Amazon bestows free Prime memberships on townspeople who need them not at all

050117blog manchester by the sea
Amazon via BusinessWire

Free is free and it’s probable that even the well-to-do of Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass., would rather have a free year’s worth of Amazon Prime – retail: $99 per year – than not have a free year’s worth of Amazon Prime.

But it would be difficult to find a less needy population for such a gift.

Nevertheless, Amazon announced today that it is bestowing the free year – plus some free popcorn – upon the town to mark the streaming release on Prime of the Oscar-winning movie, yes, you guessed it, “Manchester-by-the-Sea.”

From a press release:

“Oscar winning ‘Manchester by the Sea’ is coming to Prime Video on May 5, and we wanted customers in the town to enjoy popcorn and a movie on us,” said Greg Hart, Vice President of Amazon Video, worldwide. “Manchester by the Sea is a masterpiece representing the best of cinematic storytelling. In other words, it is wicked awesome.”

Pro tip: That “wicked awesome” stuff grates on people from around here like most cinematic Boston accents.

Couple of points not made in the press release:

Manchester-by-the-Sea is a small community with only 5,136 residents slipped comfortably into 2,147 households, which means Amazon will be spending at most $212,553 – plus the cost of popcorn and postage – on this publicity stunt provided every household takes them up on the offer, which won’t happen.

Why won’t that happen? Because for many in Manchester-by-the-Sea claiming the gift – they have to redeem a code they’ll receive by mail -- will seem like coupon-clipping, not worth the bother at best, unseemly at worst.

You see, Manchester-by-the-Sea, with a median family income of $145,000, is the eighth wealthiest community in Massachusetts, which is the fifth wealthiest state in the nation. While this certainly doesn’t apply to all 5,136 town residents, it certainly applies to most: If you live in Manchester-by-the-Sea, you are not concerned in the least about the cost of Amazon Prime.

But, hey, it’s the thought that counts, no matter how contrived or commercial.

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