Sometimes it is clear what Amazon’s policy or policy’s are and the direction they are heading in is not where I want to go.
I had Prime with Amazon for about two years. After Amazon started collecting state sales tax, I began only buying from their Marketplace vendors from states that didn’t do so. No sales tax about canceled out the shipping fees so that worked for me. I have a visceral objection to paying any of the many mandated and arbitrary taxes and fees demanded by the Statists. Initially, there was no legal reason for Amazon to collect sales taxes (they only had a marginally affiliated operation in this state) but Amazon is completely on board with the campaign to tax the internet and any business that is transacted on it. (I’ve posted on this before) If you have the amazing amount of computing power that Amazon has (and it is estimated that Amazon may have the largest networked computer system in the world. At Two Million servers. TWO MILLION!) then the chore of computing the online sales tax for the over eight hundred different tax jurisdictions in the US is a trivial pursuit. But an impossible task for Amazon’s online competition. Which is the point.
Finally I canceled Prime. Understand I have been an Amazon customer since at least 1997, many years before I tried Prime Membership. Since I canceled Prime, I haven’t liked the way Amazon treats us and (I believe) the attempts of coercion against customers who have dropped Prime Membership. And I’m not referring to the nagging windows and newly visible One Click buttons to reactivate Prime on your account.
This Christmas the last month of my Prime membership passed, I ordered a few items I needed (or just wanted) and in almost all cases I was surprised when most of them arrived the next day, order at night, box on doorstep in morning. I surmised from that that Amazon was finally operating a warehouse/distribution center in my home state. Before I joined Prime, free two-day shipping on orders over $25 was how I shopped with Amazon and though $35 was the new qualifying level, I planned on going back to that method again.
However I found out that there was another change, the $35 free shipping offer was different as it no longer promised two-day shipping but 5-8 day shipping. That change apparently came during the time I was using Prime, or is thrown at former Prime customers only. With Amazon it’s hard to tell since unless you are in the habit of printing a hard copy of the transaction screen then you are basically relying on your memory. An interesting choice on Amazon’s part since that basically puts them on par with most of the Marketplace vendors on shipping times.
But it was when I ordered a blood pressure cuff (Ozeri CardioTech BP3T) that I found out about how far and how brazenly Amazon was willing to go to place the notion in a customers head that without Prime Membership life is much harder than it should be. For this item, supposedly in stock and shipped from Amazon LLC, and over $35 so free shipping was available.
Even though if you didn’t pay attention the order defaults to pricy two-day shipping; as a example I experimented with a item over $35 and two-day shipping cost was a ridiculous $29.16, “Standard” shipping (3 to 5 days) was $14, for the promised free shipping option (5 to 8 days) that shipping option must be selected and clicked on.
So here is the problem for Amazon, if you have the item in your warehouse, in the home state of the buyer who selects free shipping and if you drop it in a box and give it to Snail Mail then it is going to get to them in two days. If he didn’t pay for the expensive and in this case unnecessary two-day option but would get it then anyway what do you do? Simple. Don’t ship. Leave it on the shelf. Or perhaps they have a special room for holding packages until they won’t get to the customer until the allotted time. Because for my order the status stayed frozen at “Preparing for shipping”. For Six Days. On the seventh I canceled the order and re-ordered from Walgreens, who shipped within 24 hours. When will I get it? Don’t know, or care. Amazon was jerking me around, Walgreens didn’t. That’s the kind of guy I am, I don’t like to pay extra and arbitrary taxes and I don’t like to be jerked around. And I don’t think I’m a Amazon customer anymore.
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