‘AmazonDash’ To Serve

By David Vu

 

 

By Cassandra Vick

 

 

The week is well underway and you are probably swamped with homework on top of having to go to class, work, clubs, and any other responsibilities you may have. You are also running low on food. You don’t have bread to make sandwiches, and no milk for cereal. That’s okay; just say the word, and you’re done.

Amazon recently released an addition to AmazonFresh, a subsidiary of the company that allows customers to order groceries online and have those groceries delivered to their house. The addition is called AmazonDash. AmazonDash is a wand-like device with a built in microphone and barcode scanner that allows consumers to simply say, or scan, a product from their kitchen and then the wand, using a Wi-Fi connection, will directly add the item to the consumer’s AmazonFresh grocery list.

The AmazonFresh online grocery market was released in 2007 in Seattle, WA, and has been expanded to San Francisco and Southern California since; however, the introduction of AmazonDash, if successful, will surely make it a household name. This product could potentially redefine grocery shopping. Now, online grocery shopping is not a new concept, there are several major, and minor, grocery companies that offer it, but with Amazon’s widespread popularity and this society’s tendency toward evolving technology, it is predictable that this new system will take off and Amazon will continue to undermine companies that have been providing to consumers for years.

Like all new advances, AmazonDash has its advantages as well as its disadvantages. Economically, while AmazonDash may draw business away from larger grocery companies like Von’s and Albertsons, there is the potential for economic benefit with the new service. As AmazonDash expands and more consumers utilize it, Amazon will be forced to create more jobs in order maintain the company from the inside, as well as hire more drivers to deliver to the growing customer base. Furthermore, direct delivery may prove to be more environmentally efficient, hopefully drawing away from the use of paper and plastic grocery bags used by in-store shoppers.

AmazonDash may be both beneficial and detrimental to its users socially as well. On the positive end, AmazonDash is a gift to the elderly and others who have a hard time getting themselves around the house, let alone around town. Now consumers don’t even have to take the time to search the products on their computers, just a flick of the AmazonDash wand and the groceries are on their doorstep within a day; it’s almost magic. But think about the toll it could take on the population’s already declining social interactions.

Think about that cliché romantic comedy scene where the woman meets the man in the grocery store, they flirt, he asks her out on a date, and a lifetime of happiness and romance is born. Those kinds of happy accidents and social opportunities will be buried; the woman will just tell her AmazonDash stick that she needs milk and eggs while she watches TV, and the man will tell the wand that he needs more coffee from inside his kitchen while he’s brewing his last cup.

AmazonDash seems like a good idea; it’s convenient, quick, and perhaps heaven-sent to the working class that needs to work miserable hours in order to even afford groceries in the first place. On the contrary, when I imagine the future implications of AmazonDash, I’m frightened by the scene from the Disney movie Wall-E, in which the people appear to be dangerously overweight because they sit on their hover-chairs and watch TV with everything they need available to them where they sit, never having to get up for food, water, the restroom etc. While AmazonDash’s convenience is admirable, it may further discourage consumers from ever leaving their house other than to go to work. That is a physical and social risk to consumers everywhere, especially in a country that is already ranked as one of the most obese as it is. AmazonDash could certainly be a beneficial success to consumers, but the risks that accompany it encourage reluctance to inviting the development with open arms. ]

 

Cassandra Vick is a second year psychology and social behavior major. She can be reached at cvick@uci.edu.