I never really wanted Amazon Prime.
At the beginning, I signed up for Prime, Amazon's signature membership program, to gain access to the Washington Post. At the time of 2017, Post's one-year subscription cost $ 99. For the same price, I could sign up for Amazon Prime and get six months free mail – Amazon boss Jeff Bezos owns the newspaper – plus the following months for $ 3.99. If I had to pay $ 99, either way, I could get a Prime account.
In this first year, I read a lot in the Washington Post and used Prime a bit. I lived in New York, a place close to where everything is possible ̵
Many – probably most – have this wealth of shopping just minutes from their home or office. But I did, and Prime felt exaggerated too. Due to the lack of storage space in my apartment, I rarely bought in large quantities, so there was no incentive to make large household orders. Reporting on Amazon also left me feeling uncomfortable about the company's work practices, corporate culture, third-party treatment, the search for a second North American headquarters, and everything that Amazon knew about me. I never got used to the emails that Amazon sent a day or two after viewing, but did not buy a product. "Hello Ali," Amazon would say, as if we were friends. "Are you looking for something in our charger and adapter business? If so, you may be interested in these articles.
The second year I got Prime was a coincidence. Amazon renews your Prime account automatically. This is probably one of the reasons why the service has such high retention rates. There is no way to disable this auto-renewal if you did not resolve your account. However, you can choose to send an email notification a few days before resuming your subscription. This e-mail went through my inbox, in part because it looked like all those other automated e-mails that Amazon had sent me and that I had reflexively deleted.
I used my accidental Prime to watch some Amazon TV shows (Fleabag, Catastrophe, Mozart in the Jungle) and occasionally order them online. I've found that this is not enough to justify the subscription. Around January, when I had a subscription subscription for three months, I tried to cancel my Prime account. Amazon has sounded the alarm.
"Articles linked to your Prime membership are affected when you cancel your membership," explained the Notice page, listing the benefits I would lose. It was not clear if this would happen immediately or if my Prime benefits would persist until the end of my current subscription. Googling also did not clarify this point, so I asked the Amazon press team.
"Prime members who have taken advantage of their benefits can terminate their membership and continue to have access to their Prime benefits until the next renewal period," said Lauren Englund, a spokeswoman for Amazon The date on which your membership ends and your benefits are deactivated is indicated on the last page of the withdrawal process. "
I noticed that this information would have been more useful to me as a consumer on the first page of the termination process, but probably less useful for Amazon, who obviously intended to keep me enrolled, and I asked Englund why Amazon does not have an option to prevent Prime from auto-renewing instead of sending a reminder first. "This option will be on the last page of the cancellation process displayed: "End of [XX date of next renewal period]," wrote Englund.
To Pri To cancel me, you must confirm your intention three times. After the first warning, Amazon asks you to consider switching to monthly payments. (Prime is more expensive at $ 12.99 per month per month than at $ 119 annually.) Finally, on the third and final screen Amazon told me the date my benefits would end. I canceled.
How is life after Prime? Completely ok. It turns out that you can use Amazon without a Prime account. This fact is easy to forget when much of the site feels focused on Prime customers. Sure, shipping takes longer, but there are not so many things that most people urgently and unexpectedly need, so you can not plan ahead and wait a week for them to arrive. I recently moved to London and bought a Brita filter from Amazon – the water is extremely hard here – and a USB charger with no problems. Both came even faster than predicted by Amazon. I know many people with a prime account who like to log in for TV streaming purposes. I still pay for the Washington Post.
I'm not saying that you should cancel your Amazon Prime account. The situation of each one is different. Amazon can be critical to many households, especially those who do not have access to a car or transit, or who do not have time to shop themselves. Bezos said he wanted prime to be "so good value for money that you would not be held responsible unless you're a member." Investment company Cowen's latest estimates for the launch of Prime in the US – 63 million US households, about half of all rural households – suggest that Amazon Bezos's words have come to fruition.
Instead, before the fifth annual Amazon Prime Day holiday, I'd like to suggest that you take a critical look at your Prime account and wonder if you're keeping it out of habit or because you actually want it or need it. It strikes me that Prime is hard to circumvent for three main reasons: it's a really good service that automatically prolongs itself and above all changes our behavior as a consumer.
Prime, like many other digital services – Uber, Postmates, Instacart, just to name a few – encourage us to shop impulsively to expect that we can always push a button and get something more or less on call. Amazon is currently trying to make shipping standard for Prime within a day to double its speed, and it's not hard to imagine the window shrinking to a few hours once the company picks up drones off the ground. This type of shopping is seductive, but it can also feel good to slow down your shopping. If you change your mind, Amazon will not hesitate to take you back.