Say it Ain’t So!

Yesterday morning Henry, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, jumped on my bed, and gave me the usual stare-down. The one he gives me every morning, compelling me to get up, get out of bed, drag a comb across my head, and then make my way down to the kitchen to feed him.

That stare-down.

Only yesterday, it was a different kind of stare-down.

“What, Henry?” I groaned. “Why are you looking at me that way?”

“I’ve got some good news and bad news,” he offered up. “Which one would you like to hear first?”

I opened one eye and wearily said, “Tell me the good news.”

“Your daughter is heading back to college today, and it’s going to be months before you see her again.”

That’s not good news, Henry. You know very well I’m miserable about her departure, and am going to miss her desperately. So, tell me the bad news.”

“Okay, but first I have more good news.”

I adjusted my pillows and sat up, and looked at him with a skeptical eye.

“Okay, Henry, tell me your other good news.”

“We’re in for another hot, dry spell. It’s going to be over 100 degrees again today.”

“Henry, don’t you know anything about what makes for good news?”

“At least we have air conditioning,” he added with a wink.

“Now, that’s good news, but I already knew that. So, what is the bad news, Henry? I’m getting impatient.”

“There’s one more piece of good news!”

“Well?”

Turning red-faced, he said, “I just had an accident downstairs, so I can wait a bit before you take me for a walk.”

“HENRY! I can’t believe you think that’s good news! I’m guessing that the bad news must be really, really incredibly bad. ”

Henry nodded and blurted out,

“Amazon just started charging tax in California today!  Your free ride is OVER!”

“What???” I demanded, with a sense of panic overcoming me.

“Kaput, gone, finito,” he sighed. “It’s hasta la vista, Baby!”

“Henry! This can’t be true!  Say it ain’t so! Amazon’s been fighting the state of California about this tax for years. No way. NO WAY!”

“Way,” Henry replied solemnly.

Which is when I bolted out of bed, turned on my computer and headed to the Amazon website, where I have at least 20 things in my shopping cart, and about double that on my wish list.

As I prepared to make a purchase, to see if Henry was right, I took one look at the total, which included the estimated tax, in bright, bold numbers, and screamed.

“NOOOOOOOO!!!”

Henry, seeing my pain, put a paw on my shoulder and said,

“Look at it this way, Cook. At least now you’ll be contributing to a good cause, helping the state balance its budget.” He flashed his best smile at me.

“Henry, ever hear of the old adage, ‘Kill the messenger’?”

Which is when, Henry jumped off my bed and hightailed it downstairs, retreating as quickly as he had appeared, leaving me to begin my 16 stages of grief.

  1. First, I cried.
  2. Then, I sobbed.
  3. My sobs soon turned into giggles which just as quickly turned into maniacal laughter, while a nervous tic developed in my eye.
  4. I climbed the walls and injured my tailbone when I landed on the floor.
  5. I suffered a nosebleed.
  6. I tore my hair out.
  7. I then scrapbooked my Amazon invoices from past purchases, where the tax line item still said, “zero.”
  8. And, I devoured a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia, not noticing I was eating a flavor I didn’t like.
  9. I reflected on the old days when I could make any purchase and not think about the tax.
  10. I buried my head in my pillow while holding a printed version of my Amazon wish list.
  11. I belted out the lyrics from a song by Bad Finger, “I CAN’T LIVE, IF LIVING IS WITHOUT YOU…”
  12. I then watched a marathon of The Brady Bunch and cried for the Brady kids who lived in a time when shopping online didn’t exist.
  13. I listened to the song, “Free Ride,” by the Edgar Winter Group and cried when it was over.
  14. I watched a documentary about the Amazons and got another nosebleed, when I realized it wasn’t about the online retailer.
  15. I wrote a letter to Jeff Bezos and begged him to give me one more tax-free day.
  16. And finally, acceptance. I tried to accept the new tax charge, but instead fell back to square one, thus starting my stages of grief all over again.

And here, I was hoping California would legalize marijuana and get their much-needed tax revenue that way. But, alas, it wasn’t meant to be. That bill didn’t pass the electoral vote.

Amazon, it was a good ride, but now it’s over, and I have a feeling my life will never be the same again.

How about you? Have you ever had something you’ve secretly enjoyed, taken away?

Addicted to Amazon

I have an addiction and before we go any further, you should know, I don’t plan to give it up.  Yes, I am addicted to Amazon.com. They make it so easy.  They bend over backwards to keep you happily connected to them, while seemingly oblivious to all the money you’re spending, so that you want to shop there.  Again and again.  I imagine the folks who work at Amazon gather in a large meeting room with their mugs of Seattle-brewed coffee and put their feet up on the table (people who work in web jobs tend to be über casual) and come up with a slew of ways to make connections with each customer. Well, whatever they do, it works on me.  They had me at hello.

Here’s why:  Amazon makes me feel like we’re in a relationship, emailing me everyday, noticing what I buy, what I like, complimenting me on the wise shopping decisions they say I make, then making recommendations for me based on past purchases. “As someone who has purchased fiction from Amazon, you might be interested in…”  They never ask if I actually had time to read all the books I’ve ordered.  No guilt, no making me feel bad about the stacks of books piling up, waiting for me to read.  They just want to make sure I buy more.  My inbox is filled with emails they send me.

Amazon is also like having an executive assistant: they remind me about birthdays so I can buy Amazon gifts from the recommended list.  I don’t have to even think about what to get, Amazon takes care of that for me.  This comes in handy, though I do wish they could also remind me about upcoming doctor appointments, when my car’s oil needs to be changed and when I need to make an appointment with my hairdresser because my roots are showing.

Say what you want, but I really enjoy shopping on Amazon, especially since I became a Prime member.  Prime means “first in importance” which is what I must be to them now that I’ve plunked down my $79 a year for this service.  I’m always guaranteed two-day delivery, except on the weekends, or I can get overnight delivery for an extra $3.99.  No sooner do I click to make a purchase that it’s boxed and shipped out in minutes.  No fuss, no muss.  No chance to change my mind! It’s as if they’ve assigned me one person to be at the ready for when I’m shopping on their web site.  Someone who’s never asleep at the wheel, a job I would fail miserably doing.  I click and they’re already processing my order and withdrawing the funds from my bank account. Seconds later, the email arrives that my order is ready to be shipped.

The iPhone, makes it’s even easier to buy on Amazon.  The other night I was watching The Daily Show and Jon Stewart was interviewing an author whose book seemed intriguing.  I picked up my iPhone, went to the Amazon app and found the book.  Then I just clicked “Buy Now.” There’s no need to add it to my shopping cart, no need to sign in.  Amazon knows me.  So I just click “buy now” and voila! The book is on its way!

You can buy just about anything from Amazon.  My friends laugh at me because I buy my cereal on Amazon.  I’m on the Subscribe and Save plan for my cereal and also my vitamins, which means I get 15% off and I set the terms regarding when they should send me my next shipment (about every two months).  And if I need them faster, I can click “Ship Now.”  I could explain why I can’t buy my cereal locally, but that’s another story.

I’ve been an Amazon enthusiast (to call me a “customer” doesn’t capture the depths of this relationship, if you ask me) since November 30, 1998.  That was when I made my first purchase, some holiday VHS tapes, which clearly dates me and my relationship with Amazon.  Since then, Amazon has supplied me with countless books and supported me through my transition to DVD’s.  Amazon also sold me a 40-inch HD TV, followed by a blu-ray player, orange sandals, a filter for my air conditioning unit, several pedometers, a Hoover vacuum cleaner guaranteed to pick up pet hair and so much more.

Let it be known:  if it exists, you can probably buy it on Amazon.  And that’s why I’m sticking with my addiction.