My Amazon Prime Day Experience? Meh

By Features PCmag

There is a rumor going around Silicon Valley that when Jeff Bezos was told about yesterday's Amazon Prime Day, he asked what the heck it was.

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Well, it was a sale of some sort, but it seemed a lot like every other sale Amazon has ever had. In fact, it seemed like many of the already discounted prices they usually have.

The "event" got so much free publicity in the San Francisco Bay area that I made sure to go to the Amazon site to see what the company was offering. Maybe I would actually pick up an item or two.

The homepage was redesigned for the event in such a way that you had to assume this was not a cheap exercise. It was showing some sort of rinky-dink animated parade at the top. The scroll down resulted in an overuse of the word "deals." From top to bottom the word "deals" highlighted bold-faced teasers. It began at the top with "SHOP ALL DEALS," then Spotlight Deals, then Shop all deals again, then top trending deals­. It was a long scroll with "Deals on Amazon Devices," "Deals ending soon" and on and on. "SHOP ALL DEALS" appeared two more times.

I do not know what the direct marketing folks were up to, but this grid of teasers was obviously a test to examine who clicked on what box and where. The audience for this whole thing was a mass of guinea pigs clicking for the benefit of the Amazon researchers.

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My immediate and first click was on one the random "SHOP ALL DEALS" to see if there were any deals in the first place. What caught my eye was the purchase of a $50 gift card. If you bought one you'd get $10 in promotional money. The fine print of this offer took up a page and it turns out the promotional money expires in a few weeks and seem to only be good for certain promotional items. I bailed out of that "deal."

I went back to the homepage and started over. What would I click on next? "Deals ending soon" of course. It has the element of urgency. There were some old games, lame toys, and offers such as a six-pack of Degree Men's Antiperspirant and Deodorant for $11.26 marked down from $16.92. How much does one have to sweat to need a six pack?

There was a crock pot on sale. I do not recall ever NOT seeing a crock pot on sale. Then there were some useless DVDs and even tents on sale, as well as the kind of junk you'd find at a yard sale.

I looked at the bottom of a page full of miscellaneous goods to see that there were 71 more pages of items in this one category, which should have been named "miscellaneous crap." There was some sort of sorting mechanism if you did not want to be shown just anything, but where is the fun in that? Next to each item was a timer telling you the time the deal was over and what percentage of the item was claimed already. Meh. I didn't care.

Now here is where Amazon screwed up.

Instead of plowing through random page after page of stuff I didn't want, I looked at specific products I wanted. In this case a good digital food thermometer, which someone I know needs for a gift. There were dozens to choose from and curiously all were discounted. Only one had the "Prime Day" logo next to it. This obviously meant it was in the big Prime Day sale.

However, that particular thermometer was not the best deal by any means. In other words, the normally discounted goods were a better bargain by any comparison.

So why was I wasting my time on the Prime Day? I was now more convinced than ever that this was just an Amazon exercise in clicking. I suppose if I spent enough time clicking and clicking I'd find something. But what is time worth to you? So I bought nothing. So much for Prime Day.

This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.