Alexa Is My Problematic Fave
It’s that time of year again. Not all of us will festoon the house with garlands, light candles, or stick a tree in our living rooms. But many of us will ask, “Should I buy myself or anyone else an Amazon Echo device for the holidays?”
It wasn’t always like this, my friends.
On November 6, 2014, Amazon announced the original Amazon Echo, an always-on speaker that responds to the wake-word “Alexa.” But I didn’t learn about the device until a few months later, a few days into my 2015 New Year’s resolution to stop shopping at Amazon.
I was anti-Amazon at that moment, because a gift for one of my kids that was supposed to arrive before Christmas did not. The kid was sad. I was mad. Santa Claus was out of the picture by then, so I had to bear the brunt of the disaster myself. Beyond all that, I had started to notice that all the quirky toy stores in our small town were closing, presumably because of Amazon, and the retail giant had bought GoodReads, one of my favorite websites — and then went and ruined it. It was also difficult to ignore the fact that Amazon treats its warehouse employees very badly.
I was going to take a stand. So, instead of giving up cheese or taking up meditation as I’d done in previous bouts of New Year’s optimism, at the beginning of 2015, I decided to banish all Amazon products and services from my life.
Like the meditation and the cheese fasts, it didn’t last very long.
I remember watching the first super awkward Amazon Echo commercial on YouTube, and immediately wanting that ugly black cylinder.
When the Amazon Echo was first announced, you could only order one if you were a Prime member, so I discarded my New Year’s Resolution, re-upped my Prime membership, and the rest is history.
Since 2015, I’ve added three Echo Dots (the tiny ones), an Echo Show (the one with the screen), and even the Echo Auto (the one…