Column: Amazon’s Prime Day is not to blame for my granola splurge

A pile of Amazon boxes
Like Christmas in July.
(Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)
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If you came here looking for complaints about Amazon’s “Prime Day,” you’ve come to the wrong place. I know it’s a made-up holiday. Guess what — they all are. Valentine’s Day? Seriously?

I actually appreciate how the company’s all-knowing algorithm anticipates my every want. And I’m grateful for speedily delivered replacement keyboards because I’m a hard typer. Always have been — laptop, phone, ATM, wherever. I could be texting “Happy Birthday” to a loved one, and from a distance it looks as if I’m sparring with my smartphone. Wireless keyboards get the worst of it. I treat the backspace button like a piñata.

Anyway, because of me, our house goes through a lot of keyboards, which once meant a trip to the store. That nightmare is over. We have Amazon and the rest of the e-economy to thank.


Opinion Columnist

LZ Granderson

LZ Granderson writes about culture, politics, sports and navigating life in America.

And it’s not Jeff Bezos’ fault I’m addicted to granola.

That’s what kept showing up when I logged in for Prime Day savings (theoretically deep discounts July 11-12, though your results may vary).

Granola. It was 25% off under the “deals related to your views” category and 15% off under “savings and sales,” which felt counterintuitive. Anyway, thank you very much, yes, I would like to stock up now, and I’m glad I didn’t do it last week at full price. I’m also glad I didn’t pull the trigger on that purple shag rug in the “continue shopping deals in area rugs” bin. Not because it has since been marked down 29%, but because it is a purple shag rug.

Speaking of shag rugs: Sativa and online shopping don’t mix well. It’s not just granola temptations. Last year I might have been under some influence when I bought boxed alkaline water. And I can’t blame Amazon if I buy more now that it’s 30% off under “buy again and save.” That raises a philosophical question though. If I keep forgetting that I bought boxed water and it just ages in the pantry, did I still “save”? Or just “buy again”?

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I’m definitely not saving if I go for that weighted vest Amazon has surfaced for me, even though it’s now 65% off under “sports and outdoors.” I’ve been going into sports apparel stores my entire life, and not once did I want to try on a weighted vest. Online shopping worked its magic though. One day I’m on Amazon looking for extra-strength keyboards, which somehow leads to solar lights for the backyard, and then … weighted vests. It’s arriving Tuesday.

Sometimes it feels like Amazon knows you. There is the truth we live in, and there is a truth we shop in. The items in our wishlist. The items we can’t decide on. The items we need, like a three-pack of deodorant, and those we don’t, like colorful resistance workout bands. I keep telling myself I’m going to take them on the road with me, but they end up collecting dust next to the boxed alkaline water.

That shows the limit of how well Amazon knows you. The company might know what we want for Christmas, but it has no idea whether we’re going to use it, let alone like it. Neither do we. And that’s the fun part. It’s like dating yourself through e-commerce.


What is in your cart is what you think you want or need. What you actually buy reveals more about you. What you ultimately use — that’s where it gets interesting. That’s the truth.

What you see in your interactions with Bezos’ behemoth is telling, like a Rorschach test. The interface is also a little like opening Grindr, the gay hookup app. Amazon Prime Day throws all of our future bad decisions on the same screen as our past good ones, adds a discount, and waits to see whether we can tell the difference.

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When it comes to Amazon, I can’t. Which is why the weighted vest will probably never be worn.

Do I go through more keyboards now that e-commerce has made replacing them so easy? I have no idea. What I do know is that I no longer have to think much about it. I just click and wait. The deliveries are like Christmas in July.

Judge me if you want. But if we’re going to buy stuff we don’t need anyway, we might as well save some money doing it. That’s why happy hour is popular. No one needs fried mozzarella sticks, but when the suggestion arises alongside a discount….

Sales don’t even have to make sense. Retailers have made Presidents Day the best time of year to buy a mattress, for some unknowable reason. And now the second-largest retailer on the planet is offering me, a granola eater, some granola at 30% off. At least I can see the logic in that discount. Score one for the algorithm.