For the shopaholics: Would you pretend to be a Mom to get their store discount? It’s an ethical question that popped into the spotlight in mid-December 2013 with a sparring match between two bloggers. Subject: Pros and cons of sneaking into a free Moms-only membership club offering free shipping & other mini-deals.
Matthew Yglesias, business and economics correspondent for Slate. drew first blood with a post titled: “Amazon Mom: Save Money With a Fake Baby (or a real one if applicable). A day later, Adam Weinstein responded on Gawker with this headline: “No, It’s Not Okay to Make Up a Kid for the Amazon Discount“.
Yes, two men are arguing about a program ‘exclusively’ for mothers. Makes the conversation even more twisted, don’t it?
Not that gender really matters when the Web is the communications medium. I mean, obviously, the man that pretends to have a kid to join the club has to pretend to be a woman, too. Anything’s possible because Amazon Moms doesn’t have sign-up requirements (like, what? a PDF of the baby’s birth certificate?). Much of the program is kid-oriented, as it should be (20% off diapers and wipes). The other ‘savings’ didn’t seem that big to me, but that’s where the bloggers’ fight got deep.
Fired up at the audacity of the act, Mr. Weinstein made it personal:
“Matt Yglesias—that special little liberaltarian snowflake who owns two homes in Washington, D.C., with a total assessed value of roughly $1.5 million —isn’t just trying to get by.”
But, the snipe introduced another dimension to the basic question: Do mothers deserve opportunities to save more money than the rest of us. Mr. Weinstein added this one: What if Childless You really needs some financial help for day-to-day life, too?
Commenters on both sides compared Mom discounts to those for seniors and students, and a whole bunch of people happily confessed to abusing them all. Talk threads on blogs wandered off down dark paths about reproductive choices, parental tax breaks and The American Way.
Me, the worst I ever did was park in the ‘For Moms-to-Be’ space at the grocery store. I never thought once about intentionally jamming myself into a Moms-only program. (There was that one time I joined a blogging group with ‘Moms” in the title because the woman told me that in truth, everyone was welcome. Yeah, right.) So, knowing that about me, let me tell you the gospel about Amazon Moms:
It attracts women to Amazon.com and keeps them shopping over the long-term.
That’s it. Every business, every service, every nonprofit doing the Lord’s work is looking for women. We buy for ourselves and our families that can extend to husbands, elder parents and relatives, friends and others. We generally control health care decisions for our households. I hate to quote Beyoncé, but who run the world? We do. EVERY WOMAN, with children and without.
I don’t see Amazon Moms varying from the same old Mad Men strategy advertisers have used forever. Hook in a Mom and you’ve got her for at least 18 years if you swing it right. And those Moms, they talk to each other and one will tell another one and…that’s the thinking. The problem, as I see it, is that their greedy dreams are too small.
Why not design a program for everywoman, with opt-ins for diapers and Mom stuff? It would be infinitely more fair…and more money for the sponsor. After Summer 2013 headlines screaming, OMG There Are Women Without Kids In the US!, an all-inclusive program would show that somebody on Madison Avenue is paying attention.