Amazon’ Weather

deck snow 1119
Our new solar lights aren’t getting much fuel these days, and we’re also not getting much snow for all the fuss.

How on Earth, you are wondering, is he going to get from the weather to Amazon taking over the world? Well, stick with me and I’ll show you.

It was snowing last night as Oz and I went out for his nighttime constitutional, which consisted of sniffing along a trail of footprints, perhaps hoof prints, left not too long before we got outside. And since dire storms have been predicted for pretty much the entire country for pretty much the entire week, I thought I might wake up this morning to some real snow on the ground.

But no: even as the Denver television stations cancelled all their coverage of anything relevant to focus exclusively on the most snow they’ve seen in three whole years, I’m guessing we have somewhere between one and two inches stacked up on the deck.

So I was only half-listening to the breathless coverage (“I’m standing out here in south Denver where the snow is up to my ankles and the wind is blowing”) while checking my e-mail —

[Here I would like to say with some indignation and a great deal of exasperation that dealing with Bob’s cousin is a lot like dealing with Bob himself. Last night he was frantically trying to solicit help for dealing with Bob’s trailer; this morning he is throwing a fit about people going in the trailer.]

— when I realized we had gone past the 7 o’clock hour and I was still listening to Denverites blither about the weather like they’ve never seen snow, and not to Gayle, Anthony and Tony of CBS This Morning as they bring me my “world in 90 seconds.”

I don’t even know that the coverage would be helpful for those in Denver. The weather wasn’t changing enough to warrant morning-long coverage, and I don’t know what higher purpose interviews of Air Force cadets at the airport hoping to get home to Chicago serves when it’s cutting into my 20 minutes of national news. (Which, to be fair, was largely focused on the weather as well.)

So I left CBS and headed up the dial, which of course hasn’t been a dial for decades. But the next station up, which I think is ABC, was also locally carrying on about this Storm of the Not-Even Half-Decade, so I kept going, on to NBC (right?), which sensibly had turned things from the local broadcast over to the crew of the Today Show.

Finally I was being informed, and among the things I was informed of was to be wary of Amazon purchases, and to learn the difference between items sold by and those by third-party sellers through Amazon (.com). As an example, they had two toys that looked identical, but one was so cheaply made that it broke apart in the demonstrator’s hands, leaving jagged edges that would be a bad deal for the kids playing with it.

This was my second “Beware Amazon Third Parties” encounter in two days, so I’m almost sure it’s a sign.

Yesterday I read an article (from Buzzfeed, maybe?) about a woman who buys an endless array of items from Amazon sellers, then takes videos or pictures and provides five-star reviews whether the products deserve it or not (from a “verified purchaser”), then receives a refund from the company. So, lots of free stuff. Plus, she uses her Amazon credit card to make these purchases, getting shopping points from the very system she is gaming.

These third-party sellers do this to boost their sales and their ratings to get their products higher up on the Amazon food chain. And while Amazon tries to claim diligence about removing and blocking cheats and frauds and the NBC correspondent said the company claims it has foiled literal billions of sellers, still the problems keep coming.

I suppose Jeff Bezos knew what he was doing when he called his company Amazon. Even back then he must have had a plan to take over the world, much as the original Amazon, as in rain forest, does — or at least did — occupy some vast percentage of the South American continent, along with providing some massive percentage of the world’s carbon dioxide sequestration and governing weather patterns the world over. (So go ahead and blame Amazon for your problems, Denver — everyone else does.)

I darkly predicted, years ago, that Amazon the company (not the forest) was going to take over all commerce in the United States, and that shoppers like Lynn and Kara would be the first to wonder how it was that we all came to be working for Amazon. I see now I was slightly wrong: Jeff Bezos will not assume responsibility for us as workers; we will be third-party sellers with no benefits, no retirement nor health insurance, but completely reliant on Amazon for survival nonetheless.

But speaking of health insurance, why doesn’t Jeff Bezos do the United States an actual favor and take on the thorny issues of health care and costs? If he can bring all commerce to his doorstep, surely he can handle the negligible problems of our current health care system, which a letter in the Crested Butte News (by a medical doctor) just told me is the world’s most expensive, with the least favorable outcomes among developed nations.

If I’m going to be working for Amazon, or at least as a licensed subsidiary, this seems like the very least Mr. Bezos could do for me and all the rest of us who are going to be at the mercy of Amazon(.com) whether we want to be or not.

Which is just like the weather, whether we want it or not. If you want to drive on I-70 today, too bad; if you’re an Air Force cadet trying to get home for Thanksgiving, good luck; and if you’re here in Gunnison, I guess there’s nothing left for it but to clear the deck railing and go to work.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how we neatly sew up the weather and Amazon all in one tidy little bundle.


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