r/technology • u/honey_rainbow • Jan 19 '23
Amazon discontinues charity donation program amid cost cuts Businesshttps://www.cnbc.com/2023/01/18/amazon-discontinues-amazonsmile-charity-donation-program-amid-cost-cuts.html
u/icebeat Jan 19 '23
Very disappointed indeed
u/SomethingMatter Jan 19 '23
I am immensely disappointed. It was the only way to avoid most of the adverts and sponsored links in search results.→ More replies (2)
u/Clever_Mercury Jan 19 '23
I also hate that they are proposing, in lieu of this "smile" program, to choose to funnel money into particular charities of their choice. What they have historically chosen is self-serving for Amazon and often inefficient and competing with established, large charities, particularly with regards to poverty and education.
Why not make a list of top, existing charities in different areas (children, environment, poverty, health, animals, science) and let the users pick which of those to support?
This all charities or only Amazon's charities thing they are giving us is poor reasoning or malicious.→ More replies (14)
u/Kingnahum17 Jan 19 '23
The thing that everyone is ignoring is that Amazon actively avoided advertising Smile until very recently. They say that it did not meet their expectations? Well that's because only the minority of people knew about it. There was also instances where clicking on certain parts of the web site will bring you away from Smile so if you paid when the url didn't say smile.amazon, and only said Amazon, then no charity got money.→ More replies (24)
u/Bastienbard Jan 19 '23
No kidding, they only donated $500 million over 10 years. They have PROFIT of over $30 billion a year.→ More replies (26)
u/SopieMunky Jan 19 '23
"We weren't making enough of a difference."
Meanwhile I'm getting emails from my charity about how we raised millions of dollars in the last year.
Jan 19 '23
My selected charity (code.org) got over a million bucks!
Amazon just didn't like the ROI they were getting, that's all.
u/Jake_Cathelinaeu Jan 19 '23
When they first came out with it, charities drove business to Amazon by encouraging people to use it and tag them in the charity profile but now Amazon is ubiquitous so the program no longer adds market share.
I think it is a crappy thing for Amazon to do but the way they treat their employees this isn't a surprise.→ More replies (10)
u/nascentt Jan 19 '23 edited Jan 21 '23
What's sad is I doubt the overall contributions they give out are a notable percentage of revenue.
A few million is chump change for a multi-billion dollar company.→ More replies (1)→ More replies (6)
u/Innovationwarp Jan 19 '23
As did the EFF, a hugely important organization. It's rare I donate directly, but maybe I double what I donate through smile and make up for the loss sometime soon. It's not much, but I'm very appreciative for all that they do.→ More replies (2)
u/Grobfoot Jan 19 '23
Yeah last year the one I was signed up for on there raised $30,000. That’s a lot of money from people who don’t even realize they’re donating!
u/ckal9 Jan 19 '23
“So we would rather make zero difference”
What a cop out→ More replies (1)
u/PaulSandwich Jan 19 '23 edited Jan 19 '23
Worse than that, this will surely have an impact in the other direction.
I run a small non-profit and we get smile funding that is probably insignificant to Amazon, but absolutely makes a difference to the people who would have died without it.
You can do a lot with a little when the model is simply getting highly trained people to resource-deficit areas.
Edit to add: This is going to hit hardest hit non-profits who have great conversion ratios of donation dollars to operational expenses, i.e. making sure your money goes to the core mission and doesn't get swallowed up by the non-profit's administrative costs. Big non-profits with marketing departments to solicit donors will be fine, tho.→ More replies (4)→ More replies (19)
u/anythingfromtheshop Jan 19 '23
“Charities that run solely on donations that get millions from us yearly isn’t the biggest ego boost we expected”
Granted most of the people who I told about what AmazonSmile is they didn’t know what it was, but who cares. What matters is the charities getting that money and that’s it. Amazon should approach donations the Keanu way but they want to approach it the Kardashian way.
u/Savemeboo Jan 19 '23
I’ve always put local schools as my charity. This is going to hurt a lot of PTAs.
→ More replies (8)
u/----_____---- Jan 19 '23
That's exactly what we used it for, and it generated several hundred dollars for our daughter's school PTO over the years. This is very disappointing.→ More replies (1)
u/this_my_sportsreddit Jan 19 '23 edited Jan 19 '23 •
Here’s the most messed up part. I used to work at Amazon corporate, let me tell you how the entire program Amazon Smile got created.
So basically, when a customer wants to buy a product, they usually go straight to Amazon.com and enter what they’re looking for. But there’s also a large segment of customers who begin their search on google, and ends up at Amazon. Well guess what. When that type of search to purchase experience happens, Amazon has to pay google. Internally, Amazon thought that if they could force users to go straight to Amazon, offer a small but obviously less amount of money to charity from each customer than would have been paid to google, it would help kill customers going to google, save Amazon more money than paying google, and be good overall for the brand value of Amazon.
That’s why for the program to work, the user has to start shopping at smile.amazon.com. Until recently, the option to use amazon smile wasn't even available in the app, and even then the user still had to 'renew' being a part of Smile multiple times a year. There is no way for a customer to go through the traditional shopping experience, and then during checkout decide they want to give a portion of their purchase to charity, because giving to charity isn't the point of the overall program. Amazon Smile was developed by the Traffic Optimization team, whose entire purpose is increasing efficiency and lowering costs of getting customers to Amazon. A team of Amazon employees whose sole purpose is doing good in the world doesn't exist, despite employees repeatedly asking for such a team to be built in pretty much every single all-hands meeting.
Literally everything the company does is about profits, and extended customer lifetime value. Everything. Even the charity programs are just designed to save Amazon money.
edited to add clarity.
u/Echoenbatbat Jan 19 '23 •
I also used to work at Amazon, and was a founding member of the AmazonSmile program, part of the Charity Support team working with the nonprofits to help them actually receive the funds. This was 2013. Left in 2016 after fully fleshing out the program, developed the metrics reporting system for tracking charity issues, and even a blurb document to respond to the most common questions nonprofits had.
You are completely correct. The intent of the program was to be cost neutral - the amount Amazon donated to charities was about equal to the costs it saved by not having to pay Google for advertising clicks. Tax writeoff was a negligible side benefit, goodwill was just marketing fodder.
Left because there was no opportunity for promotion or upward mobility. Got my Masters degree and used what I learned about nonprofits and charities to join a nonprofit as a grant writer and eventually help manage a network of nonprofits who help people find employment.
You're absolutely correct.
u/coopj42 Jan 20 '23
This just makes me want to google things, click their link, and not buy it.→ More replies (15)
u/cookingboy Jan 20 '23
As a Google shareholder, yes please do that.
u/FantasticMrPox Jan 20 '23
Lol. Task failed successfully. Where the task is "not bankrolling morally-bankrupt tech megacorps".
u/MrVeazey Jan 20 '23
I mean, all corporations are inherently devoid of morality. It's not a problem unique to the tech industry.→ More replies (7)
u/Alternative-Key-5647 Jan 20 '23
This is why we need to support 100% worker-owned businesses
u/sumguysr Jan 20 '23
Shop at ACE Hardware, the biggest worker owned co-op in the US. Get the old fashioned hardware store experience of a grizzled old man giving you advice for your project, and maybe a little folksy wisdom with it.→ More replies (2)
u/Alternative-Key-5647 Jan 20 '23 edited Jan 20 '23
REI, Scheels, your small, local grocery co-op; all of them are great!
✨ Capitalism needs a free market, but a free market doesn't need Capitalism ✨→ More replies (5)
u/ScotchAndLeather Jan 19 '23
Tax writeoff was a negligible side benefit
For a taxable corporation, the “tax write off” of a charitable donation is treated exactly the same as paying google for a click - they both reduce taxable income as an expense. The “tax write off” for the google click is actually more than the charitable contribution if that contribution was less than the cost of the google click, as the model intends to achieve.
Not that Amazon pays taxes anyway…
u/bowlbinater Jan 19 '23
Tax policy consultant here. You are pretty close, but hoping to provide some more "legalese" to your explanation. The "tax write off" to which you refer is likely the ordinary and necessary business expenses deduction. I say likely, as I can't be certain this is exactly what you are referring to, but since the fee to Google is ordinary, meaning common and accepted in one's industry, and necessary, meaning helpful and appropriate for your business, it is likely that Amazon can take those fee amounts as a deduction on their taxable income.
The charitable contribution, while also being a deduction, is limited to 25% of one's taxable income: https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/charitable-organizations/charitable-contribution-deductions#:~:text=A%20corporation%20may%20deduct%20qualified,to%20the%20next%20tax%20year.
Amazon is paying income tax, but its effective tax rate is far below the statutory rate, which would partly be explained by deductions like the ones you have outlined: https://itep.org/amazon-avoids-more-than-5-billion-in-corporate-income-taxes-reports-6-percent-tax-rate-on-35-billion-of-us-income/.→ More replies (11)
u/ScotchAndLeather Jan 19 '23
Yes, that’s a fair nuance — in some scenarios the charitable “write off” is worth less than an ordinary business expense would be even if their nominal cost is the same.→ More replies (1)
Jan 19 '23
u/Echoenbatbat Jan 19 '23
The Seattle Times had hammered on Amazon and Bezos for not being involved in any charitable works, so it was also a way to counter that narrative (years after the fact).
u/bjorneylol Jan 20 '23
Because losing $1m/yr operating a charity is way better PR than losing $1m paying your direct competitor (cloud) for search impressions
u/CatOfGrey Jan 20 '23
Because sending nickels to charity, and getting the marketing benefit, is more valuable then sending those nickels to Google.→ More replies (2)
u/Harmonic_Content Jan 19 '23
They were hoping it would be a cost benefit over time, rather than neutral.→ More replies (6)
u/Stateswitness1 Jan 19 '23
To fuck google.
u/JackS15 Jan 20 '23
And get a shit load of good PR in the process.
There could also be some underlying consumer spending data that shows people who shop via the charity link spend more thinking they’re “helping a good cause” while these causes are likely seeing thousandths of a cent per purchase.→ More replies (4)
u/RedChairBlueChair123 Jan 20 '23
People eat this up. I worked at a charity (did great work, run by believers rather than organizers) and it took forever to get them to realize diverting more than a nominal effort to smile was not cost effective. “That’s it? But everyone said they used it last Christmas!” If you’re going to ask, ask for money!
u/corkyskog Jan 19 '23
Why did they end it then? Did something change with Google relationship? Does so much traffic now come through the app that it's not worth it?
u/Echoenbatbat Jan 19 '23
My best guess is it's no longer cost neutral. The cost to run the program and send donations is likely now higher than the savings. After ten years, the 'get people to go to smile.amazon.com and not google' effect was probably very low, too.
u/sapereaud33 Jan 20 '23
I wouldn't be surprised if a majority of their searches originate in the Amazon app now, rather than via Google result. That's true for me at least. Sure, I might go check another store to price compare, but I never Google "product I want to buy" anymore. Because of that, the overhead of running the program may have outpaced the amount they saved vs paying commission to Google.
u/erdtirdmans Jan 20 '23
Also - and I think mobile is the bulk of it but I'll add this in - I have an extension that forces my browser to load the smile.amazon.com version of the page any time an Amazon link is invoked. People like me are still often getting to Amazon via Google and having Amazon's nickels sent to charity
I've never once loaded smile.amazon.com since signing up. Sometimes I go right to Amazon. Sometimes I don't. This change doesn't change my behavior at all and so I've only cost Amazon money→ More replies (14)
u/edouardconstant Jan 19 '23
Got my Masters degree and used what I learned about nonprofits and charities to join a nonprofit as a grant writer and eventually help manage a network of nonprofits who help people find employment.
That sounds a MUCH better use of your time for the benefit of the society. Congratulations.→ More replies (4)
u/chairitable Jan 19 '23
I'll use google because Amazon's search function is broken as all get-out. Like I'll put in "b550-a" while searching in the motherboard section and it'll give me tons of irrelevant results.→ More replies (19)
u/majort94 Jan 19 '23
Working as intended.
The search function gives some relevant results, and some irrelevant results similar to walking into a store.
If you only need paper towels you go into the store and walk past the frozen food section and suddenly have a hankering for ice cream. Amazon is trying to replicate this.
u/RandomBritishGuy Jan 19 '23
The problem with that idea is that they don't show you things that are different enough you might consider them, they're close enough to what you're looking for that you aren't going to buy two of whatever it is you've searched for.
Like looking for a B550 motherboard. Showing a Z790 boards is pointless since it isn't what you want, and isn't compatible?
You don't get results for the tech equivalent of ice-cream, which might tempt you, it's just wrong variants of the specific thing you're looking for.
If there's any fudging of results, it'll be to make it seem like there's more available (that Amazon is bigger) than there really is.→ More replies (1)
u/pier4r Jan 19 '23
The problem with that idea is that they don't show you things that are different enough you might consider them
It gets better at times! It shows things you already bought. Amazing! Of course I want 5 copies of the same book, who doesn't!→ More replies (6)→ More replies (9)
u/chairitable Jan 19 '23 edited Jan 19 '23
Ok, sure. I still say that's broken. A "search" which works that way's no longer a "search" function, but a browse function. Amazon has browsing separately, so why would they decide to show me LGA (intel) boards even when I specify I'm looking for AM4 (amd)? That's busted.
If their intention is to make my search more laborious (and even misleading) then I'll just go elsewhere, for instance just search with Google. Hell I just avoid Amazon altogether nowadays because they make it so difficult to find what I'm looking for. Even boxstores maintain some sort of structure in their shelving strategy.→ More replies (39)
u/drewsiferr Jan 19 '23
This certainly explains a lot. I've always thought it was very disingenuous to require going to a different domain to have the charity included. Now I know why.
u/ScaryBee Jan 19 '23
This is really interesting, thanks for posting it.
So, what changed? Why stop a program that (presumably) saved them money?
u/Bambi_One_Eye Jan 19 '23
Literally everything the company does is about profits...
Its amazing that we all live in this hyper consumer society and forget this, every. time.
This is literally the only motivation any corporation has.→ More replies (1)
u/ReallyGene Jan 19 '23
When I search for an item that refers me to Amazon, I add it to my cart, then close the tab, open my link to Smile, and complete the purchase there, just so my chosen charity (Rosie's Place, a shelter for homeless women in the Boston area) gets a few cents.→ More replies (1)
u/nik-nak333 Jan 19 '23
This needs to be the top comment for everyone guessing why they made this move.→ More replies (10)→ More replies (133)
u/r3dk0w Jan 19 '23
Literally everything the company does is about profits
That's the definition of capitalism.→ More replies (49)
u/crystallyn Jan 19 '23
I had to go back and look at the statement they sent me to see how much they had given to the charity I donated to. I don’t understand how they can say this wasn’t making an impact. 😡
This is the quarterly notification to inform you that AmazonSmile has made a charitable donation to the charity you’ve selected, Alzheimer's Association, in the amount of $107,732.91 as a result of qualifying purchases made by you and other customers between July 1st - September 30th. Thanks to customers shopping at smile.amazon.com or using the Amazon app with AmazonSmile turned ON, everyday purchases make an impact. So far, AmazonSmile has donated: $1,889,776.08 to Alzheimer's Association* Over $400 million to US charities Over $449 million to charities worldwide
u/JohannesOliver Jan 19 '23
Because it’s marketing speak. “We’re cutting costs” doesn’t sound as good.→ More replies (3)
u/Contrary-Canary Jan 19 '23
It didn't make enough of an impact on their profits. Billion dollar enterprises are incapable of being charitable as their existence depends on exploitation.→ More replies (12)→ More replies (7)
u/bassmadrigal Jan 19 '23
All the big, well known charities were likely bringing in thousands, is not millions of dollars. However, with how many charities Amazon supported, the average received by an organization (according to the article) was only like a little over $200.
If that's really their excuse, they should institute requirements for a charity to be able to be listed as a selectable charity. This way, they could have a couple hundred charities that can all see $100K+ in donations, which they can promptly tell news organizations how much good they're doing (while raking in unprecedented commerce profits).
Their excuse of the average only being like $200ish is just an excuse to try and save face. They just wanted to keep the extra profit to line shareholders' pockets.→ More replies (4)
u/PaulSandwich Jan 19 '23
As all the wise ones say: If you can only do a little good, don't even bother.
u/freakinweasel353 Jan 19 '23
No smile anymore? Only decent thing those guys do besides promote shitty products from companies that don’t really exist.
u/honey_rainbow Jan 19 '23
I used Smile all the time! I'm really disappointed they're ending it.
u/TXshooter15 Jan 19 '23 •
I call bullshit on Amazon’s excuse of too many charities, being spread too thin, not generating the impact they wanted, blah blah blah. I feel like that was the whole point. Not give all the money to one big charity, but let people help charities they know. Cheap fucks.
u/RamenJunkie Jan 19 '23
No kidding. I mean if one person only ever generates $40 for some tiny nothing charity, who cares, its fucking charity. That tiny charity may have done good with that money.
u/TXshooter15 Jan 19 '23
And that’s $40 less that that charity has to do to get money. I’m sure none of them turned it away→ More replies (1)
u/ScarletJew72 Jan 19 '23 edited Jan 19 '23
My account was for my local humane society. They've been struggling for years, and need literally any help they can get.
u/Sensitive-Issue84 Jan 19 '23
I did something similar. Did you notice that not one of the bullshit charities they listed are for animals? It's straight-up greed.
u/Daimakku1 Jan 19 '23
Same here. Even with all the issues with Amazon lately, I still felt okay buying from them because they donate money to my local humane society. Now that that's gone, there is no reason to support this company anymore.→ More replies (3)→ More replies (2)
u/gigglingkitty Jan 19 '23
Same here. This is terrible news. I’m going to set maybe a quarterly amount and donate directly to the humane society that I was helping a bit through Smile. I’ll be helping more that way, and they need to offset this loss somehow. Hopefully others will do the same.→ More replies (1)→ More replies (3)
u/Mr-Fleshcage Jan 19 '23
He seems to understand that small amounts of money adds up, only when it's going in his pocket.
u/Bob_Sconce Jan 19 '23
They're clearly doing this to save money. It's probably not even the charitable money they're trying to save, but the internal cost of people to support Amazon Smile.→ More replies (1)
u/TXshooter15 Jan 19 '23
Oh yeah, everything is about cost cutting wherever they can and putting the PR spin on it to make it look like it was because “we weren’t AS charitable as we wanted to be”. I get it.
u/McFlyParadox Jan 19 '23
“we weren’t AS charitable as we wanted to be”.
"So now we won't be charitable at all"
u/TXshooter15 Jan 19 '23
More like “so now we’ll be charitable to ourselves by continuing to support these Amazon-based charities”
u/rotag_fu Jan 19 '23
For just 25 cents a day, you too can help a billionaire in need take a vanity, suborbital rocket flight. Please won't you help!→ More replies (1)
u/MorrowPolo Jan 19 '23
Even with them losing customers over this, it probably doesn't outweigh the cost of employees to run smile. Super wack...
u/TXshooter15 Jan 19 '23
Yeah, it’s a calculated risk. They know it’ll piss people off, but also that people will forget about it very quickly and move on. They’ll emerge leaner regardless, fewer employees and less spending on the donations.→ More replies (1)
u/definitelyian Jan 19 '23 edited Jan 19 '23
100% this. I've been using Smile with a small animal charity in rural NC that houses blind and sick cats that were due to be put down. Every single quarter they post about how the several thousands they receive from Smile makes a big difference.
This is all Amazon's greed.→ More replies (6)
u/TXshooter15 Jan 19 '23
Similar here. I use a small animal charity, Tails from the Heart, here in Texas. A very good friend of ours does A LOT of work with the charity, like taking in the bottle-babies that need 24 hour care and bottle feeding and fostering them until they’re adopted. We got our dog from them, and see this as a small way to give back.→ More replies (2)
u/demonsun Jan 19 '23
They are also putting towards charity causes that benefit themselves pretty directly.→ More replies (1)
u/TXshooter15 Jan 19 '23
I did notice that, in their list of “shit we still support”→ More replies (36)
u/doubletwist Jan 19 '23
Not only that that, but if that was really the problem, a simple solution is to narrow down the eligible charities, not end the entire program.
u/50StatePiss Jan 19 '23
I've generated almost $100 for my charity and it's received over $7500 since the program began. While it was never a lot nor at all magnanimous of Amazon, my chosen charity was very grateful for it and put it to good use.→ More replies (34)
u/jerm-warfare Jan 19 '23
Smile was the only reason I bought things on Amazon recently. The amount of knockoffs or low quality products just keeps getting worse.
u/ProceedToCheckout Jan 19 '23
I've finally cancelled my prime subscription. The 2 day shipping turning into 2 days from when we get around to shipping it was my last straw, but this could have been it if I was still subscribed→ More replies (2)→ More replies (1)
u/DeliBoy Jan 19 '23
Yup, the reasons to use Amazon continue to deteriorate. We used Smile to support a kid's camp, I think they maybe got $3000 total from Amazon. Not a ton of money, but it made the idea of sending more money to them a little easier to swallow.
u/NoAnybody7232 Jan 19 '23
I finally cancelled my Prime membership last week. They lost my last 3 packages and removed the automated refund process, so I had to speak to customer service to get my money back, because they wanted to make it more difficult. The removal of 2-day shipping was another complaint. There was also the rampant reviews that were clearly for different products.
Not that any of it will be read or acknowledged by Amazon, but I listed out all of that. I wish I knew there discontinuing Smile on top of it. Would have cut them off even sooner.→ More replies (1)→ More replies (8)
u/RevRagnarok Jan 19 '23
I even have an extension that automatically redirects all links that way. :(
u/themeatbridge Jan 19 '23
After they shut down Amazon Music, I started questioning why I continue to have Prime. Shutting down Smile might just be the nail in the coffin.→ More replies (6)
u/Garwald Jan 19 '23
What do you mean they shut down Amazon music? I used it the other day→ More replies (3)
u/themeatbridge Jan 19 '23
The version included with Prime, not the premium Unlimited version, removed most of the features in November. It was a shitty app before, but now it's completely unusable. Functionally, it's dead to me.→ More replies (1)
u/cyphersk8 Jan 19 '23
The amount of shitty ass products on amazon is alarming. I rarely buy from there now.
u/InsertBluescreenHere Jan 19 '23
its going the way of ebay where its spam listings for the same products, fake reviews, fly by night sellers, direct from china junk, and zero customer service.
u/wymnxa Jan 19 '23
Hey I’ll have you know ZUOMXFTECH2 is a perfectly legit business that offers LIFETIME warranties on all their products.
But yeah when you see the same three air humidifiers being sold by 17 different companies you can bet you won’t be getting any help when it breaks.
u/InsertBluescreenHere Jan 19 '23
yea but if you leave a 5 star review we will refund your cost!
u/bluesatin Jan 19 '23 edited Jan 19 '23
If anyone's curious as to what's with the random brand names, it's due to the requirement of having a trademark for enrolling in Amazon's 'brand registry' service which grants you access to more tools as a seller, in regards to things like advertising etc.
So companies just register complete nonsense to try and quickly get through the overwhelmed trademarking processes in different countries, since the nonsense name will be unlikely to be similar to any existing brand names that might cause their application to get turned down or require any back-and-forth etc.
“For brand owners, enrolling [into the Brand Registry service] provides you with powerful tools to help protect your trademarks, including proprietary text and image search and predictive automation,” the company declares. It gives owners control over product listings that contain their products, and the ability to protect themselves against unauthorized sellers using their names.
Crucially, Amazon says on its site, “it gives you more access to advertising solutions, which can help you increase your brand presence on Amazon,” as well as to “utilize the Early Reviewer Program to gain initial reviews on new products” — a sanctioned method for improving a product’s search result.
If you’re feeding a brand-new listing into the Amazon machine, in other words, and doing so without a pre-existing brand or customers, getting into Brand Registry is extremely important. To achieve real and lasting success on Amazon, it’s vital.
New York Times - How Amazon is causing us to drown in trademarks.→ More replies (2)
u/hyouko Jan 19 '23
I rather think it's because they can't turn anything into a brand name that will stick because they have to keep shuffling from one name to the next to dodge complaints and bad reviews. There may be some legitimate companies, but they are drowned out by hucksters who slap their randomly generated name on cheap OEM tat and use stupid tricks to game the review system (like swapping a listing for a simple item that reviews well with a high-margin gadget that inevitably won't once people discover that their 16TB drive is actually 64GB, or that their 48,000mAh battery actually caps out at about 4,000 and is a major fire hazard).→ More replies (4)→ More replies (2)
u/82Caff Jan 19 '23
And you see those same air humidifiers lists under computer mouse, car parts, and grocery categories.→ More replies (1)
u/bluesatin Jan 19 '23 edited Jan 19 '23
At least eBay has decent search and filter options, so you can actually attempt to find what you want, and filter out the stuff you don't want.
I remember trying to find an alternative colour of one of Amazon's own products, and it took me something like 20 minutes (I kept attempting out of morbid curiosity), because a bunch of features on the site were either functionally useless, or were actually just broken and not working correctly.
It also makes me laugh that Amazon still hasn't figured out the basic functionality of things like lumping product and shipping costs into a single price for sorting, so sellers just stick low prices on the product and hide the price in the shipping. eBay fixed that problem something like 13-14 years ago.→ More replies (4)→ More replies (8)
u/jadecristal Jan 19 '23
I’m not sure the exact methodology Amazon uses, but it pisses me off when there’s a product that has 1, several colors, and 2, an MSRP of say $20, and:
- everything except the popular black is shipped from/sold by Amazon, at MSRP (sometimes better)
- black isn’t available shipped from/sold by Amazon, but some other piece-of-shit assholes who aren’t the ones who make it will sell it to me for $28
I think I read that if Amazon doesn’t have to stock something because “someone else is selling it” they like that, but they’re fucking around with those of us who hate their “marketplace” shitshow if this is really what they’re doing.→ More replies (8)→ More replies (5)
u/Paulo27 Jan 19 '23
Crazy how they just let people post a product, sell it and then change it to something else.→ More replies (17)
u/auspiciousenthusiast Jan 19 '23
It's such an appropriate metaphor for Amazon's late-stage capitalist hellscape: in an artificial recession created by artificial inflation created by billionaire's absolutely real price-gouging during a pandemic, the thing they choose to cut to maintain ultra profitability is the smile.
u/EarthLoveAR Jan 19 '23 •
I got my notification email. They claimed it wasn't doing the good they hoped. Well perhaps you weren't generous enough with how much of each purchase goes to charity, Amazon. Such a condescending notice from the largest corporation in the world. Gross.
I was supporting a small, local organization through this program and it makes me sad to think of all the lost contributions they will experience.
u/Splice1138 Jan 19 '23 edited Jan 19 '23
They claimed it wasn't doing the good they hoped.
Read as: it wasn't giving us enough good PR for the cost
Sarcasm aide, I do think that's the heart of it. Subaru uses their donations in their advertisements. They only give to something like five charities so it's big amounts and they can say they're the largest donor. Amazon can't say that spread across over a million different charities, like the article says→ More replies (230)
u/awesome357 Jan 19 '23
They could spin it however they want, that's the power of PR. Focus on lifetime donations highlighting several different charities at once, and talk up the total number of charities for maximin impact across all spectrums of need. How good of a look is it that you help from the biggest to the smallest based on your customers specific interests. No charity is overlooked and everyone has a chance to benefit. But instead they choose to just kill it.
According to the last email update I got on my charity, total donations across all the US totalled over $400 million across the programs lifetime. Which is a drop in the bucket for Amazon, but a huge impact for those charities. Its an insult for them to say they're not making enough of a difference when all they need to do is up their contribution percentage or market the program better on their own site.→ More replies (2)
u/whiskeyjane45 Jan 19 '23
My charity was my local library. It's a town of 1000 people. Because of Amazon, when I was homeschooling my kids during covid (because they were back in person in October so I pulled them), I was able to check out literature kits on really cool subjects (for first grade), scale models of the body with removable parts, microscopes, and other cool things. This library has 2 computers and 3 rooms. It's tiny. I don't know what they're going to do→ More replies (20)
u/Livvylove Jan 19 '23
Same, I was supporting a group in my hometown that does amazing things with special needs kids and adults. Sports leagues, art, singing and dance. They throw parties and so many activities for them. I think they got an extra 1k from it, which helped.→ More replies (26)
u/JoDiMaggio Jan 19 '23
You should continue to support them if you liked their work. If you spend a thousand dollars a year on amazon, your smile contributions were like $9 a year.→ More replies (20)
u/Lergerndery Jan 19 '23
I don't know how almost $200k a month from smile to my charity isn't "doing as good as the hoped". I'm so pissed. I used smile exclusively.
u/Pravus_Belua Jan 19 '23 edited Jan 19 '23 •
They claimed it wasn't doing the good they hoped. Well perhaps you weren't generous enough with how much of each purchase goes to charity, Amazon. Such a condescending notice from the largest corporation in the world. Gross.
I remember the last email I got from them touting the recent contribution to my selected charity (World Wildlife Fund) was around $250k (I'm recalling only from memory, could be wrong but not by much. I know it wasn't even 1/2 million).
I'm like, really? You're AMAZON.COM and that's the total donation?
Don't you fucking tell me the cancellation of this program is due to less-than-intended impact when the total given, per-quarter fiscal year is in such stark contrast to the total earned (currently over $1 Billion per DAY).
If that was the real reason behind the cancellation of the program, and it pained you, as a company, to cancel it then you could have just increased the matched amount, on a per-purchase basis, to more than a measly $0.5% ($5 per $1,000 USD).
This is not about cost-cutting, it's about corporate greed, and it's fucking disgusting that this is coming from one of the most profitable companies in history. Give me a fucking break.→ More replies (21)
u/RevRagnarok Jan 19 '23
was around $250k
That might just be based on the users. I had things like my local PTA so maybe a majority of people didn't sign up for that particular charity.→ More replies (10)
u/darkeststar Jan 19 '23
So frustrating and sad. I was supporting a cat rescue shelter that's about a mile from my home. It was such a miniscule amount of each purchase, and they tried to make it as difficult as possible to get to the charity supporting version of the webpages for years.→ More replies (1)→ More replies (78)
u/heili Jan 19 '23
Wasn't doing enough good because "too many charities" were part of it and they couldn't dump a single giant donation to their own pet cause.
So they're basically blaming you and your small local charity.
It was also supporting charities that Amazon doesn't like because they have political viewpoints that the corporate elites at Amazon don't agree with.
For example, Amazon and Bezos have made a big deal about not selling "any and all components of guns", including things that aren't regulated legally, but had to support the Second Amendment Foundation.→ More replies (3)
u/TakkataMSF Jan 19 '23
This is sad news. This was a good program for smaller charities where every dollar counts. The $230 is about 1 month of diapers
A month of food (shopping conservatively, but probably 2 weeks) for a family
3-4 months of cat food
Several toys for kids during the holidays or sick in hospitals or whatever
15-20 books for a library
(Numbers aren't going to be exactly right but approximate)
My point is, it impacts that family, those kids or those animal shelters. They donated $500 million over a 10 year period. $50 Million per year. How does that not have an impact? "We donate $50 Million per year" and/or "We support over 1 million charities!"
I wonder if they could be persuaded to keep the program.
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u/joshthor Jan 19 '23
Damn. My prime renewal date is early february, and with me being lucky to get 1 week deliveries lately, the difficulty finding quality products, and how difficult it is to actually get to customer service now, i was already leaning towards cancelling. this might just be the nail in the coffin.
u/salton Jan 19 '23 edited Jan 20 '23
I've already set mine to lapse. Items taking a week to arrive and them getting rid of free return pickups did it for me. Almost all prices have increased by 40% in the last year and you can tell that most sales are fake if you use a price tracker.
u/Monkey__Shit Jan 19 '23
And their products are mostly cheap knock offs from Alibaba→ More replies (4)
u/cassatta Jan 19 '23
If you look for tights for women you find company names selling tights that are just letters strung together with almost no vowels.
u/thrasher6143 Jan 19 '23
Lots of small electronics as well bring some under those names.→ More replies (1)→ More replies (6)
u/ebi-san Jan 19 '23
I'm cancelling mine because $150 is a huge ask when all of their perks like Prime Music and Prime Video were changed to a "First taste is free" model.
u/AlignedLicense0 Jan 19 '23
Prime music is absolute hot garbage anyway. So no loss there. Songs constantly leave amazon music and then rejoin, and when they do the copy in your Playlist is no longer valid and is skipped. The desktop app was great and had some nice quality of life features, then they did a big update that downgraded everything. The Amazon Music app on desktop also loves to run at 100% cpu load on my laptop after I've closed the laptop without shutting down. The mobile app loads miserably and always gave me issues on android auto. 1 star app.→ More replies (3)→ More replies (4)
Jan 19 '23 edited Feb 16 '23
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Jan 19 '23 edited Feb 11 '23
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u/haha_baygull Jan 19 '23
What are some alternatives?→ More replies (5)
u/tonyrocks922 Jan 19 '23
What are some alternatives?
Not who you replied to but when local merchants aren't an option, I've been using Target for general merchandise and Chewy for pet stuff. Got to hit order minimums for free shipping but I often get stuff in 2 days or less. Sometimes it feels like Chewy actually manages to teleport orders to my porch. I also switched from shopping at Whole Foods to a regional family owned supermarket.→ More replies (3)→ More replies (33)
u/RascalRandal Jan 19 '23
I cancelled mine. I thought I’d miss it but I’m surprised by how little I turn to Amazon when I need something now. It’s actually been great for my wallet. Only downside was losing Prime video which had a couple decent shows.
u/DanHassler0 Jan 19 '23
What happened at Amazon these last couple months. Everything is arriving late, some Prime delivery dates are a month out right now. Amazon Fresh stores are sitting abandoned. Weren't they a profitable company not too long ago. They must've had a really bad quarter or something, it seems like they are cutting nearly everything.
u/snuff3r Jan 19 '23 •
Is it just me or have they gone the way of eBay? I used to able to find reputable brands, stuff I actually wanted in my house.. it's all cheap shit Chinese made junk nowadays. I've kinda given up on Amazon..
u/Pimpicane Jan 19 '23
It's funny, because 12-15 years ago, Amazon was the reliable place for reputable goods, and eBay was basically a back alley full of shady knock-offs. It's the reverse now. Seriously, if you haven't checked eBay out lately, they've really cleaned up their act. It's crazy how that works.
u/jk147 Jan 19 '23
I don't buy stuff often on eBay but I have noticed that big companies (especially sneakers) started using ebay as sort of an outlet for out of date goods in the last 5ish years. It is no longer just random joe schmoe selling stuff.
u/oh_what_a_surprise Jan 19 '23
Honestly, as someone who was an eBay seller ten and twenty years ago, this was eBay's plan. They began back in the 00s by changing things to make seller's lives harder, margins thinner. Everyone back then on seller's forums were talking about how eBay was trying to push out the small seller and become a clearing house for the big dogs. It was well known and it's just what they wanted.→ More replies (3)→ More replies (3)
u/essieecks Jan 19 '23
It's because the big companies are worried about co-mingled goods at Amazon warehouses allowing for shoppers to get counterfeits, re-packaged bricks, used-returns or otherwise bad merchandise when purchasing their goods. Better to use eBay as another direct-to-consumer storefront than send your legitimate goods to be mixed with random products.→ More replies (1)→ More replies (2)
u/FesteringNeonDistrac Jan 19 '23
Ebay also used to be the internet yard sale, and you could find some good deals there. Now it's a lot of drop shippers and dealers with crazy prices→ More replies (1)→ More replies (7)
u/brocahantas Jan 19 '23
I love how the Chinese company names sound like a cat walked across a keyboard.
“Perfect! A pasta strainer from the beloved company Ajnksyglop!”
Jan 19 '23 edited Jan 19 '23
u/SomeGuyNamedPaul Jan 19 '23
And then there's the wall of random letters for "brands" propped up with fake reviews.→ More replies (2)
u/donjulioanejo Jan 19 '23
"I personally don't own it but my husband really liked this product" - review for a box of tampons, probably.→ More replies (1)
u/Fortehlulz33 Jan 19 '23
A review for a box of tampons that used to be a fake yeti koozie→ More replies (1)
u/1infinitefruitloop Jan 19 '23
There’s a same day warehouse in my state that was completed about a year ago and has sat completely empty ever since. They claim “the economy” but no one actually believes that. Supposed to open in 3+ years now….→ More replies (13)
u/bigpoopa Jan 19 '23
There was probably an attempt at unionization→ More replies (1)→ More replies (11)
u/oldDotredditisbetter Jan 19 '23
in pursuit of greediness.
that's what a lot of these newer companies are doing unfortunately. focusing on short term profit so the execs can take their bonuses and dip→ More replies (2)
u/gendrkheinz Jan 19 '23
My guess is as good as any, but I feel like this has something to do with the fact that when the pandemic hit they massively expanded and made a shitton of money out of it. And now that people are going back out into the world buying stuff from the high street shops, their massive infrastructure is crumbling under its own weight without the pandemic level of demand that it was built for and that was propping it up.→ More replies (1)
u/nox66 Jan 19 '23 •
It doesn't help that the product quality on Amazon has continued to deteriorate, to the point that almost any product search just yields the same five products, endlessly reskinned by a bunch of no name fly-by-night clearly foreign companies. While I'd like to support any storefront based on ethics, and I appreciate convenience, I like most people buy items to solve problems. Amazon wasn't doing the former anyway, but they're hardly worth looking at if they can't provide the latter. Endless return cycles just stop being worth the hassle at some point.
u/madbadger89 Jan 19 '23
Yep if I search for something I get 5 to 10 items of the exact same type but reskinned.
It’s become difficult to have confidence in the quality of my purchase. I bought some Carhart shirts for example - the exact same model T-shirt I get from tractor supply. The one from Amazon was misfit, and the fabric was clearly of a lower quality. so now I buy my shirts in person at tractor supply. the Carhartt shirts are the only ones that hold up to the farm stuff that I do.
This is just one example, but I have discovered a lot more with appliances. You can type an air fryer and get a ton of results from a variety of companies you’ve never heard of.→ More replies (2)→ More replies (2)
u/call-your-mother-pls Jan 19 '23
I’ll have you know KDVUT is a highly respected brand with numerous five star ratings!
u/kerrdavid Jan 19 '23
Quit Amazon robotics in July. They over-invested at the start of the pandemic in building these new sort and distribution centers (2 different buildings). The way these buildings are built they need to run above 50% capacity or so to be profitable (making a number up) and most are not.
I can’t speak for fresh but I would imagine it’s the same story. Assuming this Covid grocery ordering trend was a permanent change and over investing.
It feels a bit like a Ponzi scheme, like my ability to get a package in a day depends on getting a billion people to join this scam. But once things start to crumble they crumble quick.→ More replies (2)
u/decidedlysticky23 Jan 19 '23
Covid exposed how little resilience the global supply chain had. Companies didn't bother to pay for resilience since that doesn't look good on quarterly press releases and any potential supply issues are for whoever is running the company in the future. Then the music stopped. Thankfully I'm seeing real moves to diversify supply at the global level now. Companies like Amazon will learn a valuable lesson about risk management. At least until the next time.→ More replies (1)
u/jameson71 Jan 19 '23
Companies for the last 20 years have been actively removing resilience from the supply chain. Look up "Lean manufacturing". Resilience was considered superfluous waste.→ More replies (3)
u/ByrdmanRanger Jan 19 '23
I was a manufacturing engineer for years, and I hated the "lean" trend. It's one thing to look to improve processes and trim unnecessary things, but you were pushed to trim everything you could, even when it left you vulnerable. The "just in time" model and idea that inventory was waste would cause an entire production line to grind to a halt if a single thing up the chain ran into a problem. A new lot of valve bodies is way out of tolerance? Well, good thing there's no spare bodies or built valves in inventory that you could pull from while you either wait for replacements or rework the ones you've got.
It was always just to boost numbers temporarily. God I hate MBAs.
u/RooMagoo Jan 19 '23
The new CEO is garbage. Andy Jassy ran AWS and was great at that but is absolutely floundering at being CEO of the company at large. Retail Amazon is effectively a logistics company and when logistics falls apart, it does so catastrophically. Jassy thinks he can run the retail logistics side like AWS, but they are entirely different companies. They are stripping away prime benefits (Amazon music, 2 day shipping in some areas etc.) while charging more and cutting warehouse staff to bare bones.
To be fair, Bezos didn't exactly set him up great, with massive over-extension to meet the ridiculous growth during the pandemic. All of the big tech companies grew payrolls massively during the pandemic but that growth was absolutely unsustainable.
u/puerileprince Jan 19 '23
Amazon fresh is an absolute disaster of a store, from almost any perspective possible, from customer to supplier to employee.
u/absentmindedjwc Jan 19 '23
How do? There is one scheduled to open near me in the next few months.
u/LitLitten Jan 19 '23
Dunno, man. We got one open not far from here. Any fresh produce we got felt like stuff on sale from a grocer because it expired fast. It was fine for cereal and dry foods, but…
Precut veggies, like onions, pico, etc. got two days maybe three unopened. Cilantro came half-wilted. Apples universally bruised bad (except granny’s). Our house stopped after bread came with mold spots.
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u/plazagirl Jan 19 '23
Don’t get me started on that shit-show Amazon Fresh. One opened up within the last year near me. None of the prices are close to competitive, they don’t rotate their shelf stock, and the selection is very narrow and shallow. Other groceries stores now have a “buy on line and pick up” program too, with none of the above issues.
The only thing Fresh is good for is returning items and picking up higher priced Amazon on line orders, like electronics, so they don’t get stolen from my porch. They have even fucked up the pick up system too. Now they no longer use the lockers at the Fresh location—I have to stand in line and wait for someone to search through the back to find my items.
u/oldDotredditisbetter Jan 19 '23
on the /r/amazonprime sub there's also videos of people opening their box of supposedly thousand dollar camera/lens but it's just a box of masks instead
now when i buy something valuable i videotape the unboxing to gather evidence in case i need to get a refund→ More replies (2)→ More replies (30)
u/LeibnizThrowaway Jan 19 '23
They don't even make money selling shit. They make money through AWS.→ More replies (8)
u/MIGsalund Jan 19 '23
Number 2 source of revenue is selling advertisers a list of all the shit you buy.→ More replies (1)
u/itwasquiteawhileago Jan 19 '23
Apparently so they can try to sell you the exact same thing you just bought again. Oh, you bought an air purifier? Want to buy ten more? No, I'm good with one. They're not Pokemon.→ More replies (3)
u/LonnieAvanti Jan 19 '23
Zero reason to shop at Amazon anymore. 1. Prime shipping has fallen off significantly 2. The site is overrun with cheap knock off products. 3. Customer service, which was its strong point years ago, is openly hostile. 4. They treat their employees terribly.
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u/rubyslippers22 Jan 19 '23
Ya you can’t find any “normal” brand on Amazon anymore.→ More replies (1)
u/44problems Jan 19 '23
Got a set of cutting boards for Christmas. Brand: AICHOOF. Like what AI generates this stuff.
u/TyNyeTheTransGuy Jan 19 '23
I regularly sport some briefs with the sexy sexy waistband text “CMNUDONSI”→ More replies (1)
u/ithastowarmup Jan 19 '23
Gesundheit→ More replies (1)
u/10113r114m4 Jan 19 '23
Oh ffs Amazon. This really helped smaller local charities. Sigh. I mean I can keep donating, but it was nice that purchasing stuff I needed indirectly contributed.
u/Dad_bass Jan 19 '23 edited Jan 19 '23
Out: Amazon Smile
In: Amazon Frown
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u/ReaganEsq_ Jan 19 '23
The man we taught to fish wasn’t catching enough fish, so we killed him.
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u/Liberty_Chip_Cookies Jan 19 '23
More like the man we taught to fish wasn’t telling enough people that we taught him how to fish, so we took away his fishing pole, and we wish him good luck in not starving
u/Griffolion Jan 19 '23
Using Amazon Smile is what made me feel an iota less dirty about ordering from that site.
u/PenguinMage Jan 19 '23
Huh, guess I'm going back to ordering from Costco & heb. Smile.amazon at least made me feel kinda OK with half the dumb crap I buy.
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u/denis-vi Jan 19 '23
Used to work at amazon, at training once the trainer who was an amazon vet was asked why is there a bonus for people leaving after 3 years, I jumped in with an answer saying 'isn't that to recognise good work and help a person who is looking for a new challenge'. The guy was like 'nah, it's good PR'. Plain and simple.
This is what amazon smile was too, essentially the money they'd pay for affiliate marketing would rather go to a charity, that was the whole shtick. Now I guess in such economy they are looking to save every possible dollar and this PR piece is no longer important.
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u/shogi_x Jan 19 '23
After almost a decade, the program has not grown to create the impact that we had originally hoped,” the company said. “With so many eligible organizations -- more than 1 million globally -- our ability to have an impact was often spread too thin."
There's little reason they couldn't have limited the number of eligible charities to a select list.
And I'm calling BS on cost saving. There's no way Smile was a major budget line. Those donations would've reduced their tax burden so any cost would've been staff time (probably pretty minimal thanks to automation), marketing (which they barely did for Smile), and any processing fees.
u/Sea_Tack Jan 19 '23 edited Jan 19 '23
Noticed this too, they really walked off a plank with that "spread too thin" line, so illogical
u/50StatePiss Jan 19 '23
It's also a great example of saying something without saying anything. "Our ability to have an impact was often spread too thin" is vague and indefinite.→ More replies (1)
u/oldDotredditisbetter Jan 19 '23
that's the art of corpspeak. use as many words as possible while saying nothing at all
u/ukezi Jan 19 '23
What I'm hearing is "We are supporting too many charities and don't get enough good press for doing flashy things.".→ More replies (1)
u/MyMoneyThrow Jan 19 '23
Those donations would've reduced their tax burden so any cost would've been staff time (probably pretty minimal thanks to automation), marketing (which they barely did for Smile), and any processing fees.
You clearly don't understand how taxes work. Making a charitable donation does not give you a tax credit. It only gives you a deduction. A credit would reduce your tax liability dollar for dollar. A deduction only reduces your tax liability by the rate of tax (21% federal for a corporation). So they'd still save $0.79 of every dollar that they otherwise would have donated to charity by scrapping the program.
u/HibeePin Jan 19 '23
The donations still cost them money even though it reduces their tax burden. It's not like they reduce their taxes by 100% of the money they donate.→ More replies (1)→ More replies (5)
u/oldDotredditisbetter Jan 19 '23
if it's not cost, why would they discontinue it? seems like it's just bad PR and they lose on the ability to reduce tax burden too
is the only reason to gut the entire team that's in charge of it?→ More replies (3)
u/Klarthy Jan 19 '23
How long before Amazon starts begging for charity donations as part of the checkout process like every other retailer?
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u/AdSea7995 Jan 19 '23
Even if Amazon shut shop today, it’d still be business as usual. Their AWS market has a yearly operating profit of 100 billion dollars and increasing.
u/nemocluecrj Jan 19 '23
I was working for Whole Foods corporate when Amazon bought us out. My job, in a nutshell, was developing distribution routes and running large scale logistics. First week in, they said they needed all of us in my department to go talk to everyone who does our same job at Amazon, so they flew us all out to Seattle for a few days. We had a big presentation prepped about how we'd managed to start breaking even on just about everything logistical a couple years prior, which was a huge fucking deal at the time for us.
When the worldwide head of shipping & logistics from Amazon had her turn to speak, she told us point blank, money is no longer any concern for you. I want you to throw every fucking dollar and cent you can at everything related to moving all product as quickly as it can be moved from point to point because we're going to do what we can to integrate basically everything you sell into our Prime model. We all laughed because we legit thought she was joking. Turns out, they definitely weren't joking. Their core businesses generate so much fucking money that they have no problem losing money hand over fist for anything related to shipping. Every single thing anyone has ever ordered using Amazon Prime or Amazon Fresh? It loses money. Every. fucking. time. But they make so goddamn much from AWS and a few of their other niche market positions that they just don't give a shit. They'll gladly lose every penny they can and then some to undercut everyone else's position because they basically can't spend money fast enough to keep up with what they're making.→ More replies (7)→ More replies (30)
u/HelloThere9653 Jan 19 '23
AWS does not have $100 billion in profit per year. The latest article I found said it might hit that in REVENUE in 2023.
u/Centurio Jan 19 '23
Getting real fucking tired of these companies "cutting costs" as if they're not already making record profits. I fucking hate this.
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u/Fast-Ideal5698 Jan 19 '23
These companies are really determined to cut costs ANY OTHER WAY than cutting executives’ payouts
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u/zeyore Jan 19 '23
Well, that's one of the last reasons I shopped with amazon.
I don't have anything against amazon, I just think they're too big. So I prefer to shop from other companies.
u/CalypsoWipo Jan 19 '23
I’m starting to rethink Amazon purchases all together, their greed has no bounds. I was supporting a beagle rescue I’ve rescued dogs from. This pisses me off.
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u/riptomyoldaccount Jan 19 '23
Sad news. For the last several years, I’ve only bought off of Amazon using Smile. The Food Bank here got thousands of dollars each year from Amazon Smile donations.