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Dealing with another one of Amazon’s stupid ...

January 26, 2014
By WES BURNS - Copy Editor (wburns@timesrepublican.com) , Times-Republican

I hate it when people try to finish my sentences.

This intense disdain developed early, like all good disdains do, within the Dickensian confines of elementary school.

It became a trick some kids liked to do in what I can only assume was an attempt to appear smarter than their peers.

No, I did not participate in such conversation narcissism; after you watch more than one kid intentionally burn themselves on a malfunctioning radiator you learn to just keep your mouth shut and your head down.

Also - guessing the end of an 9-year-old's sentence isn't that impressive, even if you're another 9-year-old. Chances are it was going to end with "recess," or "Lunchables."

You get older (read: distinguished) people tend to stop doing this. There are really only two instances in adulthood where you attempt to finish someone's sentence for them.

1: To stop someone from frantically waving their arms around while attempting to recall the name of an actor. It's just a shame to watch an otherwise sane person turn into a tornado of limbs and grunts all in an attempt to recall Mark Ruffalo's name.

2: Fox News pundits that always assume the next word out of someone's mouth is going to be Obama and/or Socialist.

But of all the horrors gladly left in the hinterlands of childhood (pep rallies, the morning announcements, sit-and-reach) it seems that "sentence finishing" has escaped the phantom zone and is hurdling straight towards a mailbox near you.

Amazon, tired of keeping its secret army of delivery drones tucked away in smiling boxes within Jeff Bezos' secret lair atop the Space Needle, has concocted a new plan to take over the few remaining criterion of the shopping experience.

You can buy anything on Amazon. From cars to groceries to stuff that people just shouldn't own under any circumstances, Amazon has everything for anyone.

But you have to wait.

Even with express shipping, Prime shipping, next day delivery, and drone delivery you still have to wait a bit longer than if you ... shudder ... went out to the store and purchased the item yourself.

Since this isn't "Star Trek" (evidenced by the fact that I'm wearing glasses and not a Ladykiller brand Geordi La Forge style wrap-around visor) you can't just teleport a new item into a customer's home.

But what if you knew what the customer wanted BEFORE they even got done with their order? Or even before they placed an order?

And so, Amazon will complete all our sentences with their latest creation ... um ... OK, it doesn't have a name yet. In fact, right now it only exists as a patent. But what a patent!

Amazon claims that by using what they call a "variety of factors" they can predict what you'll purchase next, then send it to you before you order it.

Right off the bat: A "variety of factors?" Terrifying.

Included in these "factors" are your previous purchases (fine), your wish list (why would I buy something I'm wishing for?), items other users have also purchased (Ok, that's not cool), items your cursor has hovered over (wait a minute, am I on trial here?) and behavioral predictive algorithms that I'm certain were first used by the NSA.

Amazon has eliminated that last, pesky obstacle on their way to total market domination: Choice.

The sad fact is that, while most people who look down upon the idea of some megacorp telling them what they want to buy, I'm predicting that most people will love the idea of waking up, opening their door to get the daily mail, and being greeted by a whirling drone that comes bearing gifts that are AVAILABLE NOW for LOW LOW PRICES!

Thank you Amazon drone army! I'd love to start my day with a fresh newspaper, my daily mail and a copy of season 3 of "Mad Men" on Blu Ray! Now let me just sign my name on the digital pad that's about seven inches from a high-speed helicopter blade!

So thanks again Amazon, for taking an annoying aspect of childhood and turning it into a billion dollar attempt to get me to pay for PS4 games I never ordered.

Hey, let's see if Amazon's predictive algorithms can finish this sentence: The only thing that will get me to stop shopping at Amazon forever is ...

 
 

 

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