Amazon.com hates me. It mocks me. And I know it’s doing it on purpose.
Chances are, it hates you and mocks you as well. But maybe you’ve never noticed. Maybe you thought it was your fault. I’m here to tell you it’s not. Amazon is mean. So mean. And dumb. It’s mean and dumb and I figure that if I tell you the story of how Amazon.com has been bullying me, in a mean and dumb way, then you will feel sorry for me. Maybe we can form a support group. Or maybe we can stand up to Amazon, and punch it in the eye or something.
Allow me to explain.
The other day, I decided it was time to replace our old IKEA mattress with something firmer and newer. I don’t really know anything about buying mattresses, so of course I Googled it and I was lucky enough to find a really useful and comprehensive guide to buying a mattress. Thanks Google! Thanks guy who writes about mattresses!
The very first thing the guy who writes about mattresses said, is that I should check amazon for a mattress. Mr guy who writes about mattresses even said that Amazon was “certainly a good choice if you are after cheap beds.”
That’s me! I want the cheap bed/mattress and although I know you’re meant to try a mattress before you buy it, I really don’t want to go to one of those creepy warehouse mattress stores in the suburbs. I never know how to act there. Do I just sit on the beds or lie down? If I lie down, does that mean I have to take my shoes off each time? Should I check with the salesperson first? And then when I’m done lying down on a mattress, do I put my shoes back on to walk over to another mattress, take them off again and lie down again? Should I just keep my shoes off the whole time? What if I put my shoes on to go, and I decide to try just one more mattress. Then I have to untie them again, take them off, try the mattress, and then put them back on again, all under the watchful eye of a patronising sales clerk staring at me under flourescent lights, silently judging me for not buying one of the more expensive mattresses!
If I can avoid all that, I will. So Amazon it is. I visit their website – Amazon.co.uk (I’m in the UK) and I take the simple first step of typing in the word: “mattresses.”
Amazon shows me a page filled with mattresses. So far so good, but some of these are expensive. Like £700 expensive, and that’s not for the Super-King size which my wife insists we buy so that we can sleep in different time zones – that’s for the standard double. So a Super King is going to be like £1,000. No big deal, I do what any visitor to Amazon would do, I sort.
I go to the little tick box on the left and I choose the “Super King” option, in the section marked: “Mattress and bed size.” And then I tick the “sort by: Price: Low to High.” This should enable me to scroll through and see all the mattresses in my price range – which is around £350 pounds.
But things don’t work out that way. When you use a website that is working properly and has an intuitive interface, it actually sort of resembles a conversation with a store clerk, albeit in the digital world
Me: “Excuse me Mr mattress store clerk, I am looking for a mattress.”
Mattress store clerk: “What size is your bed?”
Me: “Super King, because apparently, my wife wants to sleep in a different ti…”
MSC: “How much are you looking to spend?”
Me: “I’d like to spend around £350, but if you show me your cheapest Super King mattresses, then I will get to compare them.”
MSC: “Right this way sir! Here are all of our Super King mattresses that cost less than £350.”
That’s how it’s supposed to work. You then browse through the mattresses and find the one you want. But at Amazon, it doesn’t work that way. It’s still like a conversation with a store clerk, but one who HATES you and is more interested in wasting your time and mocking you than letting you buy a Super King Mattress. Here is my re-enactment of the actual search session I did yesterday on Amazon, looking for my mattress:
Me: “Excuse me Mr Amazon search options, I am looking for a mattress.”
Amazon: “What size is your bed?”
Me: “Super King, because apparently, my wife wants to sleep in a different ti…”
Amazon: “How much are you looking to spend?”
Me: “Please show me your Super King mattresses sorted by price from low to high and I will compare them.”
Amazon: “Here are 400 pages of results. First, let’s start with a 99pence water-proof mattress protector”
Me: “I don’t want a water-proof mattress protector, I selected the options for Super King Mattresses, in the mattress department. Why are you showing me this?”
Amazon: This is the cheapest one.
Me: But it’s not a mattress
Amazon: The next cheapest item is a packet of Bicentury Corn Pancakes 130 GR
Me: I don’t know what that is, but it’s not a mattress and it’s definitely not Super King sized. Why are you showing me random things? I clicked the “mattress” option!
Amazon: How about an artificial lemon?
Amazon: Artificial Lemon – Artificial Yellow 7.5 cm Leste. Only £2.98!
Me: Okay, clearly you’ve got some things labelled as Super King mattresses which are not Super King mattresses, so I’m just going to click through everything that’s under £100 until I get to the mattresses.
Amazon: Go ahead. Suit yourself. Give it a try. You’ll be back.
So I start clicking through an endless sea of page after page after page of items that are sometimes mattress-related, such as the £5.15 mattress incontinence protection pads, but also items that have no possible link to mattresses at all, like £5.95 school scissors and a £6.41 off-brand cinderella diary, made to look like a Disney product. I reach page 37 without any sign of an actual Super King mattress.
Somehow this simple product sorting function, which every other website on the planet can do with ease is beyond the technological scope of Amazon.com, the world’s biggest online retailer. But I get the impression that the website wants me to think it’s my fault. This is what my interactions with Amazon feels like:
Me: Most of this has nothing to do with mattresses! Why are they categorised under Super King mattresses? I clicked all of the right things, and yet you aren’t even showing me mattresses!
Amazon: These are things that might go on top of a mattress.
Me: Is that the criteria? Why is your site organised like this? I remember when Amazon was known for having the best interface. Now it’s a mess of poorly-catalogued items and clueless recommendations. Maybe if you didn’t spend all your time working on Amazon Prime TV shows, restaurant delivery services, cloud storage for photos and streaming music, you would be able to update your website database so that it didn’t show me a result for an artificial lemon, when I am looking for a Super King mattress!
Amazon: An artificial lemon would look very nice sitting on top of a Super King mattress.
Me: I’m going to shop on a different website now.
Amazon: I HAVE MORE THAN JUST ARTIFICIAL LEMONS! CAN I RECOMMEND TO YOU SOME OTHER BICENTURY PRODUCTS. YOU LIKE THOSE! HOW ABOUT SOME BICENTURY POP CORN MINI PANCAKES? “These Mini Pop Corn Pancakes Jordi Cruz Edition from Bicentury come in “mini” presentation and in addition to being crunchy and with a nice taste of popcorn, they are sold in a comfortable 70g format to carry anywhere and serve easily before the show starts!”
This can’t be accidental. My entire Amazon recommendation page is now filled with images of artificial lemons and corn-related snack products, because I made the mistake of clicking those items to find out how they were related to mattresses. Amazon is being a dick to me. Again.
I give up. You win, Mr mean, dumb Amazon. I don’t want to buy a mattress from you any longer. There’s only one thing left to do. I guess I’m just going to have to buy some slip-on shoes, so I can go to the mattress store and not have to worry about the whole tying and untying of my shoe laces. Now if I can just figure out how to buy cheap slip-on shoes from Amazon….