When I read about Amazon’s all you can eat, free 2-day shipping plan, the first thing was I added up all charges I’d paid towards shipping in the past year (and I bought about 30-40 items – books, toys, etc).
2004 total in shipping fees: $0.00
Compare that to the $79 I would pay for a year worth of free shipping, it is still a increase of 7900% over last year (figuratively speaking, as you really can’t multiply zero with anything). So, at first glance, it seemed like a no-brainer: Prime wasn’t for me.
So, can people like me, who buy 10-20 casual gift items a year for friends and family through Amazon, be tempted into signing up for Prime? Chances are slim to none.
Will it push people who paid anywhere from $0.00 to $50.00 into signing up? Not necessarily, it seems.
However, the plan did tempt me into thinking about buying all gifts that I buy during a year, through Amazon.com. Hey, I get free shipping after all, so why not make full use of it? I would never have to stand in line at KB Toys or ToysRus ever again! Hooray!
But my joy was to be shortlived. Before I could roll over and hand them my $79, I happened to buy a Sony Walman/Recorder at Amazon for my father-in-law.
It was then that I noticed that in order to be eligible for Prime, you had to buy it directly from Amazon (and not its merchant partners) – that is, the walkman that Amazon sells itself directly, and not one that OfficeDepot sells through Amazon.com.
Now, Amazon’s version was selling it for $79.99.
However, if you purchased it through OfficeDepot (still through Amazon.com, the web site), you paid only $63.95. Even after $7.54 in shipping charges, the total through OfficeDepot would still be only $71.49 (plus tax, of course).
No points for guessing who I bought it from. After paying shipping charges to Office Depot rather than the free shipping I would’ve gotten had I signed up for Prime, I was still up by $8.50 (compared to the $79.99 + free shipping deal I would’ve gotten had I purchased through Amazon.com).
However, I was still not sure if I might have been eligible for Prime even if I had purchased through OfficeDepot. So, I wrote to Amazon.com asking if my purchase through OfficeDepot would’ve been eligible for Prime free shipping. And here’s the very personal email I got back from them.
< snip >
Hello from Amazon.com.
Products sold by third parties, or through third-party areas such as
Marketplace, Auctions and/or zShops,OfficeDepot and ToysRus are NOT
Products eligible for Amazon Prime will be designated on the product
page, in the order pipeline, or at check-out. The program is limited
to products sold by Amazon.com.
< / snip >
Amazon’s free shipping offer comes with a lot of ifs and buts. So, read that fine print – turn up the font size in your browser if you can’t – before you pull out that credit card.
Amazon is a company that was always well ahead of it’s time. While everyone said that having a book store online, that too lowest cost pricing, along with free shipping even, was a sure recipe for disaster. Well, they’ve proven all the “pundits” wrong – and while most of those other “surefire winners” are long gone, they are still here, and even churning out a profit!
Forget me, forget the pundits, forget the critics.
Let’s just wait for the people’s verdict – I hear it is never wrong.