It’s hard to imagine it, but Amazon marks a 25th anniversary of sorts on July 5. That day, in 1994, Jeff Bezos filed the paperwork for Cadabra Inc., which he would rename Amazon just a few months later, after his lawyer misheard Cadabra as “cadaver,” which is, um, suboptimal branding (he also aptly considered naming the company Relentless, and Relentless.com is still owned by Amazon and redirects to Amazon.com). Amazon officially counts its anniversary as July 16, when the site went live in 1995 — that’s also when its annual Amazon Prime Day sale occurs. In any case, over the last two and a half decades, Amazon has signed up more than 100 million Prime members in the US alone, and some have been Amazon customers for more than a decade.
We asked people to share screenshots of their first Amazon purchases. The responses — ranging from books (Amazon began as an online marketplace for books and called itself “Earth’s Biggest Bookstore”) to ShamWows to Korean keyboard stickers and bags of candy — show not only the massive breadth of the retailer, but how reliant consumers have become on Amazon for buying random odds and ends that may be hard to find otherwise. It also reflects how much easier the site has made impulse buying and provides just a brutally honest reflection of shoppers’ trends and fancies through the years.
So hold onto your carts; let’s take a trip down memory lane.