Amazon dissatisfaction

Update: bought by Walmart. Oh well.

Original article:

I’ve been an Amazon customer since 1997. However, this year they’ve started to annoy me.

The first annoyance was when they increased the minimum order for free shipping to $50. That wasn’t a big deal; it just meant I batched up purchases into bigger orders.

Then they started offering some video games exclusively to Prime subscribers. Video games were one of the things I bought from Amazon a lot, because stores often only keep the most popular games in stock. Nevertheless, I started shopping at Gamestop more.

My reason for not buying Prime is simple: I don’t want to buy everything from Amazon, and that’s exactly what Prime is designed to motivate people to do. I like to support local businesses as much as possible; I typically only go the Amazon route after I’ve tried and failed to find what I want at a local store.

So I carried on as a non-Prime Amazon customer… and now they seem to have started delaying shipping. I haven’t found official confirmation of this, but there’s a lot of discussion online. For my last two Amazon orders, they sat on the order for 5 days doing nothing — and then shipped the order with 2-day shipping.

Amazon has six fulfilment centers in Texas, of which five are robotic. Being right in the middle of the state on the main highways, this meant I used to be able to order with super saving shipping and have stuff turn up reliably in about 5 days, often less. No more! There might be a heavily automated eighth generation fulfilment center 90 minutes away in Shertz, but Amazon will apparently hold my order for nearly a week just to make sure I don’t get it early.

I’m fine with having slower surface mail shipping as the “super saver” option, and paying extra if I want faster shipping. I’ve even paid the extra sometimes. However, I’m not fine with Amazon sitting on my order and then using the expensive shipping, just to make sure the goods arrive slowly. It makes it really obvious that it’s not about shipping costs, but rather about trying to push me to pay for a Prime subscription.

So, last time I needed some stuff I couldn’t get locally that I would normally have bought on Amazon, I ordered from Jet instead. They’re basically offering what Amazon used to — free shipping with $35 orders, no artificial delays, no membership fees, and low prices.

Verdict on the first order? Everything arrived on time. Selection wasn’t as great as Amazon’s, but it was adequate. Will use again, unless they get bought by Walmart.

One thought on “Amazon dissatisfaction

  1. I have a feeling that Amazon is going to go the Microsoft route, trying to turn large market share into higher profit margins. This is actually quite a bit different than the Wal-Mart route of trying to turn large market share into even larger market share. The Microsoft model squeezes the purchaser, while the Wal-Mart model squeezes the producer. Both are annoying, but the Microsoft model annoys its own customers, while trying to keep them in a place where they don’t feel they can afford to go elsewhere, whereas the Wal-Mart model ditches its own producers for alternatives in low-wage countries, thus annoying their actual customer less (except when they result in their customer’s losing their jobs, which is a long-term viability issue for that model). It took about 10 years for Microsoft to go from king of the hill to has-been (albeit still a big has-been). I wonder how long it will take Amazon?

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