Petty Inconvenience is Next to Godliness
Today I learned that petty inconvenience is next to godliness.
Amy Koss called upon the strain of puritanism that runs through American culture and penned a screed in the LA Times which describes shopping at Amazon as a deal with the devil.
I ccount 11 deserted shops at the Eagle Rock mall. The ghosts of their signs appear eerily above their chained doors. With a few other lost souls, I wander past blank kiosks, witnesses to the mall’s dark descent. I think I detect a slight sulfur smell.
In the past, the devil offered endless love or glamorous fame to tempt the weak. But in a world of dating sites and apps, love is only a swipe away and YouTube fame requires no more than a goofy pet. So what would Satan offer Americans today to win our souls?
How about easy consumption?
It’s not ambition he needs to appeal to, but our acquisitiveness and sloth. He can show us a picture of a thing — a book, a bauble, a sweater, a vacuum cleaner — and ask three questions:
“Do you want it?” Even if we don’t click yes, we can scroll past to the next item, and the next, all offered with equal enthusiasm and zero judgement, unlike the cranky, now unemployed sales clerk who used to work at the mall.
“Do you want it cheap? Less than anywhere else? (And no need to actually touch the filthy lucre or do math. I’ll handle that.)”
“Do you want it now? (I’ll leave it right at your door, so you don’t have to acknowledge another soul during the entirety of this transaction.)”
To which we the people have answered, “Yes! Oh, yes!”
And the devil, manifest as Amazon.com, smiles.
So it has come comes to pass that mom & pops and department stores, boutiques and shops, grocery stores and post offices are vanishing in a trail of scorched hoof prints.
Now the retail giants are stumbling to their knees.
Koss does not go on to say why other retailers are godly while Amazon is the devil, and she also missed the opportunity to rail against Amazon for building temples in the lands of conquered foes (Amazon has 13 bookstores either open or under development).
And then there are the noble UPS drivers nobly suffering under the lash of the devilish Amazon, or Amazon’s delivery drones (there’s a temptations of Christ reference in there, I think).
I am getting carried away here with this joke, but what can I say, I like a good farce.
image by MikeBlogs
Allen F June 7, 2017 um 11:11 am
It’s all on the wheel, it all come around (but that wheel sometimes turns on fresh/new ground – crushing plants that had grown there before.)
Malls were made to bring everything you might need/want under one roof. Most has three or more 'anchor' stores at the ends/corners with little shops between them. But as those anchor stores declined so did most malls (one near me was opened in 1976 and is now where 'RackSpace' holds their cloud services.)
Just as the opening of B&N spelled the loss of several other bookstore chains, Amazon is just another of the mail-order companies, and as B&N in their heyday Amazon’s just doing it better than those that came before them.
Rebecca Allen June 7, 2017 um 2:26 pm
When I was working at Amazon, I found a book about the early years of Sears (I bought it used but no longer have it, more’s the pity). So this was solidly 20 years ago now. Anyway. The author had found these fabulous quotes about how awful Sears and other mail order companies which delivered via that new tangled railway, direct to customers, rather than through the dry goods merchants in town. Wish I still had that book.