WFMW – Amazon Prime

wfmwThis week, at Rocks in My Dryer, the discussion is centered around online shopping. The bloggers are gathering to list their favorite online stores, deals and ideas. Which brings us to

I’ll admit, I’m biased. I used to work for Amazon and I enjoyed working there. Amazon hires a lot of bright, energetic people with good ideas, and they also hired me. :)

That said, I think Amazon’s fixed-price ($79) all-you-can-ship policy is the wave of the future. Back in 2001 (or so), Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had a great idea: to offer free shipping for purchases over $25. Most of his staff was against the idea, or so the story goes, but Jeff held firm, and was (eventually) proven right.

So when Bezos unveiled his idea for Amazon Prime in 2005, the opposition was more measured. I heard about the program not long after I left Amazon, and Kathy and I were quick to sign up. The way it works is that you pay $79 for a full year’s worth of free, two-day shipping, no matter how much you buy or how small your orders are. No more worrying about whether your order is $25, and no more paying extra for quick shipping. We can order a book on Tuesday afternoon and have it in our hot little hands on Friday, with no shipping charges (apart from the $79 we paid up-front). Overnight shipping is only $3.99 and you are able to share the membership with other members of your household.

school time

Joshua works on his math.

In 2007, Kathy and I placed 45 individual Amazon orders, many of them for multiple items. By my calculations, we paid an average of $1.75 for shipping per order, and (in most cases) received the items within a few days. Comparing this with the rapacious shipping and handling charges common with eBay and other online merchants, I’d say we did pretty well.

There are a few caveats:

  • Amazon Prime only works for items that Amazon ships directly from their warehouses. Many items are only available through third-party merchants, who do not (currently) participate in the program.
  • $79 is a lot of money to pay for shipping, especially up-front. If you order fewer than 20 items over the course of the year, or if you are a careful planner and don’t need the two-day shipping, this is probably not for you.
  • Two-day shipping means exactly that — sometimes it takes Amazon a couple of days to fill your order. Also, UPS and FedEx are, in my experience, only about 80% reliable on the “two-day” part.

sarah's pretty smile

Even so, it is very cool. I remember needing a textbook for a class I was taking — I ordered it on a Monday afternoon, and it was delivered on Wednesday morning, and I paid nothing extra for shipping.

Stop by Rocks in My Dryer to find some other online faves.

Project 366 – Day 36

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7 thoughts on “WFMW – Amazon Prime”

  1. I have my own little amazon “trick” that may be helpful to someone else. I typically have several things I’m considering buying in my shopping cart. They might be school items for down the road, or a gift book or CD. When I NEED something, I will add something from my saved items so my total is $25 and I get free shipping. My 13yodd and I will often add orders together to meet the $25 too.

    My last resort is to buy a 4pack of the green chiles that we like. We can’t buy them in stores here. So I’ll buy the chiles and my must-have-now item, and I still get free shipping on both.

    I don’t know that last time that I actually paid for amazon shipping, and we place a few dozen orders a year. It’s not 2 day shipping, but it’s totally free too. :) I can live with that!

  2. You make a convincing argument, Tim. Do you wish you were still working for Amazon?

    Have a great day THIS day. I love you Edgrens!! Aunt Kate

  3. I love Amazon, it’s fast and cheap. I almost always get things within 3 or 4 days, even with their “slow” free shipping. I also love the excuse of having to get my order to $25, which doesn’t take too much arm-twisting!

  4. Thanks for the review. I get an offer for a free trial of this every time I shop at Amazon. However, I am a planner and RARELY need anything in 2 days. I also have the habit of making my “cart” a wish list, so it’s easy to get a $25 order when I do have to have something. So, thanks again for the complete review.

  5. i am so with you. i love my prime membership and while i’ve never actually figured it out, i know it works for us because of the speed of the delivery…that is my favorite part.

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