Frisco

Notes on an Actual Amazon Press Release for Its New Frisco Store

Again, this is an actual press release. And I have some thoughts.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: On Wednesday, November 6, Amazon 4-star opened at the Stonebriar Centre in Frisco, Texas—our first Amazon 4-star in the greater Dallas region and sixth Amazon 4-star location nationwide.

Southwest Center Mall loses once again. Sorry, they changed it back to Red Bird Mall, didn’t they? Oh, it’s actually The Shops at RedBird? How fancy! In any case, Frisco, true to its slogan, is “progress in motion.” For example, there are four Walmarts in Frisco already.

Amazon 4-star is a new physical store that makes it fun and easy for customers to shop and discover products they’ll love.

Let me see if I understand. You create a company so efficient and so enormous that it now accounts for about half of all online sales in the United States, driving some physical retailers out of business. R.I.P., Forever 21. Then, having freed up some physical space, you physically move into it. Jeff Bezos, you are a genius. Except for the part where you cheated on your wife and, after “a long period of loving exploration and trial separation,” had to pay her $38 billion to be physically divorced. Apologies for the ad hominem attack. That was uncalled for. Love your Fire TV!

The store carries highly rated products from the top categories across all of Amazon.com including devices, consumer electronics, kitchen, home, toys, books, games, and more. Everything in store is rated 4 stars and above by our customers or is a top seller or is new and trending on Amazon.com.

What about stuff that has a round shape or is smaller than a breadbox or makes beeps when you plug it in? Because it seems like you’re saying Amazon 4-star will sell just about everything on Amazon.com, especially given that vast networks of paid reviewers are often able to elevate cheap Chinese crap in the search results.

Our stores are highly-curated and a direct reflection of our customers—what they’re buying and what they’re loving.

“Highly” is an adverb and doesn’t take a hyphen there.

Throughout the store, there are features like “Most-Wished-For Books on Amazon.com,” “Live Your Best Life,” “This Season’s Top Toys,” and “Seasonal Decor” along with customer review cards with quotes from actual customer reviews to make it easy and fun for customers to discover great products they’ll love.

How about a feature like “Items That Will Wind Up in Your Garage” or “Bric-a-brac That Only Your Mother-in-law Would Buy on a Friday Night After Four Glasses of Chard While Watching the Hallmark Channel”?

Our device section gives customers the opportunity to test drive Amazon devices and accessories—including Echo and smart home accessories that work with Alexa—while having Amazon 4-star associates on hand to answer questions.

Ah, now I get it. It’s the data, isn’t it? It’s always about the data. The Echo and Fire TV, they are data-collection devices. And that data is used to drive more sales, not really help me discover products I’ll love. Everything in the store has already been discovered by everybody, including me. You know what I want—or at least what I want to buy. But that’s oftentimes dog food, which isn’t much of a discovery. And so I come to the words of Jon Caramanica, writing in the New York Times when your store opened in SoHo: “Amazon 4-star asks what would happen if the logic of the warehouse writ raw was applied to a traditional storefront. Who needs a warehouse picker when the customers can do the work themselves? Spending time browsing here was among my most dismal shopping experiences in recent memory: joyless, arbitrary, spiritually empty.” It is tempting here to make a joke about Frisco. As an Amazon Prime member, though, I realize that would be cheap.

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