Once upon a time I was in a serious quandary. I wanted some cheap, plastic, materialistic consumer shit made in China and I wanted it now. What to do, what to do?
As I saw it, there were two choices.
I could haul my fat ass up and out of my chair, somehow make it to the car, drive to a big-box store, somehow make it inside and navigate the maze to (hopefully) the right section where the object of my desire might be found. All the while being blasted by a tasty mix of songs scientifically designed to make me spend more money. (The mix is a rotation of two songs. Happy, by Pharrell Williams and anything by Mumford & Sons.)
I say “might” because I’ve tried this in the past and it didn’t quite work out. Ever go to the store to buy one specific thing? After expending incredible effort (see previous paragraph) you learn it isn’t even there. Out of stock. I do not believe there is a worse feeling in the entire universe.
And that other choice I mentioned earlier? Amazon. Duh.
In the past I’d always choose overnight shipping when ordering online. I mean, why wait? Ordering online is one of the few times in your life when you can exchange money for time. Why not take advantage of it?
My reasoning for this was simple: What if I happen to die before that case of Magic: The Gathering cards arrives? I’d be missing out on a vital part of the consumer experience. Namely, consumption. By expediting the shipping I was reducing (but not totally eliminating) the odds of that horrific outcome.
Amazon knows you want stuff fast. In the beginning they would “mail order” it to you. Mail order may not be a very hi-tech term but it is, if you really think about it, the current business strategy employed by Amazon.
Recently Amazon playful revealed their concept of drone aircraft to deliver the crap consumers want. They are calling this Amazon Prime Air. I reported about this over at The Nudge Wink Report.
Drones? I had to laugh. But I quickly sobered up after grabbing some handy graph paper and plotting a projection curve of Amazon delivery times. I double-checked my calculations but the conclusion was inescapable. The projection line I plotted ended up off the paper, somewhere in the fourth dimension.
Now I see what Amazon is really after.
Think about it. Once they are successfully droning products to their customers, where will there be opportunities to continue to improve on delivery times? There’s a finite limit to how fast it can get.
Introducing Prime Continuum. Here’s how it works:
- After you click the “place your order” button, a copy of the order is electronically sent to Amazon Temporal HQ.
- A temporal agent picks your items from the warehouse. Note: Unlike current standard operating procedure, there is no particular need to hurry. Time has been eliminated from the equation so those poor workers are no longer forced to sprint hither and yon.
- The temporal agent steps into the Time Portal.
- A small localized disturbance in the space-time continuum manifests as a glowing portal in the same room as the customer. From the customer’s perspective this occurs simultaneously with the transmission of the order.
- The temporal agent hands over product and a previously completed satisfaction survey form that was/will be completed by the customer in the future. They way they won’t have to wait to find out how things go.
You might think Prime Continuum is the ultimate Amazon achievement but you’d be wrong. Why actually wait for the customer to place the order? With only a few basic manipulations of the space-time continuum, it’s possible for Amazon employees to travel back in time, notify their fulfillment centers and show up with products before the customer knows they even wanted them. This is, of course, the ultimate in convenience. Unencumbered by the need to actually place orders, our economy will grow exponentially and customers will finally be free to explore a myriad of other interests such as improving themselves and the human condition.
Oops. If you’ll excuse me, Amazon just arrived with my new chip clip. And I don’t even have any chips yet. Clever Amazon!