It’s everywhere these days, on the internet and our doorsteps, in our inboxes and our mailboxes. You guessed it, I’m talking about Amazon.


Do you mean The Amazon, as in river, or Amazons, as in the warrior women of Greek myth?


We should be so lucky, Lily. I’m talking about the retail giant that seems to have a finger in every household’s pie, especially since COVID kept us all isolated for so long.


Last week I mentioned a shipment from Amazon that arrived slashed open, empty, and noted as such by a sticker the post office must have affixed to it somewhere in route from Idaho. You remember:


Seen around town in my own mailbox! The empty package from Amazon.


Looks like some of those warrior women got into it!


Stranger things have happened, 9, and I’ll get to that later.


To resolve this particular problem I called Amazon customer service the day the pilfered package arrived, reported the order number details, and was told I’d get my replacement loot the next day. By the end of the week it still hadn’t arrived so I called again. This time customer service did a complete follow-through (I didn’t realize the first rep I talked to hadn’t done this because it was a new experience for me). I was not only told the items were being re-sent, but was shown this online in my Amazon account. One week after the initial issue arose, this arrived:


Amazon comes through- -missing items replaced!


Voila! Protein bars and swimmer’s body wash, just in the nick of time!! Amazon came through, and in the meantime I’d received one of three books I’d ordered from them, too. But. . .


Is this the “stranger thing”?


It is to me, 9. Lots of people these days are used to being given information by digital sources. I kind of am, but I’m kind of not. Amazon sends all kinds of emails tracking the delivery of my orders, and when they post that something has been delivered I’ve usually found it on my doorstep or in my mailbox already. That’s no big deal, but what I can’t get used to is sometimes things I order from Amazon arrive on a Sunday. After a lifetime of conditioning to the rule that absolutely nothing gets delivered to residences on a Sunday I never really expect it.


This past Sunday I was minding my own business, doing a computer tutorial on the annual reporting process for a non-profit organization I belong to- -in short, being a good citizen. When I came to a good stopping place and checked my email I was informed by Amazon that another one of the books I’d ordered was in my mailbox.


On a Sunday?


Yes, Lily, and it creeped me out at first- –


Like you were being watched or something?


Exactly like that, 9! Like figuring out the noise in the basement isn’t the household cat disposing of a mouse. You hear human footsteps on the stairs, and- –




But Lily, they were right! There was a book in my mailbox. . .on a Sunday. . .


“The NSA Files” A Shaman Detective Novel by Terry Persun, delivered (on a Sunday!) via Amazon.


Honestly, isn’t it eerie that Amazon knows things that are going inside my mailbox that I don’t know about yet?


I’m trying to let go of that feeling, and I certainly plan to enjoy The NSA Files by Terry Persun. Since he writes speculative fiction the “Amazon as Big Brother” feeling might even set the appropriate reading mood. . .


It’s a different world than the one I grew up in. As a society we’ve traded off some of our privacy for conveniences we never dreamed of and that we don’t really need.


Where are you going with this?


Excellent question, Lily. The singularity- – what philosophers define as a future period during which the pace of technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human life will be irreversibly transformed- -is here, don’t-cha-think? Online shopping and social media in all its forms have definitely arrived. They’ve changed the way we shop and the way we communicate with each other.


Good? Bad? Scary? Like every other kind of technological advance it depends on what humans do with it. I try to keep it balanced, buy local when I can and make phone calls now and then instead of relying on email, texts, or Facebook messaging. Sometimes I even write letters.


Balance between convenience and privacy, expedience and personal contact.


The will to recognize and keep the best parts of both.


(But not on in my mailbox on a Sunday, okay?)

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