Photo: Courtesy of Amazon.
You could argue that the Internet is built for lying. No one is truly who they say they are. Avatars, pseudonyms, Second Life personas, make-believe Facebook girlfriends — they all disguise who we really are. And, now we can add fake Amazon babies to that list, too.
Though probably not the first person to do so, Slate's Matthew Iglesias discovered that you can sign up for special discounts through Amazon with a little bit of lying about your supposed children. The program, called Amazon Mom, builds off of the company's existing Subscribe & Save service, which provides customers between 5% and 15% off certain household items that are delivered on a regular schedule. Amazon Mom boosts that up to 20% and throws diapers and wipes into the discount mix, too.
It's incredibly easy to sign up, and the service is free with an existing Amazon Prime membership. Amazon just needs to know a little bit about your child — name, birth date – and you're all set. And, you don't even have to lie that much. You have the option of choosing "mom," "dad," "step-parent," "family member," or "other caregiver," which allows for a fair amount of leeway as far as truthiness is concerned. I could, for example, call myself "other caregiver" to the kitten I bottle-fed because "child" is really an ill-defined concept when you think about it.
It seems that Amazon doesn't care either way, and it probably behooves the company not to. Amazon Mom only incentivizes more parents (or fake parents) to shop through its site. Hiring background checkers to make sure that Kitten Zuras is in fact "a human being below the age of 18 years," as defined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child — or even if she exists at all — would only cut into the bottom line. Amazon just wants me to buy more stuff. It also probably wants even more demographic data, which my fake kitten-baby will hardly affect among all of the real, marketable tykes out there.
Or, at least that's what I'm telling myself. It turns out that Amazon Moms also get a discount on cat food, which makes the case for not inventing a baby far, far less compelling.