Amazon Frown

The truth behind the Amazon Smiles

David S.
3 min readSep 24, 2019


Jeff Bezos is smiling. Not the charity registered with Amazon Smile.

Amazon Smile is possibly the greatest example of a Corporate Social Responsibility sham that exists.

Once or twice a year I get a message asking me to put up a special banner on my website or in my emails about a special Amazon Smile deal. I click delete. Really, I’m going to market Amazon for .5% for my charity?

Let’s think about it, I could write a potential donor and ask them for $100 to provide lifesaving surgery for a child in Kenya. Or I could write the potential donor and ask them to make a $100 Amazon Smile purchase, of which my charity would receive 50 cents. Which seems like the better use of my efforts?

No-brainer. . .the myth that we can actively do good through consumerism is one that needs to be dispelled. No offense to TOMS, but $50 to buy a cheap $9 shoe and give another $9 shoe to a kid in the developing world is not a great deal. I’ve never seen a Kenyan child wearing a pair of TOMS, but if I do, I hope their’s don’t get holes as quickly as mine did in America. (I did buy TOMS regularly when I used to have a real job and regular income, not because of charity but because they are stylish and comfortable. . .why not be honest).

But my gripe with Amazon Smile is really that the .5% is a gross overestimate.

If you want to do good, Jeff Bezos, why are you sending customers to a separate website to make their Amazon Smile purchase? I add the things to the Amazon cart, then remember, “Oh Wow, I can give my favorite charity a nickel if I switch browser windows!”

“Let’s do that,” said no one ever.

I’d love to see the actual numbers, but I’d wager the people who have registered their favorite charity for Amazon Smile actually see .05% of their purchases support their charity.

If you followed normal purchasing habits and spent $1 million on Amazon, your favorite charity would receive $500.

If Amazon actually cared about charity, they would let users register for Amazon Smile and a percentage of EVERY purchase on Amazon would go to…



David S.

Curiosity + Empathy + Art