Amazon Launches Low-Cost Prime For Customers On Government Assistance!

[Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos | Photo: David McNew/Getty Images]
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To think Amazon couldn’t get any bolder in their seeming quest for consumer-world domination—they’re now ultimately awarding and enabling folks who are unemployed. How? They’ve just declared discounted, Prime memberships to those on government assistance and food stamps. (What a way to incentivize slacktivism and thwart job prospect.)

All these unemployed, hopefully honest folks need is a valid Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card to unlock all the freebies of Amazon Prime. Rather than the $10.99-per-month charge, these people will now be privy to a $5.99-per-month price. Here’s what’s in store for them:

[Video: courtesy of Business Insider]

Yes, any EBT-card holder gets all that (in addition to unlocking all the taxpayer-funded regulars)—Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), as well as Women, Infants and Children Nutrition Program (WIC).

But said card discounts only the cost of Prime itself—it cannot be used to buy Amazon memberships or products, and all items retain their normal price. However and more, the no-job Robs and Robertas reap all the benefits of Prime—free video and music streaming, cost-free digital storage, the Kindle library, shopping on Amazon Essentials (makeup, toiletries, oral hygiene, etc.), free entry to Prime Now (pending availability) and all the other goodies.

Amazon’s Prime handout not only rewards low-to-no-income folks, but it will also apparently destroy the stigma of Amazon being a luxury rather than a staple for life. (Because people couldn’t possibly live without Amazon.)

This is, of course, an Amazonian leap for the company, as Prime draws most of its money from wealthy folks. Investment-firm Piper Jaffray’s 2016 research availed that six-figure-salary families are most likely to utilize Prime—i.e., those who make over $112,000 annually. The study showed over 70 percent of upper-class families are subscribed to Prime.

[Demographic of Amazon Prime subscribers | Chart: Jaffray Piper]
But wait, Amazon gains from this situation too! While these people are on welfare, they still need legitimate essentials (clothes, educational items, cleaning products, personal products, etc.). Why clip coupons and/or hit up the nearest CVS or Walgreens when Amazon Prime can reward them with the best price possible? Heck, think of all the savings they’ll accrue—that $5.99/month membership’s too indulgently rewarding to pass up! (Their customer base has just expanded monumentally.)

There’s no denying this when considering all components in the equation—e.g., on-line shopping enables the less fortunate to skip out on paying for gas needed to fuel their cars—some can even sell that car for more Prime-shopping money. Well, this deal does help the elderly overcome their consumerism obstacles—there’s that.

But what about the unemployed who have babies? No problem—Prime gets them 20 percent off diapers and baby-wipe subscriptions (another incentive to stay on GA).

Last but certainly not least is Amazon’s collaboration with other, Internet stores involved in a government project that will eventually accept food stamps (SNAP) as payment for e-commerce products! (There went America’s work ethic.)

[The unemployed standing in a breadline made possible through Al Capone (“Big Al’s Kitchen for the Needy”). | Circa November 1930, Chicago, Illinois | Photo: © Bettmann/CORBIS]
In early 2017, with the USDA leading the charge, the government launched a collaboration with Amazon, Thrive Market, Walmart, FreshDirect and others in an effort for SNAP benefits as payment for specific products—mainly the catalog of AmazonFresh’s delivery option (this includes a few packaged foods such as cereal via Amazon Pantry). All this has a scheduled release of early 2018. (Surely no one will abuse this project.)

The SNAP-Amazon bridge is just the initial phase in enabling the unemployed—the ones who get a whopping 69 percent of federal aid.

In 2016, 44.2 million were on a monthly SNAP program. When totaling all government aid (WIC, School Breakfast/Lunch, etc.), Amazon’s stands to gain a $101.9-billion increase ($70.9 billion of that’s from SNAP.)

Prior to Amazon’s foreshadowed SNAP dollars going into their (already bulging) collective pocket, the company implemented other tactics for targeting low-to-no-income folks. Rather than using a bank card or an Amazon account linked to a bank account, impoverished folks can sign up for Amazon Cash—customers can visit physical Amazon-friendly retailers and deposit hard currency directly into their account.

“The ability to shop online has been limited—it’s an underserved audience,” an Amazon representative explained. “E-commerce companies haven’t figured out how to help customers who may be uncomfortable paying with credit cards. The thinking at Amazon is that there’s so much value [with Amazon Prime]—there’s so much time, convenience and savings…we felt like this was one, small way to help a customer [who’s] temporarily in need.”

For more information, those who are “temporarily in need” can experience a 30-day sample at amazon.com/qualify—free of charge. And Amazon’s not stopping there. They’re looking at providing even more to GA folks down the line—beyond EBT cards. (Goodbye, motivation.)

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