My first job was as a cashier at a supermarket (Publix fans, hollar!). One of my favorite aspects of the job was checking out someoneâ€™s purchases and trying to deduce something about their life. For example: someone buys a ton of plastic silverware, paper plates, soda, chips, and hamburgers â€“ theyâ€™re having a party! Occasionally, the purchases were very funny, like: a woman buys chocolate, tampons, and a gossip magazineâ€¦ or a man buys condoms and flowers.
Did you know that companies use complex algorithms to hypothesize whatâ€™s going on in your life and what purchases you are likely to make next? Itâ€™s called predictive analytics. Thereâ€™s a really interesting article in the New York Times about how Target does this. The goal, basically, is to use purchases to predict when a consumerâ€™s life is in flux (marriage, child, moving into a new home) because thatâ€™s when they are most likely to try new products and switch brands.
Anyway, I had to laugh because I could only guess what Amazon was thinking when I bought the following items:
Diapers â€“ Well, this is an obvious one. I have a baby!
Blackout Curtains â€“ I have a baby and am trying to get him to sleep. Amazon should start to bombard me with ads for coffee makers and under-eye concealer in 3â€¦ 2â€¦ 1.
And an anti-bark citronella spray collar. I have a baby, am trying to get them to sleep, and I own a very cute and barky dog that is interfering with the process.
Speaking of those blackout curtains, they are pretty awesome! I think Henry will nap better during the day if heâ€™s in a dark, cozy nursery (as opposed to the pack â€˜n play in the master bedroom, which has four windows and no curtains). I need to extend the curtain rod a bit so the sun canâ€™t peek around the edges, but man oh man â€“ it is so much darker in there now. It feels like a little hotel.
Just looking at that picture makes me want to go to sleep.
Speaking of habit formation and behavioral cues, do you think I can motivate myself to get in the car, drive the gym, and swim 1,000 laps simply by pulling on my bathing suit? Hereâ€™s to hoping. In the very least, it is extremely awkward to lounge around on the couch in a cap and goggles.