It’s been six months since Kevin and I stopped using Amazon, so I figured it was time to write about our experience leaving it behind now that we’re half a year in. The short version: We honestly don’t miss it 99% of the time.
Here are more details about why we chose to break up with Amazon and what life looks like without it:
Before I go any further, let me offer a disclaimer of sorts: If you shop on Amazon, this is not a knock on you — nor is it me suggesting you need to go the route Kevin and I have and leave it altogether. I was a loyal Amazon shopper starting back in 2003, and in 2021 I placed 95 Amazon orders. So yes, I’ve been a supporter of this brand in a BIG way for quite some time. If you’re a regular Amazon shopper, that’s because the model has been intentionally crafted to suck you in and make it hard to pass up. I mean, it’s so ridiculously convenient, right?? Seriously, NO judgement if you shop Amazon. This is me sharing my journey.
For quite a while before we stopped using it, Kevin and I felt very conflicted about shopping on Amazon. Sure, the convenience and incredibly expansive selection can’t be beat — but at what cost?
The more Kevin and I learned about how Amazon treats its employees, the more it became apparent this was a brand that was in direct opposition to our values. For us, the deaths of six Amazon warehouse workers in Illinois in late 2021 who weren’t able to evacuate in time to save themselves from a tornado was essentially the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Then there’s the fact that Amazon is helping to speed up climate change. Even worse? They try to downplay their carbon footprint in a big way.
Not to mention the fact that Kevin is a small business owner, and Amazon is known for exploiting and undermining small businesses. In fact, “In a 2019 survey, three-quarters of independent retailers ranked Amazon’s dominance as a major threat to their survival, and only 11 percent of those selling on its site described their experience as successful.”
We began to feel convicted to cancel our Prime membership and stop shopping Amazon altogether.
This was one of those decisions that felt simultaneously right and also…pretty inconvenient. No, I didn’t want to support Amazon, but I sure did love the fast shipping, the easy returns, the low prices, the fact that they have EVERYTHING. Losing the ease of life factor Amazon brings was going to be a hard pill to swallow, and I braced myself for that loss.
But guess what? Other retailers sell things. (Of course they do. It’s just that, leaving Amazon behind forced me to remember that and seek out those alternatives.) There hasn’t been a single thing I’ve needed so far that I haven’t been able to find in a store or on a website that’s NOT Amazon. Examining my relationship with Amazon as I began to consider leaving it behind and then ultimately did also led to me examining my relationship with shopping in general more closely. (That’s the thing about living intentionally — it forces you to see things clearly and sometimes make changes accordingly, something I think is really important.)
I’ve talked here about how I’ve really changed my mindset as it relates to clothing, and now I’m starting to see changes to the way I shop for basic things, too: notecards, toys for the kids, home decor, random kitchen gadgets, books, toothpaste — things I would have grabbed from Amazon in the past without thinking twice about it. Now I notice that 1) I’m giving those purchases more thought and sometimes avoiding them (which is nice!) 2) I’m shopping more in actual stores and/or directly from brands’ websites 3) I can include Maggie in purchases for her more often, which I really enjoy doing.
Leaving Amazon behind has forced me to think much more about the purchases I’m making. I love that.
So far, six months in, I can honestly say I haven’t missed shopping on Amazon a single time. I’ve been able to find everything I need elsewhere. Kevin mentioned the other day that he misses how easy and cheap it is to buy things like phone chargers from Amazon, but that other than that he doesn’t miss it, either. I’m sure I’ll encounter a time when I wish we still used it — I can see a themed birthday party or random element to a Halloween costume or hard-to-find battery size being the instigator for those thoughts — but so far…nothing.
There are definitely other retailers Kevin and I try not to purchase from frequently because we don’t love the way they do business, but we haven’t explicitly “quit” any aside from Amazon. To us, that felt like the one we really needed to leave behind. It’s such a behemoth and it’s doing so much to change our economy and dictate trends in retail — and most of these are in pretty negative ways. It’s because of Amazon that we as consumers now have an expectation that things we order should arrive in a day or two (if not sooner), that shipping should always be free, that we should bypass small businesses in favor of less expensive and quicker-to-arrive options, that we should order things on a whim (and have each of those orders ship in a separate box), etc.
We also aren’t interested in supporting the business of a founder who underpays his employees and often puts them in poor working conditions, sidesteps his own taxes, and yet uses billions of dollars to take an 11-minute joyride into space.
I truly believe in “voting with your dollar” and try, whenever possible, to make choices that align with that belief when I make purchases. Am I perfect? 100% NOT. And that’s okay. But I did reach the point where it became important to me that I no longer support Amazon in particular.
That said, do I think everyone needs to stop shopping on Amazon? No, I don’t. And do I think it’s going to make a difference to Amazon that they’re missing out on my 95 orders a year? No, I sure don’t. But does me wanting to use my money in different ways and support other brands and retailers more directly matter to me? It does. And do I appreciate how I have to be more thoughtful about my purchases now that I’ve removed Amazon from the equation? I for SURE do.
I know us closing the door on Amazon altogether might seem a little extreme. To us, that was the right move. But even if you aren’t interested in leaving Amazon behind (and again — I GET IT!!!) but some of this post is speaking to you, if you’re a frequent shopper like I used to be it might be worth considering how you can use other resources a more than Amazon (kind of using Amazon as more of a back-up option once you’ve looked elsewhere for what you need). It’s crazy how much less “stuff” arrives at our house now that the Amazon truck doesn’t stop by anymore.
So that’s the story of why we broke up with Amazon and, as far as we can tell, as T-Swift would say, “We are never, ever, ever, ever getting back together.” I’m so happy with this decision because of how it aligns with my values, and I’m honestly shocked at how easy it’s been to leave Amazon behind.