The tale of the mouse.
As Justus says, Amazon has a knock-off problem. The bigger problem is that Amazon has little way to control it, because when you "buy from Amazon," you may not be buying /from/ Amazon, but rather, /through/ Amazon (the same, by the way, is true of Walmart online). And, it takes a lot of complaints for Amazon to decide there's a problem and shut a bad seller down.
When I buy on Amazon's site, there are two things I look for. First is Prime, second is whether or not the item is sold by Amazon or a third party. I've never had a problem with an item that was listed as eligible for Prime /and/ sold by Amazon, except for an instance where the incorrect item was pulled for shipping in the warehouse -- an honest mistake. I've also had excellent success when the item is sold through a manufacturer's brand store on Amazon -- in these cases, the seller is the manufacturer and the shipper is Amazon.
When the seller is not Amazon, even if the item ships from Amazon, what shows up at the door is anybody's guess, and I've had more than one instance where the item received is obviously a knock-off.
1) If I had your address, I'd buy you the pencils (or whatever). Just to say thanks for all you've written/said/done over the years. You're worth it.
2) The two mice from Amazon are bogus. It's that simple. They are a channel, and people will abuse that channel. Return the product, report the product, and move on as a better-educated individual.
There is a lot of ripoff stuff on Amazon. A few months ago my husband ordered a small computer to run bitcoin mining. It was shipped from Amazon. What arrived was a tiny box and when I handed it to him he said uh oh. Sure enough inside was a little gift card that said to contact the company and when they verified our payment/purchase they would tell us where we could go pick up our computer from one of their many convenient warehouses.
Yeah, right. Reported to Amazon. Money returned to us.
I grew up in Rancho Cucamonga!
I am similar on making purchases but you are more of "on steroids" version than myself. I live in a pretty small house with a small office, space matters. When I am making purchases I like to try and keep the idea of if something new is coming in something old needs to go. Ideally if I can replace multiple things with one thing it gets an extra point for the should buy category.
I think I have more things go into the "removed from cart, no longer available" than actually make it to the final checkout. I guess it saves me space and money in the end.
Unfortunately Amazon has a knock-off problem. As for the trade offs issue, I find myself being slightly looser with moment post pandemic, partly cause we saved so much from not eating out and because well life feels shorter now.