Amazon Prime Day was billed as Christmas in July and the competitor to Black Friday. But to the dismay of many anxious shoppers, the whole event has been labeled a bust. Digital Savant Omar Gallaga of the Austin American-Statesman stopped by the Texas Standard to sort out the mess.
Did you buy anything?
“I actually did. I bought an Amazon Echo, the speaker that has voice commands – and it was because I was already eyeing it and I was looking for a price drop before I commit. I think it’s $189 usually – I got it for $129. And I’m already an Amazon Prime member, so I didn’t have to pony up for that.”
Why was Amazon Prime Day ridiculed online for having the lousiest deals?
“I think people…had an idea of what they wanted to be on sale. They probably wanted Macbooks, Android phones, and things they that they would actually buy. But it was kind of a mishmash of chef’s hats, toys that they wouldn’t normally buy, and iPhone cases that they didn’t need. So I think people were looking at the lightning deals, the ones that were staggered throughout the day, and the ones that were attractive…the 4K TVs, and the Echo, for instance, were sold out pretty quickly. So if you didn’t act right away, you weren’t going to get them.”
It seemed hard to tell whether we were actually getting deals, or whether this was just stuff Amazon wanted to get rid of.
“This is the same thing that happens on Black Friday. You go in thinking, I’m going to get deals on stuff that I actually want, and it ends up being just a big garbage pile…of things that you wouldn’t buy anyway. But apparently Amazon sold a lot of stuff. They sold 35,000 Blu-ray sets of ‘Lord of the Rings,’ they sold 28,000 Rubbermaid sets. So the things that people actually did want to buy sold really well…and it wasn’t just about selling products. Amazon was trying to sell Prime subscriptions. And if that was the goal, I think Amazon came out pretty well.”
Was the hype around Amazon Prime Day actually just a second-tier faux news story from media outlets trying to look tech-savvy?
“This is Amazon’s 20th anniversary – it was them saying…’We have enough weight in the world that we are going to create this thing out of whole air.’ And for them it probably worked out great. Now what you have to wonder is, balance that with the perception that Amazon now has of…an emporium of garbage. But the people that did get good deals, the people that did buy those Blu-rays of ‘Lord of the Rings’ probably are pretty happy with the purchases they got. Everyone else on Twitter though…had a good time yesterday complaining, and making memes, and just having some fun with it.”