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I went to Whole Foods and Amazon tried to sell me an Echo

Commentary: Walk into your local Whole Foods and there's a less-than-organic come-on from its new owner. What might Amazon plug there next?

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Not such an organic come-on?

Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

It was the promise of cheaper avocados that did it. 

No, we don't make avocado toast at home, but my Mexican-American girlfriend's tacos are better than any in the western world and Monday is taco night. 

So off I went to the Mill Valley, California, Whole Foods to see how deeply Amazon's newly-acquired organic grocer would slash prices. 

I was greeted by a jarring sight.

As soon as I walked in the door, there lurked a pulsatingly non-organic greeting: two large ads for the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot. Yes, right in front of the strawberries.

This was surely Amazon's idea of humor.

"Farm Fresh!" was emblazoned at the top of the ads. They claimed that the Echo and the Echo Dot were the "Pick of the Season." 

Naturally, I was hoping to merely wave my phone at a indiscreetly placed bar code on the ad, in order to instantly make my purchase. Sadly, there was none. Or, at least, not yet.

Still, humor or not, it did make one wonder what other not-immediately-relevant items Amazon might try to peddle through Whole Foods. 

Some attempts at cross-selling might at least be tangential.

Will Amazon encourage you, for example, to pair your organic cucumbers, with, say, cucumber and melon fragrance from Bath and Body Works? Will you stand to admire the smoked salmon and suddenly see an ad for Taste of the Wild, salmon-flavored Canine Formula.

Or does Amazon believe you will happily tolerate anything that the company feels like peddling, as you bathe in the suddenly cheaper prices and guilt-assuaging products?

How about a Fire Stick ad somewhere near Whole Foods grill-ready favorites?

Perhaps you'll soon walk in and see large ads for the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post with the line: "Sustainable shopping dies in darkness! Get 90 percent off your Post subscription with every box of organic matches!" (Surely you know the Post's portentous tagline.)

Amazon didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

But as the modern world has proved, humans will tolerate a lot to get cheaper prices and feel good about themselves. 

About those cheaper prices. My colleague Rick Broida is keeping you up to date with every deal that he finds under Whole Foods' new Amazonian regime.

As for my Hass avocados, it seems that the promised $1.49 price isn't everywhere. I paid $1.99 and they'll need a couple of days before they can grace my girlfriend's tacos. 

Please excuse me, I have to go to another grocery store now to get some ripe ones.

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