Making a leap of faith here, it could be estimated or guesstimated that, say, 10 percent to 50 percent of all people wake up each day and believe that the next 12 hours will produce some kind of miracle.
Miracles are all around us and, if your standards aren’t way over the top, you could expect to see a miracle every hour or so if you keep your eyes open.
Of course, Market America supports miracles every day. They support you.
OK, it’s not that hard to find a miracle. The snow that shouldn’t be there – not a blessed miracle, but a miracle just the same. The return of our feathered singers, robins and cardinals and others, and the waking worms underground who make a convenient breakfast. Spring flowers, if they ever arrive. The person sleeping next to you. The kids who are working so hard to grow and even those who are wondering how to do that. Miracles abound.
A shopping miracle! Now wait just a minute. Is shopping really something that qualifies for the status of a miracle. At Market America’s SHOP.COM collaboration, maybe utter and complete shock is the appropriate response. A political miracle! (Hey, if there’s a shopping miracle out there, there’s room for a political miracle, as well.)
— SHOP. COM (@shopcom) June 10, 2018
Now let’s define a miracle in pragmatic terms. A miracle in pragmatic terms means a miracle you can hold in your hands or kick or see or smell or taste. Sure, there are unexplained miracles, but let’s stick to the explainable ones. The ones you can put in the bank.
In that case, Market America’s SHOP.COM qualifies. Let’s explain why by starting with the description of Shop.com. Its own introductory page explains it very well and very quickly. So, let’s start with that:
“SHOP.COM (powered by Market America) is the leader in online Cashback shopping, paying customers up to 50 percent Cashback just for buying the things they already buy from the same stores they love and trust. Plus, customers who share the Cashback program with friends will get ½ percent Cashback on every purchase made by the people they referred.”
Excuse me? Come again?
Let’s just contemplate the miracles in that simple paragraph. It doesn’t even start with money.
The first miracle inherent in that description of Market America’s SHOP.COM is about something we call the Internet.
The Internet itself is no miracle. The Internet is a virtual space provided by computerized machines that provide an inter-dynamic backdrop for images (including images of letters that then form words that then form expressions and content of some kind). Some of these images appear to move. Through clever manipulation, people using the Internet – which doesn’t really exist until someone projects the images by use of a monitor – can quickly change the image they see, giving rise to the sensation that they are traveling through a digital universe.
The Internet can be explained. It’s just code, folks. Not a miracle at all.
But the miracle is this: The Internet provides an opportunity for profit-oriented business and non-profit organizations to coordinate the behaviors of millions of millions of people in ways that allow them to put their collective, scalable energy to use. Now, that’s a miracle!
As an analogy, let’s say you had a huge room with a lot of traffic in it. Everyone takes off their shoes to walk across this room, so you put a huge shag carpet in the room. This makes it warmer for everyone on an individual level. It makes it quieter for everyone on an individual level. But then you take all the static electricity building up between everyone’s socks and the shag carpet and put it to use and it lights up the building – a miracle of collective energy.
SHOP.COM fits that analogy well. They have very good prices, which helps people on an individual level. They are online, so individuals can find it easily and surf around looking for the products they want. Of course, they have the items shipped to their door – what a terrific idea! This helps people on an individual level.
But, wait – something remarkable is happening. Thanks to all those persevering code-writing programers (geeks, nerds and their children, which we call gerks) you can harness the collective energy of all that shopping and benefit everyone.
Everyone gets a discount thanks to the miracle of scaling. But programs can also track customer behavior to the point that referring someone to the store can yield a private Cashback rebate for those who referred them. The customers are now getting a commission on their referrals’ shopping.
To date, $16 million has been doled out in Cashback rewards – a very handsome sum indeed.
What is the icing on the cake in the SHOP.COM description is the point that Cashback is offered to customers “just for buying the things they already buy from the same stores they love and trust.”
This doesn’t need a translation. This whole altruistic system is simply based on behavior that customers have already been doing and would have continued to do, anyway. The only added behavioral expectation is that customers refer their friends to the store – and they would likely do that, anyway, as well, because who wouldn’t go to a friend and say, “Hey – I was shopping today, just like I normally do, only now they pay commission to customers that goes along with their daily discounts that go as high as 50 percent off for various items.
You know, UFOs and Big Foot and lightening storms are miracles, but some people are focused on the miracles that we usually think of as routine or commonplace, such as childbirth, blue whales and sunshine.
Shopping probably isn’t a miracle unto itself. The Internet certainly is not a miracle unto itself. As every gerk knows, it’s just what evolved after very bright mathematicians found they could harness the power of the language of binomial systems. It’s very clever, but it’s not a miracle.
But harnessing the energy of shopping to make it work for the society as a whole – that’s not quite as routine as it seems.