Today, I found out who Jeff Bezos is and what he is worth. And whilst his face looked familiar, to me he just looks ordinary.
Maybe I am one of the last people in the modern western world to find out that he is, at this point in time the richest man in the world with a net worth of $110 billion (Bloomberg). This shook me a little. Although, admittedly, I am on an ethical seesaw of how I feel about the size of his wealth.
On the one hand, I want to congratulate the guy, he got in there just in time for the dot com boom, Amazon books took off and look where it is now! On the other hand, there is a piece of me that feels deeply uncomfortable with that sum of money. I can’t even comprehend that amount of wealth, I can’t believe that one person on this planet would be even able to accumulate that amount.
I started shopping on amazon as soon as I had a debit card. In 2005, I was 16 years old. Looking back at that year I ordered, mostly books, CD’s and DVD’s… I have been an Amazon customer for almost 15 years!
In my first year I placed 7 different orders. By 2018 I have placed 80! (There’s a graph to be had in SPSS here!)
|Year||No. Orders Placed|
Figure 2 Number of orders placed each year from 2005 to November 2019
I’ve not even begun and I’m too scared to do the calculation of the total I have spent over the last 15 years. What’s surprised me the most while skimming over these Amazon orders, is how much of it reflects what was happening during that year. Who I was, Who my friends were, the holidays I had taken and the Christmas gifts I had bought. Whilst this is endearing, the pessimist tapping my shoulder reminds me, while, yes parts of 2014 were great but how much of your life does the drone now know about you, what are they doing with that information?
After the paranoia had set in, I did a bit of a exploratory snoop around my Amazon account and privacy settings. To my surprise I needed to opt out of targeted adds and ask Amazon to remove voice searches I had made using my Fire remote. So, do check those settings if this is something that bothers you. You are opted into many of these types of ‘personalised adverts’ automatically, so you may be completely unaware that you are an active participant.
So far today, In order to banish Amazon from my screen feed, I have deleted the Amazon app on my phone and tablet!
I must admit something at this point, I do have a Firestick plugged into my TV with a Prime subscription that is due to run out in April. A couple of months ago, I bought a Kindle out of pure practicality. To be frank, out of all the wonders of shopping on Amazon, I think the only products that actually serve me well are the Kindle and Firestick. I read more and watch more interesting films and documentaries, my breadth of knowledge has grown as a result. So thank you Jeff for making information and viewing alternative media more accessible to me.
I had a panic moment just before sitting down and writing this that was; I’ve got to get hoover bags! Guess what? My first instinct was to check my Amazon app on my phone to see how I could attain them! I’m going to have to have to retrain my online shopping habits. But challenge accepted!
It did occur to me, that while I might pay a bit more shopping on alternative websites, I’ll be saving money because it won’t be so easy to fill the basket with all the extra junk temptations that find their way into my Amazon orders.
Final words; Jeff, I’ve given you enough of my money over the last 15 years. I’m going to take some of my freewill back and share my wealth with some other future billionaires instead.