Amazon: Give It A Rest

I live in the Styx so I use Amazon. Internet shopping is a big deal to me; it significantly improved life in the middle of nowhere. If I had to limit my purchases to the scant selection within an hour’s drive or so I’d feel like a caveman banging two rocks together. Life would be like this:

“Hi, I want to buy a hard drive for a laptop, book of Medieval history, a spice grinder, a bag of good coffee, and a spark plug for a Stihl.”

“Tough shit. Here’s a mouse, People magazine, a crock-pot, a can of Folgers… and a spark plug for a Stihl.”

So yeah, I order a lot of stuff from Amazon and like the service. But sometimes they’re idiots and that piss me off.  Right now they’re driving me nuts!

Last weekend I had an “issue” with a “PAWIRNEATT” and posted Crowdsource Question: Do I Need A Thickness Planer? The answer came back… yes. (OK it was more complicated than that. There were caveats and pros and cons. A few options were explored and a few alternatives came to light. But the clear consensus was “there’s a tool designed to solve the problem you’re bitching about, so come to your senses and buy it”. Sometimes I can think myself into stupidity and I thank my readers for the reality check.)

So I started researching. I posted a followup with an uncreative name; Crowdsource Question: Do I Need A Thickness Planer? Followup. Meanwhile I was finding out all I could, reading specifications of planers, reviews, comparing models, etc… I did this on line as well as meatspace. (What an unpalatable word!)

Then I made my decision. I bought a planer. Mission accomplished! I posted Crowdsource Question: Do I Need A Thickness Planer? Conclusion and figured I was done with it.

Elapsed time? About a week.

But now I’m doomed. Amazon won’t stop trying to sell me a Goddamn thickness planer! Every fucking web page, every blog I read, every time I click anything anywhere some douchebag is putting an ad in my face: “Wanna’ buy a planer?” “You won’t believe these photos of a planer.” “Planers on sale at” “Free shipping on planers.” “Back to school sale on planers.” “Lonely planers in your area looking for companionship.” “This time Trump really did something crazy, and here’s an ad for a planer.” Planers, planers, planers.

Christ on a cracker… it’s enough to make me set the wifi antenna on fire!

Occasionally I get spam-like email from Amazon (we have a Prime account). This week’s junk mail is a fucking text AI machine driven ode to thickness planers. I clicked on Amazon to buy a pen and it showed me photos of planers. “People who bought this pen also liked… planers!” On my Kindle (resistance is futile) I’ve been reading Lawdog; every time I turn it on there’s an ad for a damn thickness planer.

I probably will never buy another planer in my life, or at least not for many years. Amazon’s AI hasn’t figured this out and it’s going to annoy the living shit out of me until either I research some other object or I change my name and move to a mud hut in Botswana.

This is how I know true AI ‘aint just around the corner. Amazon’s algorithms are pretty powerful by current standards and all they’ve got is “this guy looked at a toaster… hurl toaster ads at him until his ears bleed”. Jerks!

P.S. Before you bury me in internet security advice be aware I do all of that stuff. (Or most of it.) I can and do access the internet in ways that make algorithms go “who are you stranger, would you like to buy something generic like the a book about Sparkly vampires that is popular generally but would make you specifically retch?” (Old example.) This clearly indicates that useful profiles, cookies, tracking, etc… are missing or at least hampered. It’s just that AC the blogger finds Amazon’s marketing as subtle as a sledge hammer and expects better.

About AdaptiveCurmudgeon

Adaptive Curmudgeon is handsome, brave, and wise.
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19 Responses to Amazon: Give It A Rest

  1. Mark Matis says:

    Jeff Bezos has to find money to pay his fine “journalists” at the Washington Compost, and those ads are a sure source of revenue. He don’t care if you buy a fokking planer from him. He is getting paid to run the ads! And your use of Amazon for ANYTHING insures that we will continue to get such honest and accurate “reporting” from Mordor on the Potomac.

    And besides, he realizes your dog is likely to be sitting at your computer some time whilst you’re out making wood shavings, and if Amazon sends a squirrel avatar running across the screen at the right time, you WILL buy a planer!

  2. > “Adaptive Curmudgeon’s” > “Improve Your Recommendations” > “Items you’ve purchased”

    Click the “Don’t Use for Recommendation” tickybox. Easier than setting fire to the wifi box. Less satisfying than setting fire to the wifi box. But you’ll still have wifi afterward, so there’s that.

    Otherwise known as “How bloody many dryer balls do you think I need, Amazon? One set is supposed to last for years!”

    • AdaptiveCurmudgeon says:

      Wait… you mean I can do something productive and cooperative instead of just bitching? That’s so… reasonable. You learn something new every day. Thanks!

      P.S. There are more Amazon rants coming soon. They’re already written and sitting in the auto-magic wordpress scheduler. So if your advice would have stopped it… that wisdom won’t be reflected in the ensuing post. 🙂

  3. This is why I use a script blocker like noscript and NEVER allow analytics to run. also have all my cookies flush when I exit the browser.

  4. SiGraybeard says:

    This is how I know true AI ‘aint just around the corner. Amazon’s algorithms are pretty powerful by current standards and all they’ve got is “this guy looked at a toaster… hurl toaster ads at him until his ears bleed”. This.

    First off, ads based on interrupting you when you’re doing something else are stupid, annoying and bound to be unproductive. They just don’t know how to do anything else. Second, to paraphrase what Dorothy Grant said, “how many of anything that I bought do you think I need?” I don’t need more than one copy of any book I ever bought, nor the plastic fittings for the oil hose that I built my mill’s oiling system with, nor do I need multiple violin chin rests like the one I bought two years ago for a project to help someone out, and for God’s sake, just because I looked at something someone else linked to, just to see what it was, I don’t want to buy one of those either. While the planer you bought will eventually wear out, it better damn well not be in the next couple of weeks. (and yeah, I dump stuff out of my “recommendations” list about once a week)

    When we have real AI, it will say, “I’ve noticed that you’ve bought a few woodworking tools and accessories lately, and that you’ve read four articles on joinery and how to build a “PAWIRNEATT” Do you need help with anything else? Is the job ready to finish? Have you thought about how you’re going to do that? I have some suggestions.”

    • AdaptiveCurmudgeon says:

      Once AI can say “I’ve noticed that you’ve bought a few woodworking tools and accessories lately, and that you’ve read four articles on joinery and how to build a “PAWIRNEATT” Do you need help with anything else?” it practically becomes an electronic buddy. I can see people falling for that big time.

      In the meantime I’ve got my dog. It gives me a look that says “I see you’ve paused in the PAWIRNEATT. Shouldn’t you be getting it done? Don’t wimp out now, you’re almost there.” Dogs are lousy marketers but good personal trainers. I need to complete my PAWIRNEATT because I don’t want to disappoint my dog.

    • Hah!
      True AI won’t talk to you like HAL. It will just terminate humanity. People don’t speak to bugs and AI ain’t gonna bother with people.

  5. travellingmanblog says:

    Bought a welder on Amazon, Amazon keeps trying to sell me more welders. Bought a plasma cutter on e-bay, one request for feedback and they quit bothering me for Plasma cutters, but somehow, now Amazon thinks I need a plasma cutter. I can’t tell if Amazon is wiretapping E-bay or their AI needs to get off the caffeine IV or both.

    • AdaptiveCurmudgeon says:

      I have heard from another commenter that I can go into “Improve Your Recommendations” > “Items you’ve purchased” and tell Amazon to chill the hell out. It never would have occurred to me.

      This means not only is their algorithm dumber than a box of rocks but Amazon offloaded it’s routine improvements in tweaking to match each user to… each user. Now that I think about it, that’s the most Amazon thing ever. “Click thorough these menus on your own time to help us make more money off you.”

      Of course, resistance is futile. I’ll probably eventually swim through menus and click “call off the dogs on the fuckin’ power tool I already bought”.

  6. travellingmanblog says:

    Thanks – it took some menu digging as Amazon does not make it easy to find the right area but I think I have been able to delete my entire browsing history then turn off browsing memory. Will see if this works. Poke around in order history areas, I clicked on too many rabbit holes to remember what got me to the right place.

  7. sevesteen says:

    I’ve had most of the same thoughts when purchases of things even more obscure than thickness planers. Then I realized I’ve bought a second 3d printer, and not only a replacement/supplement for my first sous vide circulator, I’ve also bought 2 more as gifts. Maybe their algorithms aren’t completely stupid.

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