The Amazon Free-Shipping Conundrum - Live Like a Mensch
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Live Like a Mensch

The Amazon Free-Shipping Conundrum

When my sister was a little girl, she hoped to grow up to be Lynda Carter.

Well, no. She actually wanted to be Wonder Woman when she grew up.

That was why I was delighted to find this toy Wonder Woman, complete with invisible plane, which is suitable for toddlers:

It's a perfect first Hannukah present for my niece! Because if anyone needs to own this toy, it is my sister's daughter.

There was only one problem--the Amazon Free-Shipping Conundrum.

You see, Wonder Woman and her plane were well south of the $25 minimum for free shipping, which meant I'd have to spend about $4 to get her to my niece on time. In these instances, I have been the victim of Amazon's dastardly plot by buying something I don't really want just to qualify for free shipping. I thought I had figured out a way to circumvent this. Now, when I find myself short of the required $25 minimum, I just save my cart and wait a couple of days. Something will always come up within the week that can be added to your Amazon order, thereby avoiding both the shipping charges and the purchase of unnecessary clutter.

I was super pleased to find I only had to wait a day in order to find another item. While researching an article, I found several references to a Behavioral Economics book that I simply had to own: Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value by William Poundstone. Gleefully, I added the book to my shopping cart, patting myself on the back for avoiding Amazon's trap.

It was then that I noticed that the toy and the book together equaled $24.73.


So, instead of again waiting a few days to find another necessary item, I ended up ordering another book by Mr. Poundstone to make sure I got everything free of shipping charges.

It wasn't until after I had given Amazon my credit card information and closed my browser that I realized I would still have to pay shipping charges to get the toy from my house, where Amazon will be delivering it, to my niece, who happens to live in an entirely different state. If I had just purchased the toy by itself originally and shipped it to the sweet baby girl, I'd probably have paid the same amount total for toy + shipping as I will now. And without having purchased a completely unnecessary book.

Do you see why I have trouble trusting those marketers with their wee beady eyes?

I can't wait for Wonder Woman to get here, though.


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frugal_fun said:

Amazon.com. I can hear it call my name. :)

If you'd like to go hopelessly into debt, you should know it's possible for 4 households to share 1 Amazon Prime membership. Basically for $20 annually you get 2-day shipping on most of the stuff. It's worth it to us, although now that we've moved to the big city, it gets less use. However, if anyone reading this lives in the BoonDocks - well worth the money. :)

November 26, 2012 2:31 PM

bobi said:

I have this same problem. My solution is to keep small items on my wish list that I don't necessarily need but would like or could use. When I'm close on the free shipping, I just add one of the items from my wish list to the order.

December 2, 2012 2:24 PM

Why It Costs You More When It's Free said:

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February 11, 2013 7:00 AM

Why It May Cost You More When It???s Free | My Simple Info said:

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February 11, 2013 7:12 AM

Why It May Cost You More When It???s Free | My Simple Info said:

Pingback from  Why It May Cost You More When It???s Free | My Simple Info

February 11, 2013 7:12 AM

Live Like a Mensch said:

Image courtesy of Majbns80 I've mentioned before how I am just as irrational as the next mensch when

September 10, 2013 8:53 AM

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