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WHY I DON'T LIKE AMAZON.COM
I have had the good fortune to work in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. You can hardly throw a rock there without hitting a bookstore (or someone with exotic piercing, but that's a different story); the closest one is about two blocks from my office. One day I mentioned to a co-worker that I was planning to go there on my lunch break, to see if they had any new computer books I wanted.
The co-worker looked at me as if I had grown a second head and asked why I didn't use Amazon.com, they were so much cheaper. If I wanted to see the book before I ordered it, he pointed out, I could always go to the bookstore, check the book, write down the ISBN and then order it from Amazon.com.
This is true; I could do this. However, if I do it enough, and enough other people do it enough, there will be no more bookstore two blocks from my office. There will be no more bookstores at all. And call me old-fashioned and reactionary, but I like bookstores, and I don't like buying things online. This has nothing to do with any fear of having my credit card number stolen, and everything to do with my firm belief that, in the grip of our enthusiasm for all things silicon, humanity keeps drifting closer to a world where no one sees or touches anything but a computer. It does a person good to leave the office, to walk a little ways, to enter a place with a different purpose, full of other people going about their own errands. It's good to overhear other conversations, to touch real objects, to hand over real money to real people who smile at you and tell you to have a nice day.
So that's why I don't use Amazon.com.
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Except where otherwise noted, all material on this site is © 1999 Rebecca J. Stevenson