Smile, it’s amazon

Confession: One of the things I have shifted toward a lot in the last two years is buying online. My husband makes so many purchases for his business that it’s decidedly worth it for us to pay for Amazon Prime – which includes free two-day shipping on countless items.

I have many friends who shop this way too.

Our family recently had a complex argument about whether it was more fuel-and-energy efficient to buy online or in stores. (This was after I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Kingsolver, and was thinking more about the energy costs associated with getting things to my house.) Our argument went something like this:

  1. You save gas if you stay home.
  2. But someone has to deliver the items to your house. Same diff, right?
  3. But if he didn’t deliver them to your house, he would deliver them to the stores, right? And then you would go get them – twice the gas.
  4. But he is bringing them to you in small sets, as often as once a day, not with boxes and boxes at a time like an efficient shopping run (you) or a big store delivery (them).
  5. But he is making his round of deliveries around town anyway, and you are on the way.
  6. But seriously – stopping at every house to make individual deliveries?

Okay, I’m convinced. I think it is less energy efficient to have everyone stay home while several trucks run around town delivering things. No wait. That sounds like a GOOD plan. Gaaahhhhh! Meanwhile my husband and my oldest son, who are both smarter than I, are convinced that the difference is either negligible or in favor of home delivery. I hate when they do that.

What do you think?

Alternately, we could do both – run around town making errands and sit at home shopping online.

Yeah, that would work. Efficiency shmiciency.

Okay, I am sorry to disappoint you but that is not the point of this post. That whole discussion was a bunny trail from my real point, which was this:

What I’m about to say may be old hat to you, but I must be sure. Did you know that when you make purchases on, you can make them via Amazon Smile, which donates money to a nonprofit of your choice? The nonprofit must be registered with Amazon Smile, but you can then choose it from a list of charities, schools, and other organizations. My choice is Faith Builders Educational Programs, which runs the Christian day school my children attend. That means every time I make a purchase, a small percentage of my total is earmarked as a donation and given to them. It’s not a lot, about half a percent, but it adds up when many people do it.


The nice thing is that it’s not a different store, or a different way of shopping. It’s just a different way of accessing the Amazon site. I have Amazon Smile pinned to the taskbar of my computer, so each time I open Amazon I’m already set to go, and all my purchases count. I don’t have to do anything extra.

And no, I do not make ADDITIONAL purchases just to donate. I’m not that stupid, er, devoted, or whatever you want to call it.

In a nutshell, if you’re an Amazon shopper, please check into it. There are many good places registered there, such as Fair Play Camp School, Bald Eagle Boys Camp, Christian Aid Ministries, Amish Mennonite Aid, Samaritan’s Purse, Open Hands, crisis pregnancy centers, and many more. If you don’t already have a non-profit of choice, you are cordially invited to pick Faith Builders as well. We would not mind.

Good hunting,


PS – Unfortunately, no one is paying me for this pitch.

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6 years ago

Funny,I’ve pondered the same but have concluded they get paid to bring me 3 different packages from the same order(like today,one package was a box with 2 rolls of paper towel marked ‘fragile’ ha,ha!) and i most definitely dont get paid to spend several hrs in town with several children!! Ill check Amazon smile out,I’ve never bought much from Amazon but I like the charity idea.

Joanna Hertzler Yoder
6 years ago

WHAT? We’ve had Prime for awhile, but I never heard of Amazon Smile! Definitely going to check this out. I am most decidedly NOT a shopper, to the dismay of my children…

Cathy Miller
6 years ago

I wonder what we did before Amazon. Yes, Amazon Smile is wonderful. I’m really sorry you’re not getting paid for writing about this. That made me smile.

6 years ago

Another dynamic to consider is that some of us actually love to do real shopping. Getting out of the house, rubbing shoulders with people, shopping sales, feeling textures….

I do use amazon from time to time and I do love the convenience. However, I have been disappointed a number of times by the misrepresentation of color or texture or size of a purchased product.

I have not utilized the amazon smile option. I should.

6 years ago

Thank you for posting this. I’ve signed up for Amazon smile (awhile ago) with CAM as the beneficiary. But I’ve never figured out exactly how to use it. I’ll look into it more.

6 years ago

Amazon Prime & Smile are great (and even better if your husband is a chronic student), but I haven’t figured out how to use Smile if I order from the convenience of my phone…

4 years ago

I don’t know what got me reading the archives, but Shari, did you ever try saying, out loud, “efficiency shmiciency?” Not to mention it sounds a lot like “emissions.” ????

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