I’ve been so busy all summer I’ve barely even been reading. Why my midnight brain thought I suddenly needed (or could afford) a Kindle is beyond me. What’s more mind boggling is that this wasn’t just an “add-to-cart-never-to-be-purchased” retail therapy transaction – I actually proceeded to checkout, which I regretted as soon as I logged out.

On August 11, I could handle the guilt of my selfish, senseless $118.79 purchase no longer. Buyer’s remorse was consuming my every waking thought. I fired up the smartphone, logged in to Amazon, and clicked “CANCEL ORDER”. Imagine my horror when an auto-generated message appeared on the screen informing me that my item was already too far into the delivery process to cancel. “That’s impossible,” I mumbled to myself. “It’s not scheduled to arrive until 8/16. There’s no way it’s even left the warehouse.” I LOATHE speaking to people on the phone, but now I felt as if I were being played and this was an emergency…so I clicked the online chat button. Roberto, the customer service rep on the other end of the keyboard, assured me the item hadn’t yet shipped and that he’d take care of everything (my hero). Then he added, “But on the off chance that it does arrive, just tell the driver you cancelled it and ask to return to sender.” What? I thought you were taking care of things, Roberto. I thought we had a deal. He then asked to wrap things up with a reason I wanted to cancel the purchase. A reason? A reason?! Nobody wanted to hold me accountable when I clicked “ADD TO CART”. That should be a thing, because if we actually had to come up with justifications for senseless purchases, well, you know. I stammered. I felt as though I were testifying in a court of law on a stack of a hundred bibles. “I just found out I have unexpected auto repairs, and I really should use the money there.” Oh, you terrible little liar! Where did that even come from?! It didn’t matter, Roberto seemed pacified.

We weren’t raised religious, yet Mom always told us not to lie (cheat, steal, talk badly of others, mimic handicapped people, leave food on our plates, or try to half-ass a chore), or God would punish us, and we believed her. Four days after my conversation with Roberto, my car battery died in the mall parking lot, where I had spent the anticipated return money from said Kindle fiasco. Simultaneously, UPS was dropping an Amazon box on my porch, which I was not home to reject and return to sender. I’m sure Mom was laughing from the cheap seats; I, however, do not appreciate the irony.

On August 16, I decided to own my shit. I was keeping the Kindle, which I didn’t need and now could really not afford because I paid a guy $20 to jump start my car in the mall parking lot AND had to buy a $160 car battery (which, for the record, is basically more money than my whole entire car is worth). I logged on to Amazon to re-read the product description and get tips for my new piece of technology, only to find the price had dropped $25 since eight days ago when I bought this piece of crap in a sleepy bedtime stupor. God just couldn’t let this one go. I immediately summoned the previously useless Amazon customer service chat people, who upheld their reputation. They denied my request for a $25 price adjustment on the purchase I made, tried to cancel, failed to return to sender, and decided to keep. I was furious. They were sickeningly sweet in their denial, too. “Is there anything further I can do to assist you today?” Ashfa asked, I’m sure from her couch somewhere in Uzbekistan. Further assist me? You haven’t assisted me at all. How can one further do something she hasn’t even commenced to doing? “It seems counterproductive and an utter waste of time and resources for me to return this product for a full refund, only to repurchase it at the reduced price,” I pointed out, with zero intention of actually repurchasing an item I didn’t need or now even want. Ashfa was unfazed and cared not to hear the logic of giving me a $25 refund vs. losing a $118.79 sale. I printed the return label. Somehow I’m sure Jeff Bezos will still sleep well tonight. Probably in his spaceship.

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