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Sunday, March 18, 2012

You Are What You Order

Amazon has the goods on me.

I find it eerie that Amazon knows me (Hello, Mary!) before I even log on to the website. And uncanny that it knows which credit card I prefer to use before I use it. I might even be comforted knowing that Amazon won't let me ship to my new address (my credit card bill goes to a different address) except for all the hurdles it makes me clear to change all that. Who is in charge here? I am not sure I want technology looking out for me so fastidiously.

Well, maybe "looking out for me" is too tame a term. Maybe I mean "snooping through my inbox” or “reading my mind.” I am beginning to think Amazon may know more about me than J. Edgar Hoover knew about John F. Kennedy. What clued me in was the solicitous phrase that pops up as soon as I log in:

"Recommended for you..."

Now, for a long time I have considered myself a fairly savvy business woman. I have hired and (almost) fired. I've traveled to 27 states in the US of A and have been to six foreign countries. I have dressed for success. My resume, if I do say so myself, impresses even me.

Amazon, however, thinks otherwise.

Which I discovered during a recent online excursion to purchase a book, when I decided to peruse the recommendations the wonderful wizard of Amazon had for me.

No "Swim with the Sharks." No "What Color is Your Parachute?" No "Art of the Deal." No Rich Dad seminars. No Suze Orman. None of the hippest music. None of the edgiest movies.


A brief sampling of the movies Amazon thinks I will enjoy:

"Please Don't Eat the Daisies"
"Footloose" (both versions)
"Yours, Mine and Ours" (the original, with Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda)
"Murphy's Romance"
"The Love Bug"
And every Elvis movie ever made.

The merchandise Amazon proffered actually had me laughing: snowflake headband, Rudolph Holiday Reindeer Antlers, flashing reindeer nose, an elf costume for me and a Santa holiday costume for my car.

The book I eventually ordered, by the way, was a book on writing - and there were a few other apropos selections in that vein amid Amazon's recommendations for me. But as I skimmed through 35 products all specially selected for me, I realized, again, why I have finally changed my course in life.

Why did I think I would ever be happy swimming with the sharks? Heck, if Amazon is reading me right, I have the heart of Flipper!


  1. LOL, Mary,
    Amazon may have it at least partially right. To me, you definitely are more flipper than shark.
    Having a kind and whimsical heart does not exclude being smart. Aren't dolpins among the more intelligent creatures of the sea?

  2. Mary MortonMarch 19, 2012

    Hilarious, Mary! Point well made, in every regard... Of course, as we know, the mind reading being pioneered by Amazon is only the tip of the iceberg for what lays ahead. We will learn a lot about ourselves, courtesy of these bots I am sure!

  3. Mary: What's even worse than Amazon are the ads that Facebook posts on your pages. Why is it that I always get the "reduce your belly fat"or "wash away wrinkles" ads? These assumptions about demographics must work I guess, though I never click through them myself.

    Based on reading your blog posts, I think Amazon has read you pretty well.

  4. Mary, another great entry.

    What Amazon recommends for me today: baby stuff (accurate), golf supplies (ick--no, never, ordered for my father-in-law, not me!), In Fifty Years We'll All Be Chicks, by Adam Corolla (hell no, not even for a second would I consider reading this book.)

    I will never trust what Amazon recommends again.