I Love You, I Hate You — Ode to Amazon Prime

Laying in bed, my wife asleep at my side, my Kindle Fire Tablet giving off an eerie glow, casting off flickers of light on my face as I innocently flip through articles on my RSS reader. Then it happens. I stumble upon an article about Amazon deals of the day. The small, random grid of images on the minute screen pull me in: vacuums, laptops, travel bags, drones, headphones, coolers, shaving razors…must…resist…must…oh, forget it, I’m in!

I think that some nights my wife is afraid to go to sleep, leaving me vulnerable to my shopping whims. The buyers regret is comfortably offset by the instant gratification of Amazon Prime Shipping. Prime is a drug. I tick the little square box and <poof>, everything I could ever want can be at my door in two days. Two days! With free shipping. Free shipping!

I wouldn’t say I’m an addict, I can quit whenever I want. And not to cast blame, but once and a while my wife will say, “We need to buy ‘X’, could you order one?” Confidently I respond, “Sure, no problem sweetheart.” Cool cucumber on the outside; giddy little kid giggles ringing inside my head.

Just when I think I’ve tamed the Prime beast coursing through my veins, it’s fed by the endless possibilities of items available to me. And not to mention that if I type the word “Smile” before Amazon.com, part of my purchase price goes to a charity of my choice, at no cost to me (smile.amazon.com). Yet another reason to buy something online. I’m donating toward others that are in need. Is it fair to deny them their little donation? No, no it’s not.

Only occasionally do I suffer from buyer’s remorse. There was the time that a deal on a little drone came up…

Skimming my RSS feed one night, a thumbnail image of a drone appeared. Curious as to what it actually looked like, I tapped the square with my index finger and a bigger image popped up, causing my left eyebrow to raise in curiosity. Hmmm…I tapped the link, taking me to Amazon’s website and a description. Oh, the possibilities!

The only real issue was that the battery only lasted 15 minutes, or so the reviewers commented (actually less in reality). No problem. Amazon was there for my emotional, and battery, needs. How? They provided a link to “Frequently Bought Together” items just under the drone picture and description. Anticipating my needs, they showed that smart customers frequently purchased these extra battery packs. Genius! Amazon was taking care of me (tearing up).

With the arrival in two-days, that gave me a short window to explain to my wife why we ‘needed’ a drone and all the amazing things that it could do to make our relationship stronger. I mentioned how much I love her, noting that she was always so supportive of me and the decisions that I make, on behalf of our family and our relationship. Truthfully, she mainly shook her head and gave me an incredulous look, much the same that she would give our kids when they were younger. But it was okay, I told myself. When it arrives, she will see how cool it is and fall in love with the drone and instantly wonder how we had such a good life without it for so many years.

The package arrived and ripped into it like an 8-year old at Christmas. The instructions for putting it together were on a tiny sheet, written in both English and Chinese, just in case I ended up in China and wanted to share my drone with the locals there.

I plugged in the extra battery packs in anticipation of an afternoon of dipping and dodging items in my backyard. I pictured myself sitting in a lawn chair on the patio, the Top Gun theme playing in the background, my thumbs gingerly controlling the remote control device, making the drone dance, land, and take off again throughout my yard.

After impatiently waiting for the battery pack to charge, I plugged in the first pack and headed into the backyard, the extra packs gather in my fist. My first solo flight about the ensue, I decided to stand first instead of sitting in the lawn chair, to pay proper homage to the drone and its maiden flight.

Setting the drone on the patio and flipping the power switch, I backed up and took position, feet shoulder-width apart, the remote firmly in my grip, but not too tight as my thumbs poised for liftoff. A smile crossed my face. Okay, it was more like a cocky little grin; I’ve arrived.

I pushed the toggle switch up with my left thumb and the plastic blades whirred to life. There were red and green lights lining the drone, a quasi E.T. sort of mystique. The craft lifted off the concrete…higher…higher…higher…at least three feet in the air! My right thumb itched to tilt the little wonder toward the yard and the endless possibilities of flight and happiness! As I pressed my thumb in the direction of the yard, the drone dipped sharply and violently plunged into the grassy lawn below.

Operator error. This may take a few minutes more to master than I imagined, or so I thought. After three to five minutes, I had to change the battery pack. I tried again. Same result. No matter what I did, the drone seemed to be destined to attempt to cut my lawn with its blades, instead of slicing through the air in acrobatic glee.

I spent what seemed like an eternity trying to convince the drone that I was its master and that it was meant to do marvelous things for this world. But alas, the 20 minutes we spent together bred frustration and embarrassment. The frustration that the batteries and my skills aligned so evenly (short-lived). And embarrassment that my purchase and happiness would be silently judged by my spouse.

The drone, and it’s accompanying “Frequently Bought Together” batteries, were placed back into the open shipping box. The box was placed on a shelf, out of sight. Out of the eyesight of those that could so easily shake their head at my well-thought-out and possibly world-changing purchase commitment.

On a brighter note, I ended up giving the drone to my son-in-law. He is a great drone and remote control car pilot/driver. He made the drone dance in front of our home on a number of occasions, not realizing that as I sat upstairs I would once and a while see the drone teasing me through the upstairs window.

I have learned from my purchase though. Some items will not bring the joy that they up-sell. Some items are not necessary, but simply trinkets that are shiny and useless to me in the long-run. My wife is usually right and I should probably run all my purchases through her, after all, that would be the adult thing to do.

But…for now, I will just let her drift off to sleep, my Amazon Fire Tablet in hand, offering me every conceivable life-altering dream that I could desire, at a discount, and with two-day shipping. Sigh…

Originally published at Man Ramblings.

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