Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Merry Christmas from Amazon (NOT!) - 40% increase on shipping ... just in time for the holidays

Oh by gosh by golly ... it's time for rate increase and folly

I haven't written one of these blogs in a year, which means it must be getting time for some Christmas cheer. 


This year, it's from Amazon, just named the "Official Grinch of Christmas 2013!" by Bad Business Alert.

With no fanfare, has just raised the "free shipping" threshold from $25 to $35 per order - and by may way of thinking, that's a 40% increase.  Ouch.  Forty Percent, and just in time for the gift-giving holiday.

I don't know about you, but between the:

a. Convenience and the
b. Free shipping for orders over $25

I've started doing a lot of my Christmas shopping with Amazon.  We have no relatives any closer than about 1,500 miles away, which means even if I get a GREAT deal on a product, the shipping from Nevada to Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia, West Virginia or North Carolina (where our various relatives reside) kills the deal.  But Amazon doesn't charge sales tax (mostly) and if the product is $25 or more, shipping is free.

Except now, the free-shipping threshold has gone up 40% in one swell foop.  Suddenly, Amazon's not such a bargain.  Especially since other stores are doing deals where you can order online and pick up locally, saving shipping and, in many cases, sales tax.

Hey, it's a free country, and Amazon can do what they want when it comes to free shipping.  And hey, it's a free country, Amazon, and I can go where I want to go to buy holiday gifts.

Beyond that, I'm a book junkie.  I buy too many books, most of them on Amazon.  Frequently, I'll pick out a book for $12 or $15, then go looking for another book that will take it over the $25 threshold so I get free shipping.  

But adding another 40% to that threshold makes the nearby B&N much more reasonable-seeming.  The 10% off I get for buying the annual discount card zeroes out the sales tax, they've got great bargain sections, and I can actually check out the look-and-feel.

Or if I prefer, B&N online still offers free shipping on orders of $25 or more.

But there are more local options, such as used book stores. In Las Vegas, that means ...

Amber Unicorn Books

In Vegas, my favorite used bookstore (Amber Unicorn on Decatur just north of Sahara) offers a 10% discount that takes care of the sales tax, and if I'm just looking for a good read, it's usually cheaper than the combo of Amazon used book and no sales tax (shipping kind of kills the Amazon used discount).

So we know that Amazon is the "Official Grinch of Christmas, 2013!" and we know that they've now made the bricks-and-mortar competitors, much more competitive.  I suppose I should say thank you, at least on their behalf.

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