29 / 09 / 2020

Jeff Bezos and the Very, Very Big Bang (Or the Mr. Creosote of Our Time)

Wonder what might lie ahead for Amazon? Then watch the Monty Python sketch about a man with an insatiable appetite. Hint: It doesn’t end well.

Carey Smith | Founding Contrarian 

Like a lot of people, I used to think the government would one day step in and break up Amazon, and that would be the end of King Bezos and his empire. But the latest reports about explosions of more AmazonBasics products helped me see things in a new light. I had what you might even call an epiphany: That Amazon’s end will come not with a regulatory whimper, but with a bang — when it becomes a victim of its own rapacious appetite and explodes, like the Monty Python character Mr. Creosote.

Like the gluttonous Mr. Creosote, whose gorging puts the ancient Romans and their vomitoriums to shame, Amazon can’t control itself; in fact, it has no desire to. It’s determined to consume all competitors in every market and undercut every product it comes in contact with, as I’ve written about before. Inevitably, that means that testing and quality control get left by the wayside, because they cost a few yuan. And that means that customers who put their trust in AmazonBasics products and the “Amazon’s Choice” label end up getting burnt, both financially and physically.

In the Monty Python sketch, a “wafer-thin” after-dinner mint was what finally ignited Mr. Creosote’s innards, sending bodily fluids raining down everywhere. In Amazon’s case, it could be flaming USB cables, or fraudulent medications, or any one of the more than 4,000 unsafe or misleading products that The Wall Street Journal uncovered in a 2019 investigation. I can’t wait to see it happen — but I’ll be sure to keep a raincoat handy.

It’s rumored that the Mr. Creosote scene, in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, was the only film “violence” that Quentin Tarantino ever found disturbing. That’s saying a lot. If you haven’t seen it, and want a preview of Amazon’s end, it’s on YouTube. But you might not want to watch it on a full stomach.