The Amazon Handout

I love Amazon. I can buy so many things and they ship right away. I can fill my Kindle with so many books, I am in readers’ heaven. They have great marketing and great service, two of my passions in business. Oh, and I like fairness too. When, in early June, I learned that Amazon would offer its Prime membership to people on government assistance at half the price, my brain did a double take. In so many ways, those that work and actually earn their way in life are punished for doing so. I’m not talking about helping people with need for food and medical attention and shelter and clothing. I believe in all of that, for people who truly are in need. I prefer that it be done through charitable agencies, and churches when possible, as the costs are lower, the donations more generous, the accountability higher, and those in need receive what they need directly. This almost eliminates the fraud and abuse of government programs that are out of control. Those hand UPS are ever so much more valuable to people’s lives than hand OUTS. Did you notice that food stamp rolls have dropped dramatically in counties and states where people have to have a work requirements to receive them? The Obama administration had eliminated those requirements, which are now being put back into effect with dramatic reduction in food stamps being issued.

But I digress. Back to the Amazon handout. Here we have a company that has a service that they charge for. It is not a utility, like water, or gas for heat, it is, well, a luxury of sorts. I pay to be an Amazon Prime member. This gives me some free shipping, one click ordering, and a few little perks.

I see this offering to charge almost half price for this service as discriminatory (I really hate that overused word). Those Amazon prime members who have worked to earn their living, who are not on government assistance are being charged almost DOUBLE what the people on government benefits pay. It’s not a life necessity! Shouldn’t we all pay the same price for a luxury service?

Why would Amazon do this? It is so that they can capture a market share of people before their competitors (like Walmart) do. They figure that most people will eventually get off government assistance and then they will charge them the full price for this service that they have now become used to using. How are we, your loyal paying customers being served in this way? If people on government assistance can pay for Amazon Prime, perhaps they can also pay for some of the necessities that assistance pays for, and remove the burden from those Americans that work to help pay for them through high taxes.

There will always be people in need, and I can think of a thousand ways to help them, but Amazon Prime is not one of them. Where Amazon is making like they are generous and helping people in need, it’s just a ploy to obtain more market share, and patently unfair to those who pay full price due to the fact that they earn the finances to pay to Amazon. There are just some things that should be earned in life if you want them. Watching Netflix movies or having one click ordering etc should be earned, not given as a subsidy. Where does this end? Some days it almost doesn’t seem to be worth burning both ends of the candle to get ahead, when you could not work at all and get all the same products and services. Where is the motivation for anyone to get off government assistance and move ahead, make a living, have self-esteem, and a good life from their own accomplishments? You should have learned by now Amazon, you may be hurting more than helping. And shame on you if the true goal is only to help yourself.

Linda Martinelli is the first sole female franchise owner in Proforma to qualify for the Million Dollar Club and reach Multi-Million Dollar Club status. She was also Proforma’s first female development coach and in 2005, was the first female elected by her business peers to the elite Owners Advisory Council. In 2011, Linda was named one of ASI’s Top 10 Women to Watch and earned Proforma’s inaugural Women’s Leadership Award in 2012.