Do or Do Not.

Free isn’t always

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I think it’s pretty well accepted at this point that many companies like to offer their customers “free” products or services that don’t necessarily add any value to the customer’s experience. Case in point: Amazon’s free shipping for orders over $25.

The impetus behind this offer is pretty clear: “Hey, that’s a pretty paltry order you’ve got there,” Amazon tells you. “If you spend just a little bit more money, we’ll give you free! shipping!, so it’s like you’re not even really spending any more money!” They tried this on me last night, and would’ve work if I hadn’t been paying attention to one significant detail…the estimated shipping date.

I ordered two books, both of which were about $10. Amazon told me (in nice, large letters) that if I spent another $4.92 that I’d qualify for free! shipping! OK, fine–I went and found a Blue’s Clues book that I thought the kids might like. The book was $4.99, putting the total just over $25, so free! shipping! was mine.

But the estimated ship date for that order was July 29…next Friday. For three books that “normally ship within 24 hours.” Getting the free! shipping! would have only served to de-prioritize my order. I’d save a little bit less than one dollar, but it would take more than a week longer for my order to show up at my house.

I went back and ditched the Blue’s Clues book (sorry, kids) and selected the regular 3-5 business day shipping instead.

My order shipped this morning.

Written by Allen

July 25th, 2005 at 1:42 pm

Posted in General

One Response to 'Free isn’t always'

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  1. Gotta love the fine print, eh?

    Steph

    25 Jul 05 at 5:03 pm

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