The Amazon Mom Program Isn't Just for Moms, But You Probably Knew That, Right?
Ever realize how that arrow kind of looks like a sly smile?

I’ve often wondered if it’s really ethical for me to drive in a high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane if the only other passengers in my car are my small children. Some HOV lanes require just two passengers in the car, but if one of them is not of driving age, how is that furthering the point of the lane that’s meant to encourage carpooling and therefore fewer cars on the road?

I suppose if I’m conflicted about driving in the HOV lane with a small child, I could choose the lane more trafficked. But where’s the fun in that?

On that same note, Matthew Yglesias over at Slate recently wrote about how the Amazon Mom program “is a pretty neat way to save some money on common household items . . . But here’s the thing. It turns out you don’t need to be a mom to sign up. You don’t need to be a dad, either. You just need to be a liar.”

You do need to be an Amazon Prime member in order to sign up, and a parent, although not really the latter. As the website states:

“Amazon Mom is open to anyone, whether you’re a mom, dad, grandparent, or caretaker.”

Caretaker can be a loose term. My husband and I have kids, yes. But if we didn’t, I’d still consider myself his caretaker. He needs a lot of it — caretaking, that is. But I digress.

Take it one step further on the Amazon Mom part of Amazon’s website and you’re asked to verify if you’re a mom, dad, step-parent, grandparent or other caregiver. Then you’re asked to supply your child’s birth date, although you can skip that if you’re expecting. Or you can lie even if you’re not.

In other words, you can easily be an “other caregiver” who is expecting a baby and save 20 percent every month on tea, instant soup,  trash can liners and tissues. Amazon isn’t asking for a birth certificate or other proof of life.

Is it worth it to lie for a discount? That’s up to you. Same as driving in the HOV lane. But maybe the question is really if you think Amazon actually cares if you lie about this — and if you think they know that you’re doing it already (if you are)?

Does Facebook really care if kids under 13 are on their site? Or is everyone happy just to have the business (clicks/personal information/ad revenue)? Especially Amazon Mom, which is offering a discount, yes, but only if you subscribe for regular deliveries (translation: they’ll happily ship you certain discounted items on a regular basis in order to keep charging your American Express or Visa on a regular basis).

I’m an Amazon Prime member and gleefully order stuff all the time with the benefit of free two-day shipping. And yes, I’m surely one of those suckers who probably buys more than I would if I didn’t have free two-day shipping. Which means the $80 I spend annually on a Prime membership is paying for itself and then some as far as Amazon is concerned. I hardly think the Mom membership program is any different.

Yglesias seems to think he’s got Amazon all figured out, but it seems like the opposite is probably true. While Yglesias is giggling, Amazon is likely laughing — hard — all the way to the bank in the HOV lane on his non-parental dime.

More from Meredith on Babble:

Follow Meredith on Twitter and check out her regular column on the op-ed page of The Denver Post at

Article Posted 2 years Ago
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