A brief bout of Amazonitis hit our house this week. Don’t know if you’ve ever been afflicted. Essentially, it’s a common medical condition brought on by something that Amazon or its affiliates do. First, someone’s mood grows foul. The person is then often afflicted with spurts of anger and short temper, accompanied by swearing at the computer. Side-effects include swearing at other people, the news, and animals.
My wife was afflicted first. Her book club is meeting on Wednesday next week. The book chosen for 2021 is Girl, Woman, Other. As soon as the announcement was made in early December, I went online to the library, checked for copies, and put it on hold. I was number two billion on five copies. (Yes, that’s an exaggeration for effect; actual number was seventeen on six copies.) (My wife’s library card doesn’t permit her to put books on hold online. Her card is part of an older system. The system was revamped five years ago. One needed to go in and get a new card. She never did that, so my card is used for her requests along with my requests. I don’t mind; I need to keep the karma points.) (Okay, I mind a little.)
I tracked progress of the book on hold. I’d reach number nine by the last week of December. Okay, the library book wasn’t going to be received in time. In lockdown, finding it locally was something she shied away from doing. The book was ordered online from Amazon.
Amazonian wheels began turning. The order was processed. Shipment took place. Estimated delivery was by 8 PM on January 8th. Candles were lit. The vigil began. Shipment notifications claimed it was out for delivery. The front lights were turned on to help the deliverer find their way.
Eight PM passed without a delivery. “It’s not here,” my wife growled, the first stage of Amazonitis. “Let me see what the tracking notification says.” She opened her computer. “What the actual fuck! They say it’s in Hillsborough, Oregon.”
Hillsborough is a suburb of Portland, about two hundred ninety miles away.
My wife turned to me. “It’s not going to be here until between the twelfth and fourteenth now. Book club is on the thirteenth. I won’t have time to read the book. Where can I get it?”
I did online searches of local bookstores to see what could be done. Wasn’t in.
“Can you order on Kindle?” my wife asked. “Do you have an app? Can I read it on the iPad?” Lots of questions, for which I thought, sure. That’s when my Amazonitis struck.
I went to Amazon, found the book, and ordered a digital copy. Amazon said, “Download our free app and read it now!” I downloaded the app. “Your devices don’t support the app,” Amazon answered. “Want to buy a new device that does?”
WTAF? You’re telling me that I can’t read it with your app on my ‘puter? WTAF?
I didn’t realize it then, but I’d already caught the Amazonitis.
The bug was spreading fast through me. Two of our floofs, Tucker and Boo, started a hissing and growling contest under my desk. “If you two don’t stop now, I’ll give you two something to hiss and growl about!” I yelled.
My wife laughed. “That’s something that I bet your Dad never said to you.”
The Amazonitis had attacked my sense of humor. I wasn’t in the mood. I’d followed a link to another app they recommended, downloaded and installed it. Then I clicked to read the book.
Unfortunately, the book was completely blank. Hundreds of blank pages. In fact, there were no pages with any words, letters, or numbers.
The Amazonitis crept deeper into my muscles. “What the actual fuck?” I snapped. On the Kinder app, my newly purchased book didn’t even show up. As Amazonitis wrapped its tentacles around me and my anger surged, I went back to my orders. Under the book on my order page was a little ‘Read Now’ button. I clicked it to see what would happen.
The book opened.
That was it? Why, oh ‘great Amazon’, I snarled in my angriest internal voice, did you have me go through all that shit about downloading apps and chasing links if I could just order it and click and read it right there on the page? Huh? Why? Why, why, why?
The crises had been averted, more or less. My wife couldn’t read the book on the iPad but she could read it on her Mac. (None of the apps had been downloaded and installed on her Mac, BTW. It was all done on the iPad or my Dell. So, she could read it on her Mac without any app.) No, she couldn’t take it to read in the bath, but, oh, well. The Amazonitis began to creep out of our systems.
Today, she checked on the tracking notification for the other book. You know, the hard copy that was supposed to be delivered by 8 PM on the 7th. The one which had suddenly been changed to a delivery date of between Jan 12 and 14.
“They say it’s been delivered,” she said.
“Where?” I asked. It was about two PM. I went to the front porch.
There it was, sitting on the mat.
I felt a new bout of Amazonitis coming on.