ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Pedestrians pass under the Toys R Us marquee in New York before its grand opening on Nov. 17, 1990. Toys R Us CEO David Brandon told employees on March 14, 2018, that the company's plan is to liquidate all of its U.S. stores. (AP File Photo/Richard Drew File)

Our family generally latches onto the tail end of trends.

We were among the last to ditch dial-up internet, we've lived in the same house for almost 15 years and we have two Toyotas that together have logged more than 300,000 miles.

Nothing trendy there.

That's what makes the following statement culturally significant: We are becoming an Amazon-reliant family. In the clicks vs. bricks retail worlds, we are breaking toward clicks.

some text
Mark Kennedy

I realized this fully last Monday morning when our 11-year-old son said, apropos of nothing, "Amazon Prime is the best!"

Indeed we have apparently become the proud members of an Amazon Prime account, although nobody in our house will admit to signing us up.

Stuff like this happens when your 11-year-old mumbles something late at night about ordering fidget spinners, clicks on a free trial offer, and 36 hours later there's a UPS guy in your driveway with an armful of toys made in China, apparently delivered by an intercontinental missile.

So, since nobody know how to cancel this Amazon membership thing we're going all in. I guess it's time we joined the club.

One day earlier this month, the 11-year-old took the school bus to his aunt's house, cut her lawn and used his earnings to order six Rubik's cubes on her Amazon Prime account. This all happened before Mom and Dad could weigh in on the matter.

I thought about that transaction last week when Toys R Us announced that the shift to online toy purchases had forced the company into bankruptcy. Time was, our boys couldn't wait to go to Toys R Us in Hixson if they had a few dollars burning their pockets. For a few years, I think we singlehandedly kept the Lego mines open with our purchases. I'm pretty sure there is still an unopened 2012 Lego garbage truck set under the 11-year-old's bed.

These days, though, his first instinct is to fire up the MacBook instead of the Toyota to spend his money.

Meanwhile, I decided recently to experiment with a new service called Amazon Pantry, which lets you order a 40-pound box of nonperishable groceries and household goods for a mere $5 delivery fee — above the actual cost of the merchandise, of course.

Thinking I could order some bulky items like paper towels and drinks that are hard to lug around, I spent about 15 minutes ordering through Amazon Pantry. I was halfway done before I realized the catch. Each time you order an item, Amazon gives you your box's remaining capacity. It's human nature to fill your box up to the brim — so as not to get cheated on the $5 delivery fee — and in the process, order more stuff than you need.

Two days later, the box of sundries arrived at our door. A couple of days after that, my wife, who is in charge of recycling at our house, frowned at the discarded Amazon crate in the garage and observed, "This might be a deal breaker."

Yep, I agree.

Before I found the energy to cancel Amazon Prime, our 11-year-old came to me crying and holding the remains of my favorite Pittsburgh Steelers tumbler.

Between sobs, I made out that he had tried to sling ice out of the glass, but it had slipped out of his grip and arced onto the driveway, where it smacked and cracked.

For about a second, I couldn't hide the disappointment on my face, and his sobs began to crescendo into a full-throated wail.

"Buddy, buddy" I consoled. "It's OK. We can buy another one."

We quickly fired up the laptop and found the same tumbler on Amazon Prime for $11. He offered to give me his allowance, and I took him up on it as a life lesson.

Less than 36 hours later, when I left the house for church, there was a smiling delivery man in our driveway with my new Steelers cup.

Sometimes, you can't fight progress.

Contact Mark Kennedy at mkennedy@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6645.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT