How To Officially Break Up With Amazon Prime (It’s Hard, We Know!)
How To Cancel Amazon Prime For Good
I canceled Amazon Prime, and it wasn’t me—it was them. Between Amazon’s negative impact on the environment, concerningly inhumane working conditions, and harm on small businesses, I could no longer justify the perks of two-day shipping. I’d always believed that we vote for the world we want with our dollars, but what did it say if I was continuing to support a conglomerate like Amazon, especially if I didn’t need to?
Since I cancelled a few years ago, I haven’t looked back. Whenever I bring this up with friends or family though, I’m met with astonished looks and questions about how I survive without it. The answer? It’s easier than you’d think!
Prime isn’t generally something many of us need to pay for—you know, just like how Amazon views paying taxes. If you’ve also been wanting to cut ties but aren’t sure if your breakup will last for good, here’s how I walked away. You can, too.
1. Re-Evaluate The Relationship
As with any relationship, there will come a time to reconsider your commitment to one another.
Here are some questions to ask yourself, starting with: Why are you together? Is it really because you can’t find items elsewhere? Or because the one-click purchase, rock-bottom prices, and two-day delivery perks are too good to pass up?
Convenience is Amazon’s biggest selling point, but we need to acknowledge that it’s only possible at the expense of others. Quite frankly, it’s an expense to consumers, too, through poorly mass produced goods and impulse buys that make us ask, “Wait, why did I order this again?” It’s a codependent and toxic relationship worth ending.
Consider your spending habits: Do you find yourself on Amazon shopping for day-to-day items like pet care or razors? Or are you more impulsively buying vacation clothes and techy gadgets? Is Prime important to you strictly for its video, television, and music content, or do you live in a food desert where Amazon Fresh’s grocery options are vital? (Where resources are not very accessible, Amazon may be the only reliable and affordable retailer around—more on that to come.)
The idea is to first understand how you engage with Amazon before severing the relationship in pursuit of a new one.
2. Explore Your Options
You’ve figured out how you spend your money there. Now consider how to reallocate that hard-earned cash.
We’ve often heard the dating phrase about “other fish in the sea.” Though, when Amazon has been the big fish out there, it’s hard to imagine your life with anyone else. You may think, “Will anyone be able to love me like Amazon has?” (Spoiler: Amazon never loved you, only your money.)
There are other options out there, I promise—like these 10+ Amazon alternatives to start. By shopping through these platforms, we’re actively supporting better environmental and ethical practices, as well as investing in small businesses, many of whom have been hit hard by COVID.
Scope out local options, too, like mom-and-pop shops, neighborhood hardware stores, nearby bookstores, and even chains like a neighborhood Target. While that’s not a perfect solution (there hardly ever is), local stores can offer safer working conditions, invest heavily in community initiatives, and lower our environmental footprints.
From here, decide whether you want to subscribe to a new platform, set up a subscription, plan weekly trips in person, or whatever you need to do to wean off your Amazon spending until it’s reallocated. Moving forward, when your mind jumps to, “Oh, I’ll just go order that on Amazon,” consider where else you can look. You’ll be primed to rely less and less on the platform.
3. Tell Them “Actually, It’s Not Me—It’s You”
When you hit that “End Membership” button, Amazon will make you jump through hoops to cancel Prime, asking a million times if you’re sure about this. (Yes, I am! I’m a strong independent woman!) But the platform never asks once for customer feedback once you cancel. It seems easy enough to X out afterwards and continue about your day.
What if we took five extra minutes to hold Amazon accountable? Before you say, “But the company doesn’t care. They’ll find other subscribers…”, hear me out!
Yes, Amazon is a global conglomerate with millions of paid users, but the brand isn’t immune to backlash and revenue hits. In late 2018, Amazon’s labor practices and ethics were widely critiqued by journalists, activists, and politicians alike, prompting a wave of “cancel your Prime account” posts. The cycle has continued since, particularly around the company’s anti-unionizing stance, unethical working conditions in the midst of a pandemic, and the termination of its own employees simply for protesting.
We can also note that, as Jeff Bezos’ fortune grows and grows, so does the wealth equity gap. This disproportionately affects Black and brown communities, who already suffer the most from climate change, which continues to worsen thanks to Prime’s negative impact on the environment. And guess which communities make up the lower-paid ranks of Amazon’s labor force—see where I’m going with this? It’s a toxic cycle that we can directly help break down.
Share on your social media or with personal networks and tag Amazon in your public feedback. As we’ve seen from Twitter and TikTok, all change takes sometimes is one post to create a ripple effect.
When there are this many human and environmental costs, it’s always worth speaking up.
4. Practice Patience and Self-Compassion
In a breakup, we’ll often second-guess ourselves. Did we make the right decision? Can we really be apart forever?
Sometimes, you’ll have no choice except to rekindle that flame. You may have to go through Amazon again for a future purchase, like that one shower filter only stocked there (guilty) or an urgent order needed in two days. When this happens, it’s okay! That’s Amazon’s entire goal: to monopolize your options and at the cheapest price points.
If you know there’s something you’ll need there eventually, consider these tips before buying:
Identify the original vendor of a product and see if you can shop directly; it helps those businesses avoid Amazon’s fulfillment fees.
Inquire with a local store if they can get a product for you instead. For example, I once needed a record player needle I could only seem to find via Prime, until I stopped by a local record store and they were able to place a special order.
Order in bulk for repeat purchases to avoid excess packaging.
Coordinate deliveries using Amazon Day on a particular day of the week.
Ask for fewer packages and non-expedited shipping to reduce your environmental impact.
Prioritize your needs, like Amazon Fresh grocery deliveries, and rely on them less for goods you can find at a small business, like candles or clothing.
Use Amazon Smile and 0.5 percent of your purchase goes to the charity of your choice.
At the end of the day, practice patience and self-compassion; it’s difficult to avoid Amazon completely. It’s more important to think about how to minimize our engagement rather than beating ourselves up over the occasional purchase.
Amazon’s practices don’t affect communities in a silo; when a company is this global, its business decisions affect all of us. Conversely, when we support local and small businesses instead, our dollars go further within our own communities.
This Prime Day and beyond, keep in mind that you can quit Amazon for good and find shopping partners more aligned to your values. We’re here to support you through this breakup once and for all.
Henah Velez (she/her) is an Editor at The Good Trade. She holds a Master’s in Social Entrepreneurship and is a proud Rutgers grad. Originally from NJ, Henah’s now in Santa Barbara, CA, where she loves shopping small, hanging with her pets, or traveling. Say hi on Instagram!