Of Stick Vacuums, Amazon, and Probabilities

Kenny Brechner -- September 26th, 2019

I would have thought that the probability of my ever buying something from Amazon was zero. Yet when I took the quiz below I got a surprising result.

Would you shop at Amazon if…

  1. it saved you money

Yes

No ✓

Not sure

  1. It was really convenient

Yes

No ✓

Not sure

  1. It would reverse climate change

Yes

No ✓

Not sure

  1. It would save the life of a child who is dear to you

Yes

No ✓

Not sure

Probability index of ever shopping at Amazon in your lifetime – 50%

I couldn’t see how the quiz resulted in a 50% probability score. That changed a few days later when our stalwart home stick vacuum of many years gave out. As I researched the modern world of stick vacuums it become clear to me that there were two kinds of people, Dyson people and Shark people. I perceived that my wife and I were Dyson people. Furthermore, reading through a variety of reviews, I determined  that there were three vacuum makers to consider. First off was Dyson of course, but there were two other strong options in the Dyson genre: Tineco,and Onson. I quickly realized that the Onson was only available in one style and only sold at Amazon.

The choice then came down to the Dyson Absolute 8 and either the Tineco A 11 Hero or the Tineco A 11 Master. It looked like a toughie until I discovered something. The Tineco company, though appearing to be independently owned, is exclusively sold and distributed through Amazon. There is no other place to buy one. I bought a Dyson.

I understand now that the 50% probability had to do with a different question. Would you be willing to live in a world where Dyson too was owned and or distributed exclusively through Amazon, where Amazon is not only difficult to avoid purchasing from but impossible, in which Amazon not only has exclusive ownership of both large-scale publishing and self-publishing arms but exclusive distribution of many independently owned publishers as well?

The answer to that is I don’t know but I’ll find out soon if the scope of the monopolistic power Amazon is bringing to bear through leveraging their marketplace and distribution systems to control access to third party producers is not recognized and acted on quickly. Will the antitrust scrutiny being brought to bear now bring enough understanding, urgency and resolve to bear to avoid that world? The probability index of that is 50%.

2 thoughts on “Of Stick Vacuums, Amazon, and Probabilities

  1. Carol B Chittenden

    Is there a list of wholly-owned and exclusively Amazon brands? Oh, never mind. I’ll never need to know, because I’ll never want to shop there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *