In case you live under a rock and haven’t already heard, today is Amazon’s first (and possibly annual) “Prime Day” where they, like all great retailers, celebrate by selling things. Supposedly it’s going to be bigger and better and more awesome than Black Friday. Of course a bunch of other retailers (like Walmart and Newegg) had to come out of the woodwork to fight Amazon. Mostly everyone just wants an excuse to try and move a lot of merchandise mid-year, in addition to end-of-year holidays. I’m not against this concept, but so far Amazon has disappointed me.
First and foremost, dealing with “sales” like Prime Day on Amazon means you have to fight through their less than optimal user interface for “Lightning deals”. If you’ve never seen it before, it looks like the image to the left. You get to see a few items at a time and have to keep paging. Everyone knows that paging in a UI sucks, which is why people invented the “infinite scroll” (which is annoying in its own right, but that’s a different story). Amazon does this specifically to make sure you can’t easily find what you want, they want you to be forced to flip through pages upon pages upon pages of useless junk. That is unless, of course, you’re excited by the idea of getting a “Onite Acer ChromeBook C720 C720P AC Power Adapter Charger” for $11.07 instead of $13.99. The savings!
This awesome thing will be on sale soon, bet you can’t you tell when.
Most everything of value, as you can see from that page image, is sold out. The only way to find anything good is to keep checking the “Upcoming” sections with the same shit paging interface. If you’re lucky, you might find something cool that interests you, so you open that in a new tab. Of course, that item isn’t on sale yet so it just looks like a normal item. There isn’t a countdown or any sort of indication that the item will soon be on lightning sale. If you opened several items at the same time and kept paging? Well better hope you can page back and find the item listed on the lightning page, otherwise you’re just going to have to guess.
It’s available? Surprise! No it’s not!
For the few “good” items you find, there will be dozens if not hundreds of junk/filler items that Amazon lists. Everything that is “good” is also snatched up almost immediately (which explains why “Fifty Shades of Grey” has been left untouched for hours). If you’re fast, you might be able to add it to your cart. Might you say? Well you’ve also got a good chance of seeing that deal which is 42% claimed, then jump to 100% claimed when you click “Add to cart”. I’ve had this happen to me on 3 different items (so far) today. I could refresh the page and it would still say there was unclaimed space available… until I tried to actually buy it. It is almost as if Amazon is running a bait-and-switch scheme.
So while I may normally love Amazon, I’m not a huge fan. After looking around, it seems I’m not the only one. Gizmodo ran “The Shittiest Deals of Amazon Prime Day” and even NBC noted “Amazon Prime Day a ‘Garage Sale’? Some Shoppers Disappointed". It feels like Amazon tried to pull the trick the retailers use at the Holidays. Convince shoppers to run in the door at 0-dark-thirty in the morning to grab the few AWESOME deals, and then leave everyone else to snap up the junk they’d normally never buy because they’re lost in the “deal haze”. No thanks Amazon, no thanks.