Roach: Addiction to one click is real, dangerous

Roach: Addiction to one click is real, dangerous

It has become a joke in the office. Each day the FedEx or UPS driver arrives and leaves a package or two for me. Not every day. But many.

These deliveries are evidence of addiction.

Several years ago, I joined Amazon and shortly thereafter discovered its most habit-forming function.

One Click.

If you are impatient, require instant gratification and loathe shopping malls, this is what you have been waiting for all your life. With a couple of presets and a credit card number, the inventory of the world awaits you.

Need shoes? Licorice? A fire starter as seen on “Naked and Afraid?” It is but one search and click away. And because it’s billed to your credit card so seamlessly, it’s as if you never spent money at all.

And then, like some sort of 24/7/365 Santa, your stuff arrives.

The fact that you can’t remember what you ordered makes the deliveries all the more
exciting. It might be socks, a big-ass flashlight, golf pants, a new cord for some appliance, walleye tiki lights or a cable organizer. The possibilities are endless.

And lest this looks like wanton spending, the price of most items ordered is less than 30 bucks. Like a thing called Drop Stop that keeps your phone and keys from falling under the car seat—20 bucks. A pack of plastic thingies that unclogs drains—9 bucks. A Shiatsu deep-kneading lower-back massage pillow for the outrageous price of 30 bucks. A sheet of magic polymer that protects iPad glass—8 bucks.

The fact that many of these devices actually solve a problem makes you even giddier.

And the pure obscurity of the products is dazzling. You can find things on Amazon that no self-respecting store would ever stock because the likelihood of someone actually buying it is infinitely remote. Plus, Amazon has an incredible array of replacement parts for dopey consumers who break and misplace things constantly, which would be me.

If you click enough you become an excellent site navigator, translator of user reviews and an obsessive package tracker. “Oh look, my package has been shipped from Korea. Now it’s in Memphis. Look! It’s arrived locally.” |

It’s all quite pathetic.

Another wondrous aspect of One Click? Like the woman who sends herself flowers at the office, the One-Click package arrivals don’t feel like you ordered them. They feel as if someone sent you a gift, even though that someone is yourself.

Pretty pathetic.

My One-Click addiction reached another level recently when I figured out that Amazon would deliver to our shack in the North Woods. No surprise that Amazon has seen a rise in orders of mosquito netting, wood splitting tools and even more walleye tiki lights.

Of course there can be mistakes. I ordered two pairs of John Lennon sunglasses only to receive 24 pairs. It seems I overlooked the fact that each order was actually a dozen sunglasses, so if you need some John Lennon sunglasses, I’m your guy.

Amazon is ruthless in sating my addiction. It nudges you incessantly with recommendations based on what you have already purchased. Currently, it suggests I buy a tow strap, bicycle pants, a harmonica in the key of A and a Bear Grylls Field Sharpener. Whatever that is.

But here is the One-Click benefit I enjoy most: you don’t have to interact with a single human being throughout the entire process. No salespeople. No spatially unaware people standing in the middle of the aisle while you are trying to pass. No swiping your old credit card nine times before it works. No half-hour looking for parking. No lugging packages while you sweat under your jacket. No bumping into someone you’d rather not see. And no explaining why you have 10 strands of walleye tiki lights.

Just a couch. A computer. And yourself.

Then in a day or two, the Amazon Fairy appears at your door and your wish is granted.

Of course there is no guarantee that you will be happy with each purchase.

At least until they create a “Happiness” button.