"You know, those little clamps that you pinch with a pair of pliers...for a lawn mower?"
The chubby guy behind the counter at the farm store stared off absently for a full thirty seconds as he attempted to grasp what I needed.
"Ooooh!" I saw that light bulb glowing dimly above his head, "Like for your fuel line! Yeah, we ain't got none of those. We do have fuel filters, though!"
My head dropped as I turned and headed for the door. I had been everywhere in this podunk town...both places and neither had those clamps I desperately needed to repair my lawn mower.
And so it goes when you live in a small town. Pray your sneaker doesn't have a blowout...not a shoe to be had in our little community since the Walmart closed down. I glanced over at the abandoned building as I drove passed it on the way home, the faded facade still sporting the outline, 'WALMART' above the shuttered doors. On down the road a ways I passed by the Sears Homestore, standing vacant and dark as the Walmart. The Sears folks had simply disappeared into the night a few weeks ago, not bothering to announce their departure. Word around town is they emptied their inventory into a U-Haul truck in the wee hours of the morning and drove away...just like that.
Arriving home, I reached for my laptop and within a minute or so had ordered those little clamps I needed from Amazon. Five clamps for less than five bucks and with my free trial of Amazon Prime, free two-day shipping! I would have easily burned twice that much in gas driving up to the city for those clamps. I chastised myself under my breath for even wasting the gas to drive to the farm store. Amazon had become a way of life for me since the closing of Wally World, and judging from the numerous packages protruding from rural mailboxes up and down my road, I'd say I'm not alone.
UPS has announced plans to hire six thousand workers as they roll out Saturday delivery. The Post Office has quit their whining about losing money. And if you need further proof, Amazon is poised to hire five thousand new workers, work-from-home customer service representatives, to handle their constantly mushrooming business. Meanwhile, Walmart, Sears, JC Pennys, and Payless Shoes are locking up stores faster than a loose woman after a rich man.
The world as we knew it changed as we binged out on Netflix with glazed-over eyes. Actually quite rapidly, I believe. Like overnight! We, unable to pry ourselves away from continuous episodes of 'Supergirl' and 'The 100,' began to discover we just simply didn't want to leave our homes. So, in desperation and a dire need for supplies like shampoo and underwear, we turned to Amazon.com. By the droves!
Here's how I know...I have a few websites here and there. Why? They have from time to time made me some pocket change. In fact, those pesky Google ads that annoy all of you so much paid off my house and my pickup. And I still had enough fun money left over to occasionally chase a few women on Saturday night. But over the past few months, my revenues from Google have dwindled dramatically. I'm talking no more Happy Hour at Sonic!
Google considers themselves the god (little g) of the internet. Trust me, they do. The very thing that made google GOOGLE was their advertising and since their conception, the company has shared a portion of their revenues with webmasters who are willing to place ads on their sites. But I think Google has fallen asleep at the wheel, perhaps like those retailers going under on a daily basis.
I have gotten accustomed to my pocket change...that monthly check from Google, and as those checks became smaller and less frequent, I began searching for something more. During the past few weeks I have redesigned most of my websites, The Rusty Goat included, and incorporated Amazon ads throughout them, trimming down Google's presence. And the result? A two hundred percent increase in revenues! Yes, I admit I am overwhelmed as I wipe tears of happiness from my face.
Not only do I sell my books exclusively on Amazon (pocket change) I am now a die-hard Amazon Associate (more pocket change.) But in spite of the income, I am able to garnish from the company, I am also a true believer in the concept of Amazon. As a frequent Amazon shopper, I save significant money...even more since going Prime. My stuff shows up in the mailbox in two days and I have a world of variety to choose from when I shop. And I can shop while bingeing on 'The Heart of Dixie.'
Here's a rundown of my Amazon purchases this month:
Ariat Western Boots $100.00 (Western Store $169.00)
Imitation Rogaine 3 bottles $18.00 (Walmart 1 bottle $12.00)
Blades and belt for the riding mower $35.00 (Sears 80.00)
Cabin filter for the pickup $7.00 (Auto Zone 15.00)
European virgin human hair toupee for men $105.00...I didn't really buy that! Just seeing if you are paying attention.
I gotta wrap this up. The Smoke Shop in town was out of my Irish Latte Vape Juice. What if Amazon doesn't have that? Cinnamon, cotton candy, watermelon...this may take a while. Hemp flavored...wonder what that tastes like?
What is our world going to look like in five years if all the stores close down? Heck, we'll never know, we will be streaming Amazon movies and shopping online for popcorn...hey, here's something called 'Horny Goat Weed,' Interesting...