Everyone loves a good deal. Why not love getting more for less? But according to the Finder Amazon Prime Day Purchase Report, 26% of American adults, or 67.7 million people, plan to throw their money at the internet’s worst garage sale on June 21-22. That’s way too many of you, and we have to explain why this made-up party isn’t all it’s meant to be.
There are typical reasons Prime Day is bad, including Amazon doing shitty things to its most vulnerable workers. In 2018, thousands of Amazon workers in Spain, Germany and Poland continued a three-day strike which coincided with Prime Day to protest against their deplorable working conditions. But I understand. Not everyone has the privilege of taking a stand against a service that offers savings and is so convenient, especially in times of economic hardship. Putting aside moral heights, you are just screwed up.
For starters, many of the “deals” you’ll find on Prime Day aren’t real discounts. A huge amount of items will only be reduced by a few dollars. Worse yet, in the days leading up to the event, many sellers artificially inflated prices to make their shitty deals more appealing on Prime Day. You can work around this problem by using price tracking tools such as CamelCamelCamel and Fakespot. However, the artificial urgency created by time-sensitive Lightning Deals can act as a smokescreen for you to do your due diligence.
Prime Day’s midsummer schedule puts it squarely in landfill territory – you’re likely to find deals on old, outdated tech that you’ll need to replace sooner than you think. This is especially true for televisions and game consoles. (Personally, if any of you are tempted to buy a seriously discounted Apple Watch Series 3, please, for goodness sake, don’t.)
Speaking of technology, Prime Day discounts are lower than normal. Competitors like Newegg and BestBuy (as well as Target and Walmart) have essentially been heavily armed by Prime Day to increase their own sales. These competitors are also likely to give you better prices on Apple and Google products, as Amazon has little incentive to help its competitors. Likewise, it’s not the middle of summer that you’re going to see the biggest discounts in many product categories. According to Wire cutter, you will probably get an additional 5-10% discount if you wait. Late August and early September are the best discount seasons, and you’ll also see bigger discounts right before the holidays.
Remember, the only reason Prime Day exists is to trick you into signing up for a Prime membership, and once you’re trapped, offers you some discounted Amazon products. Overall, the best Prime Day deals are on Kindles, Amazon Echoes, and Fire Sticks, you know, Amazon’s own gadgets. It is a snake that is eaten. You get addicted to Prime, Amazon brings you some not-so-great deals, pockets your money, and convinces you to stay because you’ve bought into its ecosystem. Then to justify your Prime membership and reach the peak of “getting a deal” you buy Prime Day again.
A great example (pun intended) is Amazon’s promotions to spend more to get more. This year, Amazon will give you a $ 10 credit for every $ 10 spent on its small business category first day. Credits are, of course, for more Amazon purchases, but maybe not the kind you want. In the terms and conditions, you will find that the credit is not valid for digital products such as Instant Video Downloads, Kindles, eBooks, Digital Music or Amazon Gift Cards, Memberships, Prime Memberships, or Prime Orders Now, among other limitations.
Another problem is that with each passing year, shopping on Amazon in certain categories is a minefield. There has been an influx of counterfeits, expired products, and some shady third-party vendors picking up trash. You can still think of Amazon as a digital big box store, but these days it’s more of a fishy flea market. And while Amazon would have seized and destroyed over 2 million counterfeit products and blocked over 10 million bad ads in 2020, he also aggressively lobbied against the Inform Consumers Act, which allegedly required him to authenticate the identity of third-party sellers – and success.
Listen, like someone who was forced to cross the worst Amazon Prime deals last year for your amusement believe me when I say nine out of 10 deals are junk and sifting through them is a waste of time. Kudos to you if you’re a disciplined, eagle-eyed shopper who can scour the shit for the handful of OK deals during Prime Day. For the rest of you, I urge you to save your time, money, and sanity.