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The Accidental Chris Evans Fan

January 23rd, 2017

If he Had Been Any Good, I Wouldn’t Have Tried Amazon Prime

I hate to say it, but I love Amazon Prime.

For years, little pop-ups and interstitials have been nagging me to join. I thought it was a stupid idea, because you know how these deals always work. “You’ll save x every year if you buy from us y times per month.” You sign up, and then you forget all about it. It’s like Scrib’d. I signed up, and now I’m paying nine bucks per month. I think I’ve used it once this year.

I hated the very idea of Amazon Prime. Then Jeremy Clarkson squatted forcefully on a land mine of his own creation, and Top Gear moved to Amazon. I hated it even more. There are ten bazillion cable channels. Why did the Amazing Bugatti Brothers have to choose something I can’t get with my subscription?

I went to their Youtube channel and complained in the comments. Because I knew that would make them change their minds. I was irate. Then one day I realized I was buying several Amazon items per month. I bought a pile of books for my depressing Columbia College Lit. Hum. project, and I’ve been picking up odds and ends to help with my electronics hobby. Added up, the shipping costs were definitely higher than the cost of Amazon Prime, and I was getting slow shipping.

At this point I wisely abandoned my principles and signed up.

It turned out to be a good thing. Items sold by Amazon itself started looking like good deals. Amazon usually charges a fairly high price, coupled with a high shipping charge, but when you get free shipping, the high prices of the items don’t matter as much. It makes Amazon competitive with Amazon Marketplace vendors, you get your stuff in two days (including Sunday delivery), and you’re buying from a real company, not some clown who leaves his efficiency every day to cart 75 flat-rate packages to the Post Office.

I got myself an Arduino beginner’s kit (a great idea if you’re doing Arduino) this weekend. Ordered it Wednesday. Got it Friday. Ba-ZING. Like that. That kind of performance is addictive. And when you’re getting two-day shipping for nothing, the suddenly-cheap upgrade to one-day will often seem like a reasonable move.

The deals got better because of Prime. That made me buy stuff on Amazon instead of Ebay or some other site. The savings on shipping paid for Prime. It’s a good system. It works.

The videos turned out to be good, too. The new Top Gear, which, curiously, is called The Grand Tour on Amazon, is not bad at all. It’s not as good as the original, because they lost the Stig and the celebrity laps, but the rest is okay, and it’s real Top Gear guys, not Chris Evans (the Ronda Rousey of car show hosts). The writing is not always excellent; that’s the main flaw with the show. But they’ll get it together. Bezos has a big fat wallet, and when the paychecks get big enough, better writers will appear.

They really need to cram some celebrities in there. So far the only one has been Bob Geldof’s face, mounted on a tablet that ran around on its own little Segway.

Don’t ask me to explain that.

I don’t know why people bother with Netflix. The movie selection is crap. It’s the absolute worst. Netflix has a selection process that goes like this:

1. Look at movie.
2. If it’s bad, sell it online.
3. If it’s worth seeing at all, force people to rent disks.

Amazon doesn’t rent disks. They put the good stuff online, where you will actually use it. Yes, you will have to pay extra for some (okay quite a few) things, but at least you don’t have to put a disk in the mail.

They have some pretty good TV, too, including old Top Gear episodes under the original title.

The guy who wrote Demolition Man was only slightly off target. In the future, all restaurants will not be Taco Bell, but all stores may be Amazon, and so may most TV channels.

It’s inconvenient, having to move the computer output from the monitor to the big TV all the time, but you get a couple of advantages. First of all, you can surf the web WHILE watching TV, and second, you get to use your mouse. A mouse is the bee’s knees when it comes to watching video. You can move back and forth instantly, to exactly the places you choose. And Amazon has a dynamite feature: the ten-second button. On the screen, there are two buttons with the number 10 on them. Click the left one, and the video skips back ten seconds. You can guess what happens when you click the right one. I hope. This is great for those times when you can’t understand the British. You just make them repeat themselves. And there’s a handy closed-caption button, too.

TV’s need to have mouses. Mice. That will happen. Either TV’s will come with mice, or TV’s will become computers. With mice. It’s too good an idea not to happen. There is no down side. It’s amazing that it hasn’t happened already.

You might as well go ahead and get Prime. You’re going to get it eventually, and the fun of criticizing bandwagon-jumpers and whippersnappers is not really a good substitute for The Grand Tour and free shipping.

9 Responses to “The Accidental Chris Evans Fan”

  1. Mike Says:

    We did just for the free shipping because we have a bunch of grand babies that just have to keep China financially well off. Then stumbled on the video service and that just helped me justify the cost a little more. Now we are ordering household items so we don’ have to risk life and limb on treks to the food store or even worse Wally world.

  2. Stephen McAteer Says:

    Prime is nice. It costs £79 a year here, which I’m thinking carefully about but overall it’s probably worth it.

    I only watched the first episode of the Grand Tour. I haven’t watched the rest because I don’t have much time for TV shows any more and I also thought what I did see of it was a bit over-produced and too scripted.

  3. Mumblix Grumph Says:

    I recently went on an Amazon buying binge and finally succumbed to the Amazon Prime free trial. I still have a week to decide if I want to go for it. I’m pretty much over my spending spree, so I’m not too sure if I want to stick with it. I do love the Amazon Locker. I don’t want to have packages on my porch available to thieves. I used to have them sent to the office, but I don’t like having a bunch of nosy co-workers knowing that I’m buying stuff.

  4. Ruth H Says:

    I’ve had it for years and it just gets better, at least for those who use all it provides. I don’t. But order enough online to pay for the services. I am not able to do a lot of shopping around so I shop Amazon. I have several items sent as a subscription, that is handy for the dog’s greenies and some of my vitamins and supplements I would have to travel to the city for.
    I have watched a few things, not much because I am not really into serial type television.
    All in all I would recommend it, especially for the almost homebound.

  5. Walt Says:

    Yeah, I love my Amazon Prime, and so does my sweetheart. Love the Kindle books, Fire TV, etc. etc. I did a quick compare with Sam’s Club on buying some items in bulk, and it looked like Amazon Prime beat Sam’s prices. I do also like Netflix, ‘one’ difference is that on Big Bang Theory, the disks have gag reels and other bonus features that streaming does not seem to supply. I also got an Amazon Echo earlier this year. Kiko, my African Grey, likes to put things on the shopping list (like ‘spot echo’ and ‘glad button’ and ‘hair color’), tell it to play music, and make bizarre requests & ask strange questions: ‘ok, I don’t want to record’ and ‘what hear?’ and ‘what’d spelling of lights?’ (actually got the Echo to tell him . . . If you get an echo, be aware Maynard *may* get involved . . .

  6. ShallNOTBeInfinged Says:

    One Of Us….One Of Us. I too drank the Amazon koolaid about 5 years ago and haven’t looked back since. I do pretty much ALL of my Christmas shopping on it, and I find that the prices are very competitive. Got the missus a fitbit and saved 5 dollars over Wally World’s black Friday price. That free shipping makes a big difference. I get 99% of my auto and gun parts there too. Outfitted my old South Bend lathe with a bunch of Chinese made accessories and haven’t had a problem with them. We watch the prime app on roku as well as netflix….I don’t have a problem…..I can quit anytime….really.

  7. Juan Paxety Says:

    I now live on an island where it’s a 50-mile round trip to WalMart or anywhere else. Amazon prime saves a lot of wear and tear on the car.

  8. baldilocks Says:

    If you have an .edu email address, you can get Prime Student free for 6 months and half off for the next six months.

    I have been trying to refer people to it because each referral will get me $10. No one is biting and I don’t understand why not. I hope you don’t mind if I put my referral link here: http://a.co/6M65DXV

    Amazon also has excellent customer service.

  9. Steve H. Says:

    Amazon keeps sending me student offers. I think they look at the stuff I order and just assume I’m an EE student.