retail news in context, analysis with attitude

In the interest of fairness, especially to assuage those who think that I'm way too enthusiastic about e-commerce in general and Amazon specifically, I want to recommend an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times that I found to be provocative.

It is by novelist Amy Koss, who, essentially, posits that Amazon is the devil.

An excerpt:

"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."

You can read the entire piece here.
KC's View:
In reading Koss's op-ed piece, I was reminded about a scene from Broadcast News, in which reporter Aaron Altman (played by the incomparable Albert Brooks) is describing to producer Jane Craig (Holly Hunter) why he thinks q reporter with whom she is involved, Tom Grunnick (William Hurt), is the devil.

"I know you care about him. I've never seen you like this about anyone, so please don't get me wrong when I tell you that Tom, while being a very nice guy, is the Devil." The devil, he says, won't be a guy with a long, red, pointy tail:

"He will be attractive! He'll be nice and helpful. He'll get a job where he influences a great God-fearing nation. He'll never do an evil thing! He'll never deliberately hurt a living thing... he will just bit by little bit lower our standards where they are important. Just a tiny little bit. Just coax along flash over substance. Just a tiny little bit. And he'll talk about all of us really being salesmen. And he'll get all the great women."

Just remembering that scene makes me smile.

I must say that I fundamentally disagree with Koss's assessment, though I completely understand where she is coming from.

I've never believed that the Amazon appeal is to sloth. Rather, I'd like to think that it gives us a chance to have time for things that are more important. I don't think that shopping for food or clothes or books has any sort of inherently greater value than, say, playing with your kids or going for a jog or watching a movie or reading a book or cooking a meal.

But that's just me. (Well, and a few other folks, I suspect.) We all make our own value judgements.

On the other hand, maybe I'm just like Joe Boyd.