Amazon Dash: Shopping on Steroids

How the Masses Were CreatedIt’s called Amazon Dash. It’s the latest and greatest gadget in the line of instant purchase. “Have it now” takes on a new meaning when you dash an order off to Amazon in real time.

Amazon Dash involves a new hand-held device that allows customers to order products by simply speaking into a microphone or scanning bar codes. When a product runs out, the consumer can reorder in seconds and arrange for same- or next-day delivery.

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For now, Dash is limited to the AmazonFresh program that focuses on grocery products. It is currently being tested at several locations on the West Coast. The use of these new magic-wand-like gadgets is expected to expand to other fields including industrial and electrical supplies.

Amazon marketers are quick to point out how Dash can provide fun for the whole family. They imagine exciting scenes of empty cereal boxes and children exuberantly scanning or calling in replacements for instant delivery. Families are told to hang the wand on the refrigerator where it can be handy for those unexpected emergencies. According to the company, Dash recognizes more than 500,000 items on AmazonFresh.

 “We want you to go from ‘I want that’ to ‘I bought that’ in 30 seconds or 10 seconds,” says Amazon’s Paul Cousineau, in an interview with the technology site

Such frantic activity is to be lamented since it is part of the ever-quickening pace of purchase that marketers use to sell more. Such shopping no longer involves pondered choices or restrained decisions. It is now reduced to point-and-shoot purchases as a means of accelerating consumption. In the process, shopping has lost that human element that gives spice to life. Even buying fresh produce, which shoppers used to examine before purchase, is on steroids. Dash now assumes all produce is equal as it zips off orders to AmazonFresh and delivers vegetables sight unseen.

All of this is done to save time. But time for what? More consumption? More time onSubscription11 devices? Instead of dashing here and dashing there, perhaps it would be better to put aside the frenetic intemperance of the times and ponder why shoppers need access to 500,000 items in ten seconds. Maybe it is the case to think instead about the affairs of family, faith and all those things that really matter.