The Amazon Dash Button: Is this for real!?

The Amazon Dash Button: Is this for real!?

Okay so yes, this is real. The future of consumerism folks, right here. 

Amazon dash buttons are these little branded buttons you can affix to anything in your home. When you press the button (which cost $4.99) it will automatically send an order to your amazon account and you will receive items in the next few days. You can get these buttons for everything from dishwasher detergent, to dorito's. I've no idea how it works but it looks mental.

Just, what!

My brain was at first confused by this, then I thought maybe it was some kind of late April Fool.

Then having looked into it a bit more, we realized, this is an actual thing. People are being invited to buy these buttons, and put them all over their home, so that they never need suffer the pain of running out of all their stuff at once, ever again.

The horror of using the last of something, with what, at least a 10-minute drive (or even more ghastly, a 20-minute walk) to the nearest massive supermarket. Apparently it's so hard being a person in this world where we have everything at close hand, that we need our consumption decisions simplified even further for us...

With the Amazon dash, you no longer need to even THINK about what you are consuming, like don't even form thoughts, just put your best pressing finger forward. You don't have to use your memory, or make a shopping list, or even leave the house, you can just consume with the press of an ugly little button.

Amazon, you have my permission to use this as your key marketing slogan, winky face.

Some people might see this as as a quirky novelty, that they will buy for fun, thinking it mighthelp them out in their busy lives. I still think it is a tad over the top.

The comedy of this situation on the amazon website is worth a look though. For example, one user asked this on the questions section:

"If I put this in my bedroom, will it still order the Tide detergent? Or does it have to be on the washing machine?"

With one witty person replying:

"If you put this in your bedroom it will order "Tide the Musical" on dvd or bluray, depending of course on which type of media player it is near. It has room-aware technology as well as spatial-visualisation abilities which allow it to analyse which objects it's nested by. So yes, it must be placed in the same room as the washing machine."

It's just, kinda ugly, no?

Same goes for the above button, you have to attach the button to an actual Dorito (other brands of chips are available) for the button to recognize the flavour and order accordingly. It also feeds on the crisp to sustain battery levels...

All jokes aside, to think of just one negative implication of this somewhat to-be-expected development in online ordering, is how this further increases the reach of already established brands, quashing competition and discouraging people to experiment with off-brand, cheaper products.

Not only that, but you are essentially being encouraged to fill your home with advertising, disguised as helpful consumer gadgetry. By displaying the branding everywhere in your home, for every guest visiting to see, you will be advocating only these brands.

Have we not go enough advertising in our world already?! Check out this crazy video we made about advertising:

I have never yet cared what brand of anything my friends might use, but surely, narrowing the field of choice down for consumers and the people they can influence, isn't that majorly questionable?

And what about if you get some joker come in your house and go around pressing all the buttons? Amazon is careful to say how you receive an email to confirm your order where you can then delete it. So is it really that convenient anyway?

I can't many people wanting these in their homes though truthfully, but I do just think they are kinda unsightly. I wouldn't print off a photo of my washing up liquid and frame it, put it on the wall, and stand back to admire. I wouldn't do this either.

But also, are people really that far disconnected from their consumption that they will happily swap using their minds to consider purchasing decisions, to get the best deal for them, for just giving into the ease of these brand-associated buttons.

I like to think that the reason minimalism and frugal living is becoming a popular idea for so many is because people are rejecting mindless consumerism, and all the associated debt, stress and waste.

I know that my journey to a minimalist lifestyle means I look at this button with a lot of eye-rolling. It seems like the two movements, of minimalism and materialism, are both gaining momentum, almost as a reaction to one another.

As mindful consumerism builds a loyal, loud and influential following, big companies push harder in the direction of the down-right silly to get their consumerist message across.

Maybe some people will think this is just a convenient little gadget, only one or two steps away from 1-click ordering.

Maybe they will get a few of the buttons, just to experiment with the ease.

Maybe they will end up resembling the couch-potato blob people from Wall-E. Did I take a big leap?


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Hannah and Taran here. We hail from Southern England, where we met online and are now realizing our mutual passion for travel here at Nomad'erHowFar. We discuss Nomadic Living, Simplifying your Life and Long-term Travel, to empower, motivate and inspire our readers. Get to know us here!

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