In what will likely sound the death knell for the few remaining suburban malls that haven’t already been re-appropriated as post-apocalyptic movie sets, Amazon has today released a new version of their online shopping experience that includes pop-ups of old people staring at polished floors; the continuous sound of children lying on the ground screaming; and a chat window that allows security guards with anger management issues to flirt, berate, and stare menacingly at customers, all at the same time.
“Research shows that people buy more shit when they’re forced to traverse the futility of existence for at least 100 meters of echoing retail corridors beforehand,” said a spokesperson for the single greatest collection of crap ever assembled under one corporate letterhead in history.
“With fewer people actually leaving their homes to senselessly wander around real buildings looking for something, anything, with which to assuage the unbearable lightness of being, we here at the church of Amazon believe it is our sacred duty to mainline that existential angst directly to online shoppers. We call the new experience: Consumeranity. In Prime we trust,” the spokesperson declared, before making the sign of the card tap.
A quick test-drive of the new interface makes the brutal utility of this approach all too clear: after five short minutes of perusing the starkly depressing new website, this reporter owned 18 Kindles, 4 baby baths, a box of 800 AA batteries, and a yoga mat shaped like Canada that plays “Sail Away” by Enya every time you unroll it.
At checkout a pop-up window appeared in which the animated image of a wan twenty-something salesperson somehow managed to look over the user’s shoulder, despite being on a flat screen and displaying the energy levels of an eighteen-year-old goldfish.
Employing a technically perfect monotone bereft of all will to live, the VR sales associate asked if the buyer had enjoyed their shopping experience today, or had any idea why we are all here. The clever upselling tactic worked. Within moments this reporter had added a Toyota Yaris, four winter tires, and a fuzzy steering wheel cover to the cart and frantically chosen same-day delivery.
Amazon expects this move to give them the final three retail transactions a week that currently occur without their involvement, all which are completed by a Mrs. Kerplopple, of Brampton, Ontario, who doesn’t trust the internet and says she still likes to see ‘real people’ when she hands over her ‘actual cash.’
“But,” she says looking out the window as a gust of wind blows an early November sleet against the cold glass, “If what you say is true, and this online store will listen to me complain about how my daughter never calls and my son still lives with me because he’s too much like his father, all without telling me it has to serve the next customer? Well, I say log me up.”