Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

In my dimmer moments, I'm often told to put two and two together.

Honestly, I sometimes struggle putting one with one.

Here, though, is my latest effort. 

It concerns Amazon, that large, recondite company that's suddenly become associated with scandal, subterfuge, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Donald Trump, Saudi Arabia and Queens.

Over the last week, a couple of authoritative-sounding headlines have slithered beneath my eyes.

The first from Yahoo FinanceWhole Foods drops small-format 365 store name.

Not so long ago, I wrote about how Amazon was halting the rollout of the supposedly cheaper Whole Foods 365 concept.

Now it's apparently abandoning the concept. All of its 365 stores, says Yahoo, will become regular old Whole Foods emporiums.

After all, prices are coming down at Whole Foods anyway. As is, some regular shoppers tell me, product quality.

Why, the stores now sell Honey-Nut Cheerios, which don't sound excessively organic.

Now for the second headline, this time from the Wall Street JournalAmazon to Launch New Grocery-Store Business.

The Journal says the idea is for Amazon "to broaden its reach in the food business and touch more aspects of consumers' lives."

Goodness, is there any aspect of consumers' lives Amazon hasn't touched lately?

These new stores apparently won't be called Whole Foods.

Does that mean they'll be Partial Foods?

Or might they carry the Amazon name? Welcome to the AmaZone.

The tittle-tattle suggests these grocery stores will be significantly cheaper than Whole Foods and that Amazon might even try to buy a regional grocery chain to give the idea a little momentum.

In essence, then, perhaps Amazon understands that real human beings realized the 365 stores were just watered-down Whole Foods.

Perhaps it also understands that it can have a physical presence in more communities -- not just fancy ones -- with a completely different brand that those communities can, in time, trust.

Of course, everything with Amazon is an experiment.

Some high-flying executive has likely written a very erudite six-page document to describe the sort of brand slightly less well-off city dwellers might warm to. 

Many might see this as more direct competition to the populist likes of Walmart, as well as an increased effort to be a physical presence, because some people really do like to buy things -- especially fresh things -- from physical stores.

Ultimately, when you have boundless energy and money, you can enact many experiments.

This doesn't mean that Amazon has it easy.

Some of its delivery efforts seem to be showing strain, so much so that the company is now trying to get customers to designate one lone day a week for the arrival of its boxes.

Amazon also has its weaknesses.

It doesn't have a remarkable record of creating new brands. 

There are many brand names on its site that are actually owned by Amazon and are entirely forgettable.

Once you're in the physical world, however, you have to create a greater emotional connection.

I wonder how Amazon plans to do that.

Published on: Mar 3, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.