Today is a day so significant in the hearts and minds of internet shoppers all over the world that it ought to be declared a global holiday: Amazon Prime Day. If you are subscribed to Amazon Prime (and if you’re not, what’s wrong with you?), you can stay hooked to the site all day long for time-sensitive mega deals and special products for sale. It’s great for parents and kids, teachers and students, young people on budgets, and maybe bad for anyone with a shopping addiction. No matter what, it’s a big deal.
That’s why Philadelphia shoppers were understandably upset when Amazon started experiencing service outages early this morning in parts of the Northeast, which includes The City of Brotherly Love. Overwhelmed to capacity by the hoards of click-happy consumers perusing deals, the internet giant’s servers went kaput. These things happen, right? Yes – but trust Philadelphia to turn a mundane event into a showstopping display of extra-ness and petty glee.
People unable to access pages on Amazon were met with pictures of a cute dog (one of the “dogs of Amazon”) and the message: “SORRY, something went wrong on our end.” By late morning, a meme had been born: a picture of Eagles offensive lineman Lane Johnson in the German Shepard mask he wore following the team’s playoff victory over the Atlanta Falcons, in which they were “underdogs” to win. GET IT? The incredibly bizarre picture of a bulky, padded football player in a dog mask spread like wildfire across Twitter.
Not content to be outdone, the Philadelphia Police Department got in on the fun, substituting “the dogs of the PPD” in the message and showing adorable K9 officers lolling around on the same white background as the Amazon error pages.
As funny as these reactions are, the Prime Day outages are a serious problem for Amazon, which is expected to bring in a billion dollars worth of sales today: “There is no doubt that this will erode sales and deter some customers from buying,” Neil Saunders, managing director of research firm GlobalData Retail, told the Washington Post as quoted by Philly.com. “The outage is especially problematic as many of Amazon’s Prime deals are promoted for a set window of time – something that could cause a great deal of frustration for potential customers.”