HOW TO QUIT AMAZON
*UPDATED TO EXPLAIN HOW TO DO ALL THIS STUFF WHILE STAYING SAFE DURING THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK:
As of March 23rd, 2020, Michigan is under Shelter in Place. We are not allowed to leave our homes to do ANYTHING that is not “essential to human life.” Most places of business are closed, with a few exceptions such as grocery stores, medical facilities, pharmacies, and banks. The things I have outlined can still be done, and I’ve added a note on each one on how to do it even if you are under “shelter in place”.
Now is not the time to consume. You probably don’t even really need to buy groceries right now. Do you have cans of soup that you’ve been pushing to the side since last summer? Do you have 4 boxes of instant oatmeal that have been piling up in your pantry because you keep telling yourself you are going to “be an oatmeal person” but you just keep making eggs and toast every day instead? Well guess what? You are an “oatmeal person” now AND your kids are going to try split pea soup from a can.
We need to be very careful about our interactions, and every purchase involves some interaction. Going to the grocery store puts workers, other shoppers, and yourself at risk. Ordering things also involves risk. Covid – 19 can survive on cardboard for 24 hours, and 2-3 days on plastic and stainless-steel surfaces.
We need to consume less. As little as possible. (Also, we are all broke! So yeah, no need to be shoppin!)
With that said, we will need some groceries. We might need a few items to make our homes function. When you want a thing…
-First: Ask yourself if it is a “want” or a “need” (Yes...like a Kindergartener. Most of us probably are at that level with this skill)
-Second: Step away from your Amazon account and consider these 4 steps…
1. Reach Out
When my son became obsessed with my husband’s baseball glove for a full 24 hours, I decided I needed to buy a child sized one for him. My first thought was to just “Amazon Prime It” but on second thought, I posted the need in my city’s Facebook group. My friend dropped one off on my doorstep a few days later. I also got some Barbie’s this way, and a booster seat for my 5-year-old, and some milkweed seeds. I didn’t have to spend a dime. All I had to do was train my brain to just ASK my community for things I need, instead of immediately thinking about buying it in one click.
My city’s Facebook group is better than any free cycle or Craig’s List type group because it’s people in MY community. Often the people I end up getting/giving from are people that I actually know. Sometimes just texting your friends is all it takes though!! Everyone is always cycling through things…people are often relieved to get rid of things, and happy if they can help someone at the same time.
*THE SHELTER IN PLACE VERSION: Well, you do not need a Barbie or a baseball glove right now, but if you do actually need something, you can still reach out to your community. Maybe a friend bought 500 rolls of toilet paper and could give you some, saving you a risky trip to your local store. Maybe you don’t need too many groceries, but if you only had baking soda, you could do so much! Ask a friend! Ask your community!
2. Think Locally
What brick and mortar stores are in your area? I am lucky enough to live in an area where there are lamp stores, door stores, bike stores, a cloth diaper store. Some people don’t have this luxury…I grew up in a place that only had a Target and a Meijer. No matter what though, local stores can still be a better option than Amazon. curbside pick-up. Best Buy, for example, has a great curbside pick-up option. I was able to browse online and find exactly what I needed, pay online, and my item were ready a few hours later. It was SUCH a better experience than taking my kids into the store, around nap time, buckling and unbuckling the car seats, and trying to read and decipher packaging on computer parts while tiny people ran through the aisles asking for every colorful, sugary thing in sight.
*THE SHELTER IN PLACE VERSION: Shipping times may affected due to the coronavirus pandemic...but now pretty much EVERY store, restaurant, and grocer offers curbside pickup, so…unexpected perk, I guess?
3. Search Etsy
Filter your search results to include results only from your state. If you can’t find anything, expand results to include only your state. I have purchase everything from cheap kids gloves, to sewing patterns to bulk glitter. Etsy sellers carry supplies and also many “vintage” items that are usually even better then new items, because manufacturing quality tended to be much better 20 or more years ago.
I especially love Etsy for finding small tools such as crochet hooks, hole punches, ice cream scoops and mini muffin pans. You can easily find things in good condition that were made in the U.S., for only a few dollars more than if you purchased the same (lower quality) items on Amazon. If you need a handle, doorknob, padlock, hinge, or latch, Etsy is THE place! You can find things for cheaper or the same cost as Home Depot…except the old ones from Etsy are little works of art!
*THE SHELTER IN PLACE VERSION: Supporting small businesses such as the sellers on Etsy is obviously better…but at this time….it is also SAFER. Small businesses do not have as many people touching your items. Small businesses are just that…SMALL. Many people who sell on Etsy do it out of their homes anyway, so literally the whole transaction can take place while BOTH of you stay home.
4. Buy online… but not from Amazon
If you do find something on Amazon that you want to buy, go an extra step. Use Amazon almost as a search engine. Take note of the brand name and find your item directly from the manufacturer’s website. Most companies now even offer free 2-day shipping. Using this method ensures that your item is genuine (not a strange low-quality knock-off), and that more of your dollars go to the companies that actually make the product. You also might be surprised to see that items are sometimes less expensive this way.
*THE SHELTER IN PLACE VERSION: Amazon is the worst place you could buy from at this time. It might seem “safe” to just click away and order something, but even though you may get to stay home, real people (with bodies and families and older relatives) work at a facilities, organizing and packaging up your items. Real people work in risky environments to get your items onto trucks and bring them to your doorstep. If you need something, chose to order it from a place that cares about the well being of it’s workers. It is more important now than ever.
As some of us hunker down in our homes, and others report to work at grocery stores or hospitals each day, we are all thinking differently. We are thinking about how our actions directly impact those around us. We are thinking about what we really need in our lives, and what we don't. Let's reflect during this time. Let's stop supporting slave labor. Let's change our habits. Let's focus on those we love. Let's stop rushing. Let's spend our time in joy. Let's support one another. Let's remember what a real community feels like, and how our positive actions create beautiful, joyful ripples that spread around the world.