The Final Word

By Jeff Girod

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Posted January 23, 2014 in News
JeffGirod11Hold that thought.  Amazon may already be thinking it for you.

Amazon has filed for a patent that cuts delivery time by predicting what buyers are going to buy before they even buy it. And if that’s the case, where’s my fully functional Buzz Lightyear jet pack and three cases of Jwwow bronzing cream?

Called “anticipatory shipping,” products from Amazon would be shipped toward customers based on surveys, browsing habits and wish lists, according to techcrunch.com Should Amazon’s customer predictions fail, techcrunch.com suggests Amazon might deliver the packages anyway “as a gift to someone who hasn’t clicked to buy it yet, but who, its data analysis suggests, might quite like it.”

If this seems like something straight out of sci-fi, remember this is the same company that last December announced it was developing a way to deliver packages via drone aircraft. (Just make sure your credit card doesn’t get declined, because the drones will know where you live.)

Now I could pretend to be offended that some nosy retailer wants to weasel into my private life. But, honestly, I crave the attention.

Like most of you, I have family and friends who are supposed to care about me. And they do, most of the time. I get a card on my birthday, or at least a Facebook “whaddup!?”

If I was mangled in some sort of terrible wheat threshing accident—not that I spend an inordinate amount of time around wheat threshers—they might even organize a jogathon in my honor. Something like “Jeffrey’s Wish” or “Farmers Against Columnists Dicking Around on Wheat Threshers (FACDAWT).”

But I want more than just friends, so much more. I want a BFF. I want someone whose equal parts personal assistant and butler. Dare I say it, I want someone whose even a tiny bit of a stalker.

I want someone that’s more into me than even I am, somebody to anticipate my every need. Someone who can tell me if I’m out of mouthwash or running a low grade fever, or that winter’s coming and that I should probably buy a faux-fur-lined jacket.

What a comfort it would be to arrive home after a long day and see a package on the doorstep with everything I need to make my life complete: sleep masks, scented bath beads, the entire season six of How I Met You’re Mother on Blu-ray inside a souvenir steel tin . . .

Amazon isn’t just watching me. It’s watching out for me and helping me to become a better person.

I like the idea of someone trying to anticipate my every desire. Granted, Amazon probably doesn’t give two shits about me, the individual. I’m just another mark. And there’s no living, breathing person out there who cares if my water filter needs replacing or if I’d like to try some Peruvian chocolate.

From our cars to TVs to refrigerators, we like the idea of a “personalized” experience. Just last week, I used Siri on my iPad to ask, “Who’s your Daddy?” She said, “You are, Jeff.” I know she didn’t mean it, but still, it made me feel like a proud father.

I understand my “buying suggestions” are probably just the product of some heartless algorithm fed into a giant database based on age, income and a thousand other criteria. I just turned 40 years old and it seems every online ad I see now is for antacids, testosterone or erectile dysfunction.

Everywhere I look now, it’s erectile dysfunction. It’s enough to give someone erec—, never mind.

Hopefully there will always be someone around to take care of us, or at least to take care of me. But even after all of those people dry up, die out, or sue us, cheer up. Because there will always be people willing to take our money. And we can always, always feel loved—for a price.

So really, what we should be buying from Amazon are books on investing in the stock market, so we can keep this money train going. Or how about some fitness equipment and age-defying moisturizer, so we can marry then trick and divorce a millionaire.

Amazon, I await your smiling brown box on my doorstep . . . But you already knew that. J

Contact Jeff Girod at finalword@ieweekly.com


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