Appreciating Amazon

I called my grandmother on Sunday. My family calls her Mom-mom.

I heard from my mother that Mom-mom was planning to go to the grocery store to get a few things, so I called Mom-mom again yesterday to ask her what she needed. I told her that I could order it to be delivered to her doorstep instead. I told her I wanted to do that.

Mom-mom lives in Florida. She is 85 years old. She told me on Sunday that she had never seen anything like this and it all really felt like a movie. She had also never seen anything like grocery delivery service through Amazon, and I could hardly get her to tell me anything she needed from the store. I have found that one of the ways in which I am most different from most people is that I make an effort to welcome and even seek change because change is the only constant and it is the means by which we grow. The human tendency, however, (and my natural inclination is no different) is to fear change, to resist it, to avoid it all costs. That is why a lot of people are refusing to comply with social distancing until they are forced to do so by law or by closure of the place they usually go. That is also why Mom-mom just wanted to go to the grocery store, because that is what she always does.

Still, I managed to get her to tell me that she eats eggs and cooks pasta and uses almond milk. We agreed I would wait to hear from her tomorrow after she went to the store in case she could not get anything there, but I thought I could change her mind if I showed her what was possible. I ordered the three things that she mentioned and some chocolate (the one other thing I knew she would eat) from Whole Foods on Amazon at 3:01pm yesterday. The package was delivered at 5:02pm.

In the midst of all this madness, I am truly amazed by Amazon. They made a 2 hour and 1 minute delivery from order click to delivery confirmation during a global pandemic when the company is well into uncharted territory in terms of its demand. I acted unimpressed when Mom-mom called me to tell me I fooled her and that she got the food because I wanted her to think it was all no big deal nowadays so that she would accept it moving forward instead of going out. The fact of the matter, however, is that it is a big deal. The reality is that it is not normal. What Amazon did yesterday, what it is doing today, and what it will do again tomorrow and the next day and the next day could not have been done at this scale with this speed in this crazy environment at any other time in the history of the world.

It is for reasons like this that I cannot be convinced that all technology is all bad, or that the big companies are all evil, or that the people who run them are all greedy and ill-willed. They may not be perfect, nobody is, but many of them are doing what they can to build what they believe will be a better world, and many of them, like Amazon, have done an unbelievable job. Whenever I decide to dip back into the stock market, Amazon is the first company that I will buy a share in. There are a lot of people and a lot of companies that are doing amazing things in the face of adversity. All of them deserve appreciation.

I am thankful for Amazon today.