Once upon a time, Walmart seemed very, very weird. "Who would want to get groceries, gardening supplies, and oil changes, all in the same place?", we wondered.
Then the internet hit the mainstream and showed big-box retailers how it's done. Seriously, have you looked at Amazon lately? If you can't find it there, you may not need it.
That said, there are a couple of exceptions to that rule, a couple of areas that Amazon hasn't conquered. Prescription drugs are one. Cars are another -- or at least they were. From now until November 5, Amazon is dipping its little toe in the world of wheels by selling one very special car: the 2014 Nissan Versa Note.
Well, sort of.
You can't actually purchase a Versa Note through Amazon.com. But there is a Versa Note product page --- just like all the other product pages for all the other bits and bobs you can buy on the site. And although it's not as nice to look at as Nissan's "official" Versa Note page (or even TheCarConnection's review page), it offers plenty of info for curious shoppers.
However, instead of Amazon's usual "Add to cart" option on the right-hand side of the page, there's just a button that says "Learn more". Click it, and you'll be asked to provide your ZIP code so that Amazon can connect you with a nearby Nissan dealer.
Which is, more or less, how many automaker sites work. So, why should Nissan "sell" the Versa Note on Amazon at all?
For starters, it's a cute gimmick. It's Nissan's way of suggesting that cars can be sold as quickly and easily as diapers or watchbands (which is interesting but completely laughable, as anyone who's ever purchased from a dealer knows). That alone could turn a few heads.
For shoppers, however, the biggest upside of this promotion is that the first 100 Versa Note customers whose purchases are initiated through Amazon receive $1,000 Amazon gift cards. If you're a frequent user of the site, that's like cutting the cost of the Versa Note to $12,990.
Frankly, we're most intrigued by the fact that some customers will receive their Versa Notes via "boxed" home delivery. Does that mean that UPS will wait around long enough for recipients to answer the door? That could be the biggest news of all.