I wish Amazon would be transparent about why it is ending AmazonSmile

I am often tempted to call my doctor to discuss all the salt pills I have just swallowed when I see a sales pitch that says, “If we sell our product, we will donate a portion to this deserving charity.” I am aware that the amount of money that can be transferred to the charity will probably be very low and that there will be tax advantages for the company that will outweigh any potential loss in profit. This is why I will. It’s better to send cash to the organizations that I support.

Despite all that, I must admit that I made an exception for AmazonSmile. As an Amazon customer, I was able to choose from a variety of charities that would receive a small donation for every purchase. This program has been around for a decade. It probably felt just fine because, as far as I could tell, it didn’t really affect my buying habits — there was nothing I bought on Amazon that I wouldn’t have had if the software wasn’t there. It also probably felt a little self-justifying — that new Amazon smartwatch is kind of an indulgence, but at least a little bit of the cost is going to Planned Parenthood.

It is true, I do admit it. It made me feel better about Amazon.

Although my purchase was not significant, I felt good about it.

So I received an email confirming that. Amazon was leaving Amazon SmileI was disappointed in the email, along with self-justified marketing language that reads almost as if it came straight from a business school textbook.

I don’t like to quote everything. It can be difficult to read after some time. After saying that “the software hasn’t evolved to the effect we originally hoped” — you’d think that if that were the case, it would have taken Amazon less than 10 years to figure it out — the speech went on, as might be expected, to talk about all the other cool projects they’ve made. Amazon will follow. Also, while we are closing the charity program, look at all the great things we do to help the community!

Here’s my favorite line: “Once AmazonSmile closes, charities will still have the ability to solicit support from Amazon customers through creating their own wish list.” Amazon expects Doctors Without Borders to make lists of medical supplies that Amazon customers will be able to buy for them.

Amazon didn’t either. You haveTo create AmazonSmile in the first place

This is not something I should dwell on. Amazon did the same thing. You haveTo create AmazonSmile. Amazon Smile is not one of the many things you can say about Amazon. It’s a good thing he has been around for so many years.

However, I sometimes wish that these PR departments would be more open with me about these things. Instead of focusing on how ineffective a 10-year old charitable program is, and how the company will still help deserving people, I think Amazon should have sent a simple note saying:

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