Fake Amazon Mom Babies Are OK With Amazon

A blog about business and economics.
Dec. 18 2013 10:12 AM

Amazon Gives Thumbs Up to Fake Babies

186224726
Packing stuff up for all the fake moms and dads

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

When I explained earlier this week that you don't need a real baby to get Amazon Mom discounts, I really never thought I'd end up at the receiving end of a lot of dim-witted faux-populist moralistic outrage since I think it's pretty clear that Amazon is a sophisticated firm that's perfectly capable of coming up with a better verification process if it really meant to limit the program to authentic parents. What it's doing is a little bit of price discrimination. People who take the trouble to sign up for Amazon Mom get a discount. The program is targeted at parents because parents are thought to be a more price-sensitive group.

Josh Barro brings sweet vindication in the form of a statement from Scott Stanzel, Amazon's director of consumer communications:

We’re happy to have all Moms and Dads in the program, although parents with imaginary children won’t be able to take full advantage of the great discounts on diapers and other baby products that the program is designed to provide.
Advertisement

In terms of Amazon's longer-term corporate goals, it's pretty likely that I will have a real baby one of these days and now that I'm already in the program it seems very likely that I'll turn to Amazon as my supplier of choice for diapers and so forth. Meanwhile, thanks to this controversy perhaps more people have learned about Subscribe & Save and Amazon Mom discounts—programs Amazon has presumably created because they want people to use them. I only wonder if Amazon wouldn't consider changing the name of the program to "Amazon Parent" or something. Dads need to buy stuff too.

December 18 Update: Stanzel emailed me to draw attention to additional remarks he sent to Josh Barro after the publication of Barro's original piece—"We are using the honor system, and we expect the vast majority of users to be honest." He did not, however, say that my Amazon Mom account is going to be canceled. 

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

The Ludicrous Claims Women Are Pitched at “Egg Freezing Parties”

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

Behold
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 AM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 1 2014 12:20 PM Don’t Expect Hong Kong’s Protests to Spread to the Mainland
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 1 2014 12:21 PM How One Entrepreneur Is Transforming Blood Testing
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 11:59 AM Ask a Homo: A Lesbian PDA FAQ
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 10:54 AM “I Need a Pair of Pants That Won’t Bore Me to Death” Troy Patterson talks about looking sharp, flat-top fades, and being Slate’s Gentleman Scholar.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 12:26 PM Where Do I Start With Leonard Cohen?
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 AM Watch a Crowd Go Wild When Steve Jobs Moves a Laptop in This 1999 Demonstration of WiFi
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 1 2014 12:01 PM Rocky Snow
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.