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(Slate)   A quick widget to calculate whether or not Amazon is still worth the money after its rate increase. (Spoiler: It's probably not worth the money)   (slate.com) divider line 234
    More: Fail, Amazon, digital library, cash value  
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14105 clicks; posted to Main » on 14 Mar 2014 at 5:40 PM (26 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-03-14 08:04:41 PM

CruJones: I redid my kitchen last year and bought a refrigerator on Amazon.  Free two day shipping.  Appliance stores wanted $150 for shipping.    That's not counting the other 71 orders I apparently placed.   I'll probably hit 200 this year as I now order dog food and deodorant on there.  Pretty much anything I can get on Amazon I do.

And I use the video service.  Currently watching Whitechapel.


i would of paid 20 or 30 to watch that john goodman show they made. that didn't get nearly enough press.

the scheduled auto ship stuff is awesome.
 
2014-03-14 08:05:07 PM
US just gave up control of the Internet. I wonder how this will affect net commerce
 
2014-03-14 08:07:41 PM

Intrepid00: Molavian: Amazon sent me a handwritten Christmas card a few years ago.

Hint: No it wasn't. You can make them look handwritten. We did it last Christmas too.


Ok.
 
2014-03-14 08:08:01 PM
I have been guilty more than I'd like to admit of "drunk Priming."   I like getting a package I forgot I ordered and finding a Death Star bourbon ball maker.  That was overnighted.   Because when I really don't need something, I need it tomorrow.
 
2014-03-14 08:10:10 PM

Triumph: They should still have a $79 option for people who don't want access to their video and e-book libraries.


Deal!

Never found one thing on Free Prime list that I wanted to watch that wasn't also on Netflix. So I've watched exactly zero.

And while my kid demanded a Kindle, I don't even want a soft-kindle on my netbook.  I have enough crap that wants to phone home all the time to add another spy.
 
2014-03-14 08:11:02 PM

FarkinBastard: Anything but SmartPost. It seems like they sit on orders for a few days without prime.


I've noticed for the past 6 - 12 months that an increasing percentage of my orders arrive a day or two after the delivery estimate.  I didn't blame that on Amazon, but it's been a problem with all 3 of the major carriers that Amazon uses (USPS, UPS, FedEx).

Sometimes packages just sit for days on end at the departure city.  There have been times when the tracking slip shows the item as out for delivery for a couple of days in a row.  Sometimes the tracking will state that the package has been delivered, when it wasn't, and then it gets delivered the next day.  The last time a package was delayed, UPS claimed they tried to deliver it but I wasn't home (completely untrue, I was home sick all day, practically parked in front of the door, not to mention that every other time a delivery is made and I'm not home, they deliver it to the front office).

I'm guessing the major carriers have shifted to placing more weight on on-time deliveries, so the drivers are circumventing the metrics by claiming packages are delivered (or delivery attempts were made when they weren't) to help their numbers out.  In fact, it seems to just be making service and promptness worse.
 
2014-03-14 08:11:03 PM
83 orders last year.  Still worth it.
 
2014-03-14 08:13:17 PM

jst3p: Yes. Prime will save you money.
You order enough Prime-eligible items that you will save money on shipping costs alone.
Without Prime, you would pay at least $3.99 per shipment.
At $79 per year (Prime's old fee), you would pay $2.63 per shipment.
At $99 per year (Prime's new fee), you would pay $3.30 per shipment.


Are they taking into account free standard shipping on orders over $35?
 
2014-03-14 08:14:40 PM
It's fairly obvious that most sellers roll the cost of that "free" two day shipping into the cost of the item, though I do appreciate the $4 one day shipping option. We don't really order enough from Amazon to warrant a renewal at $99. We torrent rather than stream and do not use the Kindle book lending option either. So we will not be renewing Prime this year, but it seems like it is still a decent deal for most.
 
2014-03-14 08:15:51 PM
I have recovered my fee by single orders.  I save thousands of dollars a year by using prime.  Slate estimates my average shipping cost at like 4 bucks, but sometimes it is hundreds.  Because, Hawaii.
 
2014-03-14 08:23:28 PM
46 orders last year.  already 23 this year.

it will save me money.
 
2014-03-14 08:23:47 PM
FTFA:  I also did not attempt to estimate the cash value of Prime's catalog of e-books, movies, and the like.

You also failed to account for the cost of my time. How much time (and gas money) would I have spent going to stores to get those items? How about physical pain? I have bad knees and I had foot surgery last year. Not having to walk around stores hunting for items saved me a lot of pain.

You can get kitty litter delivered. That alone makes it worth the cost.
 
2014-03-14 08:23:51 PM
It basically came down for me to Costco membership vs Amazon Prime.

I picked Costco.

I know apples and oranges, but its basically, once you pay for that membership, it does not make sense to buy available item from anywhere else (the whole point of membership fee).
 
2014-03-14 08:24:59 PM

clancifer: When utilizing video services AND the shipping, it is still far worth it.


^ This.

I stream from both my Blu-ray player in my room and my kindle fire hdx, so the free 2 day shipping's just icing on the cake IMO.
 
2014-03-14 08:27:35 PM
Amazon stock price was up slightly today. Market didn't blink
 
2014-03-14 08:29:22 PM

Marcus Aurelius: It depends on how much you buy from Amazon.

I buy a ridiculous quantity of things from Amazon.


Over 150 for me in 2013. I think that falls into the "you must weigh 800 pounds and can't fit thru the door of your house anymore" category.
 
2014-03-14 08:31:05 PM
I haven't paid for shipping from Amazon in years and I've never had prime, I just use the free super saver shipping, if I need something in two days I'll go buy it locally, otherwise I don't mind an extra couple days wait.
 
2014-03-14 08:31:09 PM

jjorsett: Marcus Aurelius: It depends on how much you buy from Amazon.

I buy a ridiculous quantity of things from Amazon.

Over 150 for me in 2013. I think that falls into the "you must weigh 800 pounds and can't fit thru the door of your house anymore" category.


Or you have a thing for your UPS driver
 
2014-03-14 08:32:27 PM
i.imgur.com

What's a 'widget'?
 
2014-03-14 08:33:13 PM

ReapTheChaos: I haven't paid for shipping from Amazon in years and I've never had prime, I just use the free super saver shipping, if I need something in two days I'll go buy it locally, otherwise I don't mind an extra couple days wait.


This. I wait for items to pile up above $35, buy them and wait. Or if I really need something quick, I'll ask a friend with prime (who may use my Costco membership), everyone wins.
 
2014-03-14 08:35:24 PM

mayIFark: ReapTheChaos: I haven't paid for shipping from Amazon in years and I've never had prime, I just use the free super saver shipping, if I need something in two days I'll go buy it locally, otherwise I don't mind an extra couple days wait.

This. I wait for items to pile up above $35, buy them and wait. Or if I really need something quick, I'll ask a friend with prime (who may use my Costco membership), everyone wins.


He can add members of his household (you) to his prime account. Delivered to his house, but that's how your doing it now expect not though your account.

I'm thinking you can do that and then change your address, or send it as a gift your actual address
 
2014-03-14 08:36:22 PM
Super saver is quite fast if you use it right. For example, never combine fufilled by amazon items with a "regular" items. It'll add about 3 business days to the delivery time, since instead of just grabbing an item from the nearest available warehouse, you'll get one from where the fba items was stored. Order the regular items, wait till they've shipped (important step, they are very likely to 'downgrade' you by retconsilidating shipments otherwise), then grab the fba items.
 
2014-03-14 08:42:02 PM

uber humper: mayIFark: ReapTheChaos: I haven't paid for shipping from Amazon in years and I've never had prime, I just use the free super saver shipping, if I need something in two days I'll go buy it locally, otherwise I don't mind an extra couple days wait.

This. I wait for items to pile up above $35, buy them and wait. Or if I really need something quick, I'll ask a friend with prime (who may use my Costco membership), everyone wins.

He can add members of his household (you) to his prime account. Delivered to his house, but that's how you're doing it now expect but not though your account.

I'm thinking you can do that and then change your address, or send it as a gift your actual address


FTFM
 
2014-03-14 08:42:04 PM

jigger: unlikely: InterruptingQuirk: Is it taking into account that Amazon Prime shipments may be increasing the price for Prime members in order to secretly cover that two day ship?

Except that they're not, and that's straight up crap.

I've gone on there not signed in and saw one price, then logged in and saw a slightly higher price. Maybe it's not intentional, but I've seen it happen multiple times.


I've never seen that happen, either.  Let's hear about specific products.

You do have to be careful about multiple vendors and what the default vendor ends up charging.  I haven't noticed any situations where an alternate vendor was actually cheaper *after taking into account s&h charges*.  Plenty of times where they are cheaper before.  However, it's common where a $3 item costs $4 shipping per item, no break for additional items ordered.  Meanwhile, Amazon charges a base $3.50, which works out cheaper even if you go for free standard instead of prime.
 
2014-03-14 08:44:39 PM
I ride a scooter. Not having to choose between balancing big packages on the back of my bike or else making frequent shopping trips for more expensive smaller packages alone makes Amazon prime worth it. It's a heck of a lot cheaper than owning a car I don't even want just so I can get big stuff home from the store.
 
2014-03-14 08:47:30 PM

ReapTheChaos: I haven't paid for shipping from Amazon in years and I've never had prime, I just use the free super saver shipping, if I need something in two days I'll go buy it locally, otherwise I don't mind an extra couple days wait.


Meanwhile, I get everything in two days and I don't have to drive somewhere, nor do I have to deal with brick-and-mortar salespeople morons.

It isn't just the wait.  Usually I'm ordering something I could wait a week for.  It's the not having to go somewhere with a crappy buying experience.  When I'm in a a brick-and-mortar store, I have to manually look up reviews; I had to deal with salespeople; I have to deal with what's in stock; I have to take the time to go there; I have to take the time to find the item even if I already know what I want.

Maybe your local stores are awesome.  Mine aren't.
 
2014-03-14 08:54:32 PM

InterruptingQuirk: Is it taking into account that Amazon Prime shipments may be increasing the price for Prime members in order to secretly cover that two day ship?


golden goat: You didn't read the link someone posted earlier.  There are allegations that Amazon encourages its vendors to increase the price of an item to cover the shipping charge, thus giving Amazon higher "referral fees." If true, then you likely already pay for the two-day shipping in the item price, and you're really just paying Amazon a premium to shop there (and watch its very restricted selection of streaming content).

Prime isn't worth it at $79, let alone $99.


The "secret" is for sellers using Amazon for fulfillment, vs. selling the same item on their own and charging the buyer for shipping - have to pay Amazon a fee for the service of stocking and shipping the item, even when Amazon offers the buyer free Prime shipping from the Amazon warehouse.   If the vendor ships, they add the $3.99 or whatever shipping cost afterwards. What a shock.   One way or the other the shipping and handling has a cost.

Why, otherwise Amazon could just have the vendor ship Amazon's stock for less and save Amazon's shipping costs.

When I see a marketplace seller offering the same item for shipping from them or from Amazon, even when it ends up costing a few bucks more, I'll take the Prime shipping and know I'll get it in one or two days.  I've gotten Prime orders the SAME day.
 
2014-03-14 09:03:46 PM

jjorsett: Marcus Aurelius: It depends on how much you buy from Amazon.

I buy a ridiculous quantity of things from Amazon.

Over 150 for me in 2013. I think that falls into the "you must weigh 800 pounds and can't fit thru the door of your house anymore" category.


I call it the "I hate dealing with people" category.
 
2014-03-14 09:06:13 PM
AMAZON:  THE RECKONING
As a Canadian, I pay more. That's a safe prediction. There is almost always a Canadian Premium even after accounting for exchange rates and shipping and even taxes.

I made 4 orders last year consisting of 17 items. At the shipping rate used by the widget that's $68. My rough total of the shipping and handling costs as $75. That's roughly $5 per item. The real cost is my UPS box which is a bit less than $20 a month or $240 a year. I got the box because I could not trust regular delivery to my door. The package would either be left in the hall or sent back to the UPS warehouse which is out in the suburbs and might as well be on the Moon given the difficulty of getting their within business hours.

The cost of these two is $18.53 per item, which is more than many of the items cost. Am I saving money over the prices in stores? Sometimes. Not on the cheap stuff. On the stuff that would be $26.00-$40.00 in the stores, perhaps.

It's very subjective, but if I bought ten more items a year, the fixed cost of the mailbox would drop considerably and the shipping costs (assuming I bought DVDs or Blurays) would scarcely increase.

At the moment though, I can't benefit from free Amazon streaming video and audio because they haven't rolled this out in Canada. THAT would make a fairly big difference because I could watch some things I can't buy, rent or get on Netflix.

But I don't have to spend hours browsing in the stores, which is worth a few bucks per hour according to economists, and these are items that I can't find in stores for the most part. To get them I have to pay more. the cost of fees charged for trans-border shipments is refunded so I can leave them out.

Break even on shipping seems to be about 25 items. Prime would be worth paying for me above that level. I was 7 items short last year. This year I have ordered one order.

AMAZON PART DEUX
But I am forgetting to mention an important caveat, namely that I also order from Amazon.ca. I have ordered 7 items from them this year, of which 1 was lost after allegedly being delivered to UPS. Last year I had 6 physical orders. Pretty close to breaking even on shipping and halving the per item cost of my UPS service, such as it is.

If you count Amazon.ca purchases, my mailbox is much cheaper and I break even or save a tiny bit on most of my purchases. I had a lot of Kindle orders (well over 50) as well, and they are generaly priced in such a way that I can buy a book and finish reading it in the hardcover or paperback edition.

THE HORRIBLE TRUTH ABOUT SHOPPING
You can't win, you can't break even, and you can' quit the game. Also, you can't save the world by going stopping.

Meh. I can't complain but I still do.
 
2014-03-14 09:16:00 PM
It's a hundred bucks for the convenience of not having to go to Home Depot, or Walgreens, or WalMart, AND everything is cheaper.  And not having to save up orders to $35, and knowing you can wait until Wednesday, or even Thursday to order something you need for the weekend.  I hate dealing with incompetent people, and Prime eliminates about 73% of those interactions.
 
2014-03-14 09:16:41 PM

mayIFark: It basically came down for me to Costco membership vs Amazon Prime.

I picked Costco.

I know apples and oranges, but its basically, once you pay for that membership, it does not make sense to buy available item from anywhere else (the whole point of membership fee).


Costco sells about 1400 items at a time. And you have to buy in bulk (usually). Amazon has millions of items.

I have both, but that's not the point.
 
2014-03-14 09:22:23 PM
Yep, still saving me money.
 
2014-03-14 09:24:06 PM

GleeUnit: DamnYankees: I also did not attempt to estimate the cash value of Prime's catalog of e-books, movies, and the like.

Ummm...fail. Makes the whole thing pointless.

So much this.  Netflix is $96/yr, Prime is $99.  Many will argue that NFLX has the stronger content catalog, but I'd only agree with that on a marginal basis (and the gap is closing).  So even if you consider Prime Instant HALF as good as Netflix (which is grossly unfair), you've only got to come up with $50 worth of shipping benefits, or about 25 items' worth according to this "calculator" to make the subscription worth it. 

Not considering Prime Instant's value means this widget is absolute booty.


Amazon Prime has their own exclusives, so in some ways they actually beat out Netflix. For example, Amazon has Orphan Black, Justified, The Americans, and Downton Abbey available for streaming, while Netflix has them as disk only, so you have to pay extra.
 
2014-03-14 09:26:02 PM

CruJones: AND everything is cheaper


Yeah, that's not true.
 
2014-03-14 09:28:21 PM

LemSkroob: It would be worth it if Amazon was more like it used to be, a vendor, not what it has become, ebay with a different front end. It seems half the stuff i need isnt actually sold by Amazon, and thus is not eligible for the prim shipping.


I kind of like that, because it has allowed me to get some weird crap that I used to have to go to eBay and buy with PayPal, which was a pain. For example, forget trying to buy USB 3.0 On The Go adapters locally, while on Amazon I can buy one for $3 and with a few bucks extra for shipping. It is so cheap compared to buying one locally for $20 (if I can even get it) that it is worth it. It is even better when you consider the time saved having to drive to half a dozen cell shops to find the adapter.
 
2014-03-14 09:34:22 PM
I was tempted to get it primarily for the streaming but it's definitely not worth it to me at the new rate. For people who order a lot of bulky stuff it's probably a good deal, the numbers just don't work for me though.

I already get free shipping on most prime eligible items I order just by ordering enough stuff at once. Faster shipping isn't something I care about, if I really need something NOW I'll just buy it locally. Otherwise what's the difference really between 2 days and a week? If I want something sooner, I order it sooner.

Also I've come to realize that I hardly buy any "stuff" compared to most people. I average about one order a month between amazon and various other sellers. Lately I've noticed that Amazon rarely has the best price anymore. Ironically I tend to use them like brick & mortars before, I go there to browse and read the reviews then order from elsewhere.
 
2014-03-14 09:38:39 PM

Radak: Does the widget take into account that Amazon Prime gives "free" two day shipping, or is it comparing the Prime price to the regular speed shipping charge? Time is worth money for a lot of people. (Yes, I know that sometimes even the two day Prime ends up in the hands of a slow last mile delivery agent.)


Yeah, the widget is wrong.

I've never seen a shipping charge as low as $3.99, but I ship most things the slow way and don't pay anyway.  A while back they tried to interest me in Prime based on the total shipping charges for my orders from last year--neglecting the fact that I hadn't actually paid any.  Prime would have been better than regular shipping.
 
2014-03-14 09:39:02 PM

Vlad_the_Inaner: Triumph: They should still have a $79 option for people who don't want access to their video and e-book libraries.

Deal!

Never found one thing on Free Prime list that I wanted to watch that wasn't also on Netflix. So I've watched exactly zero.

And while my kid demanded a Kindle, I don't even want a soft-kindle on my netbook.  I have enough crap that wants to phone home all the time to add another spy.


I love my kindle, I've never actually registered it with amazon though, I just download the books. E-ink is what makes it work, can't Stan reading books on LCD screens. I can take the kindle on a trip and use it for weeks on a charge an never have to lug around a pile of books.
 
2014-03-14 09:43:47 PM

jjorsett: Marcus Aurelius: It depends on how much you buy from Amazon.

I buy a ridiculous quantity of things from Amazon.

Over 150 for me in 2013. I think that falls into the "you must weigh 800 pounds and can't fit thru the door of your house anymore" category.


I'm genuinely curious, how do people order so much stuff? What do you buy?

I get some gifts for people, books, DVDs, filters for my cat water dish, an occasional electronic device or toy. I think I average about a dozen amazon orders a year. I can't imagine 150+ orders even if I bought everything I ever buy aside from frozen groceries. It just boggles my mind that someone can manage to order so much stuff without being one of those hoarders with unopened boxes floor to ceiling.
 
2014-03-14 09:48:44 PM

jigger: mayIFark: It basically came down for me to Costco membership vs Amazon Prime.

I picked Costco.

I know apples and oranges, but its basically, once you pay for that membership, it does not make sense to buy available item from anywhere else (the whole point of membership fee).

Costco sells about 1400 items at a time. And you have to buy in bulk (usually). Amazon has millions of items.

I have both, but that's not the point.


I get most of my frozen goods a Costco. Burger patties, chicken breasts, fish sticks, also baking supplies, canned goods, things that work well to buy in bulk. Supplemented with a bit of fresh stuff from the supermarket I drive past on my way home it works well.
 
2014-03-14 09:50:57 PM

jigger: CruJones: AND everything is cheaper

Yeah, that's not true.


Pretty much what I buy is. It's why I started buying Amazon in the first place. Refrigerator, TV, dog food...all cheaper than the local stores.
 
2014-03-14 09:55:33 PM

Aestatis: Meanwhile, I get everything in two days and I don't have to drive somewhere, nor do I have to deal with brick-and-mortar salespeople morons.


But you have to flatten all those boxes before you put them in the recycling bin.  That takes time.

/you do recycle, right
 
2014-03-14 09:58:00 PM
I just ran a report to tally everything I've purchased from Amazon over the last 10 years.

$131,661.84

Under your orders, download order reports.  You can set up a custom report if you want to make yourself sick.
 
2014-03-14 09:59:01 PM
I find it more convenient and cheaper to just buy more t-shirts, socks, underwear and pants than to do laundry.  Plus they're delivered.

/lol
 
2014-03-14 10:00:28 PM
Prime only saves you money if you buy things 2nd-day air.  If you don't mind waiting a week, no amount of orders will "save" you money.

/can't wait a week
 
2014-03-14 10:02:06 PM
Prime will not save you money on shipping.
If you join Prime, you'll be paying an extra $83.04 per year, so sign up only if you think access to Amazon's library of e-books, movies, and TV shows is worth that amount.
Without Prime, you would pay at least $3.99 per shipment.
At $79 per year (Prime's old fee), you would pay $19.75 per shipment.
At $99 per year (Prime's new fee), you would pay $24.75 per shipment.
 

How fascinating.
 
2014-03-14 10:03:33 PM

Vlad_the_Inaner: Aestatis: Meanwhile, I get everything in two days and I don't have to drive somewhere, nor do I have to deal with brick-and-mortar salespeople morons.

But you have to flatten all those boxes before you put them in the recycling bin.  That takes time.

/you do recycle, right


Yes, flattening the boxes makes it totally wash out.  And all those annoying packaging plastic bags.

/My county makes recycling realllllly easy...
 
2014-03-14 10:05:07 PM
It's worth it just for Christmas gifts to me.
 
2014-03-14 10:08:48 PM

Intrepid00: What the hell are people buying all the time from Amazon. I live in a pretty pricey area and Target is usually cheaper even if Amazon doesn't collect sales tax.

My guess is you have to have a family for it to be really worth it.


Who the hell are you people that having something shipped to your door isn't worth a several dollar office difference? I'd rather eat glass than go to to a damn target. When I need stupid shiat like batteries and ibuprofen and shampoo and shaving cream and an external hard drive and two rare earth magnets and a 2' ethernet cable and some scotch tape I just pull up that shiat on Amazon then I get back to what I was doing and I'm done with shopping before have made blocks on the on way to target. The next day or the day after that it's on my porch for free or 3.99. fark the gas, I just hate going to the store.
 
2014-03-14 10:17:19 PM

CruJones: jigger: CruJones: AND everything is cheaper

Yeah, that's not true.

Pretty much what I buy is. It's why I started buying Amazon in the first place. Refrigerator, TV, dog food...all cheaper than the local stores.


For me it's not whether or not i couldn't maybe scour the earth and find some schmuck who has it a few bucks cheaper. I probably could. But any time I have checked amazon was cheaper or extremely competitive to the point that the difference was negligible considering all factors. I'm not wealthy but I do work fifty hours a week. In general, if they save me time, the price difference is easily worth it and they save me lots of time. I guess I'm old now... Because I could give a shiat about 3 or 5 or ten bucks. It's more important I can deal with that little thing in three minutes and be done with it. Going to target is going to take an hour and a half.
 
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