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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Amazing Amazon

Ceramika Bona H0676H Polish Pottery Ceramic Colander Hand Painted, 9-Inch
We have a small ceramic colander in our kitchen. My mother, peace be upon her, made it in 1985. She was a big believer in arts and crafts and dabbled in it her whole life, but she was also practical, and much of what she made had a practical use. We use the colander frequently. Even I, the uncook, use it to rinse berries to put on my Cheerios (will I ever get to eat Cheerios again? Check back next year). I don't recall ever seeing one this small in a store, but then again colanders are not generally stocked in auto parts stores. Anyway, I thought I'd check with  Amazon and sure enough they have a boatload of colander and they even have a selection of small, ceramic ones, including some really fancy ones from Poland in the $200 range (photo above).

The colander is pretty enough to rate a post all by itself, but I have been using Amazon so much lately I am wondering if they are taking over the world, and if they are, is this a good thing? Should I welcome my new retail overlords, or run screaming to the nearest mall?

I'm not always using Amazon to buy things. Sometimes (like just now), I use it to see what's going on in the world. Daring daughter has signed up for a class in biology and one of the first things on the agenda is microscope basics, which makes me wonder how much microscopes cost these days. 50 years ago they were a fortune, probably as much as a small car. Now Amazon has 40,000 of the things ranging in price from a buck to 50 large. And yes, digital has made big inroads, but optical is still a force in the market.

I don't buy much these days, after all I've got a house full of stuff, stuff that I have been accumulating for 30 plus years, and I don't have a whole lot of room. But mostly I don't need much, coupled with funds being a little tight and large expenses looming on the horizon. Still, I'm buying stuff, and I'm buying it from Amazon because I don't want to have to contend with the traffic or the endless hiking through soul deadening warehouses full of crap I don't want or need.

The occasional journey to Home Depot or Lowes can be an uplifting experience (look at all this cool stuff), but by the second or third trip in a week to pick up a five cent part it kind of wears.

I don't go to WalMart if I can help it. Their prices might be lower, but the whole experience is unpleasant. They may be doing great things for the underclass, but they are exploiting that same underclass to deliver these benefits. They aren't any worse in that respect than any number of other companies. That's the way capitalism in America works. Amazon might pay a little better, but they are replacing their warehouse personnel with robots as fast as they can.

Update April 2016 replaced link.

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