What's Wrong With the World? Amazon.com!

I ordered a couple of books just a minute ago from Amazon.com.  They were both paperback books that cost only $11 each.  It has been awhile since I ordered anything from Amazon, and I had forgotten just how easy that whole process is.  I clicked on “checkout” and the website asked me for my email.  I went to type it in, and was surprised when it already knew my email address.  (Chrome must have imported my cookies from Firefox; nice of it to do that, wasn't it?).  Then Amazon came up with a screen with all my data already there—shipping address, billing address, credit card number.  I just had to click on one confirm button and the books are in the mail.

So Amazon is what is wrong with the world today.  It is why Fannie Mae and Merrill Lynch are in such trouble.  It's why consumer debt is out of control (our national revolving credit card debt hit an all-time high in July at just under $970 billion!). OK, so it's not all Amazon's fault, bit it is WAY TOO EASY to buy stuff today!  Two clicks of the mouse and the books are in the mail.  What if I always had to go to the bank to withdraw the money and drive to the bookstore and browse the shelves, etc. Well, I probably wouldn’t buy nearly as much stuff!  And what if you added the step of having to dig up the potatoes to take to the market to sell to make the money to take to the store…  Then I wouldn’t have time to read, so I could skip the whole thing!

The upshot is that it is so easy for us to buy things that we don’t have to stop to ask whether we can afford them or really need them.  We spend money that we don’t have on stuff that we don’t need, all because it is so easy.