Amazon Joins in the Government Assistance Game
For most people outside of America looking in, the USA stands out as a very wealthy nation that has a lot going for it economically. For tens of millions of people inside of America, however, they view the situation as teetering on the brink of economic collapse and becoming a legitimate third-world country. Millions upon millions of people are going hungry in America. Tens of thousands are added to the number of homeless every year. The rich continue to stockpile their money, while people who were middle class fall into poverty in record numbers. Record inflation, record job shortages, the weakest U.S. Dollar in history; it all compounds, and more people are on government assistance programs than at any other point in history. Section 8, Medicare, SNAP benefits, and much more. For around half of America, their lives are lived on assistance programs and they do not see a way out. This has prompted Amazon to get into the government assistance game, opening up a shopping portal where they will funnel SNAP recipients to one site, where they can use their benefits via EBT cards (electronic benefits transfer).
From an objective perspective, it's the least Amazon could do. After all, while the federal government forced over 80% of America's small businesses closed, Amazon and its many distribution centers were allowed to stay open, and thus the company gained over a trillion dollars in increased revenue. Some called this an intentional wealth transfer. Whether that's true or not, Amazon has reaped the rewards of selective government favoritism, and now they will reap the rewards of people on government assistance being able to easily shop with their company. It's definitely a win-win for Amazon, no matter what the game is.
To be clear, Amazon and its "Amazon Grocery" and "Amazon Fresh" programs already accepted SNAP benefits from customers, and Whole Foods, being a live location, has also always accepted EBT. The new move by the company is called Amazon Portal, and this is a place that will centralize all of those areas for people with SNAP cards. In other words, people who are shopping with SNAP will be able to log onto a specific website portal and find everything that they can possibly get with their EBT cards. This is supposedly a move to make shopping with Amazon easier than it was before.
A Company Doing What it Says for Once?
This stems from a series of pledges from Amazon to put more back into the community and to offer more for the poorest people in America. You may have seen Amazon's big marketing push as of late. The company has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in order to soften its image. Reports were breaking about Amazon being so strict that employees are not even allowed to take a bathroom break while in the middle of a shift. And so Amazon has spent a fortune on advertising themselves as a place where women and racial minorities can find good-paying careers and be treated fairly. There are dozens of these commercials. They're also really targeting poor people in America, doing everything they can to get their business.
Some might say that this is a company that just wants to actually help poor people. Others will claim that it's a mega corporation deciding to prey on people who have guaranteed money from the government, ensuring that Amazon gets a lot of this money in their pocket. It really makes you question Amazon's intentions when you find out that they literally accept EBT cards for a recurring Amazon Prime payment. This has nothing whatsoever to do with feeding people, yet they unabashedly accept money from poor people and offer a premium shipping and streaming service to them. It's a little bit creepy, when you stop to think about it.
Regardless of Amazon's intentions, however, many poor people are in a situation where they need a place like Amazon to shop, because they live far away from a grocery store. Others cannot afford to make it back and forth to stores due to the high prices of fuel. Even with fuel prices dropping, prices are still nearly 100% more expensive than they were two years ago. So, by having Amazon making it easy to shop on its site with EBT cards, a lot of people are going to be very grateful.
If Amazon is serious about helping poor people, maybe they'll start offering 30% total discounts for people using EBT cards.