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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos  (Source: Salon)
More price hikes likely in store for Amazon customers

For those that frequently shop on Amazon.com year round (or even just during the holiday shopping season), Amazon Prime is like a gift from the gods. The service allows customers to get packages delivered to their home with two business days (sometimes even faster if you’re close to an Amazon distribution center), gives users access to a growing digital video library (movies, TV shows, original programming) and special Kindle “lending” perks.
 
However, it appears that the $79/year Prime membership may be getting a lot more expensive. Citing increased shipping costs; Amazon CFO Tom Szkutak made it clear that the online retail giant is “considering” a price hike for Prime membership.
 
According to Szkutak, that price increase could be anywhere from $20 to $40, which would put an Amazon Prime membership at $119/year if the bean counters get everything they want.
 
The writing has been on the wall as Prime has been around at the same $79/year price for nine years, and Amazon recently bumped the free shipping threshold for non-Prime members to $35 (from $25) on orders.
 
Amazon has also come further under assault from tax collectors in various states, with North Carolina residents becoming the latest to “face the music” when it comes to paying taxes on Amazon purchases.

Source: The Verge



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RE: I'd pay it. I can't go back now.
By Roffles on 1/30/2014 7:18:17 PM , Rating: 3
I too have noticed these artificial queues with the last few purchases. It would usually show up in 3 to 5 days. The last few times its been 8 to 10 days.

I look at it like there is some person standing in front of me selling cotton candy for $5 and I'm first in line to buy it. So the guy takes my $5 and says, "The cotton candy is yours, it's in my hand and ready to serve to you, but you can't have it yet. I need you to go stand over there for an hour because you won't give me $6 even though I'm selling it for $5. You have to pay an extra dollar for the privilege of me handing it directly to you. And even though there is plenty of cotton candy to go around and no reason for any delay except for the one I have just created, that hour-long wait should be plenty of time for you to think about whether or not you want to cough up that extra buck for the privilege of me handing it directly to you."

It almost seems like some harmless form of extortion.


RE: I'd pay it. I can't go back now.
By someguy123 on 1/30/2014 7:36:18 PM , Rating: 3
I think you guys are being a little to cynical. I've noticed delays (and screw ups) too after prime, but it's more about prime taking priority. If you order something without a set 2 day window they'll just process and ship the 2 day prime orders first since they have to guarantee those orders, which makes sense since they basically paid for the faster order.

It's not like physically waiting in line since they aren't going and shipping some cotton candy to you from the register to your mouth or something.


RE: I'd pay it. I can't go back now.
By Roffles on 1/30/2014 9:05:19 PM , Rating: 2
Okay, so you took the cotton candy analogy a bit to literally. Here's my actual real world example:

In early January, I ordered a $450+tax Vitamix on a Sunday night and chose free shipping because the thing already cost a small ransom. I don't mind waiting until it arrives next Wednesday, Thursday or Friday like free shipping items traditionally have in the past... this is what I naively told myself.

I waited all day Monday and Tuesday and my order finally processed on Wednesday. So it seems that even processing an order gets delayed for non-Prime shoppers. My patience is being tested now. I continued to wait until Friday to get my shipping confirmation. I'm remaining patient but kicking myself for not cancelling my order when I had the chance. When it finally arrived in the mail, it was the next Thursday. So I've waited 11 days to get my item.

The same $450+tax is what I would have payed if I had driven literally 5 minutes down the street from my office during a lunch break to Bed, Bath & Beyond. There were plenty of moments towards the end of that 11 day wait where I though about how I made a stupid purchase decision and won't be doing that ever again.

Now I know it's standard practice for Amazon to toss aside any orders from anyone who isn't subscribed to Prime. So in the future, my Amazon purchases will only be when the item is very heavily discounted and I don't care if it takes a week or a month to arrive.


RE: I'd pay it. I can't go back now.
By someguy123 on 1/30/2014 9:51:48 PM , Rating: 4
That is an awkwardly long wait. I don't know what to tell you because the worst I've had are 2-4 day processing delays with 2~3 shipping for free shipping, so around the 8 days they said it would take. When I ordered 2 or 1 day I'd get them in the expected time except one screw up in december.

Again I really doubt they are holding the thing ransom. I've worked in warehouses and retail back in college and, even for chain stores that aren't dealing with the volume amazon deals with, you frequently have left overs whenever orders start flowing at unusual rates or you have shelves empty because another warehouse decided to ship you 50,000 little packages mixed inside random boxes that someone has to physically sort before it hits a conveyor or even another person. Often you prioritize because there is no other solution, and with prime amazon has to cater to them first out of obligation.

For a company the size of amazon you end up just hiring anyone that is willing to move boxes, which means the speed and quality will vary greatly and should generally lean towards terrible. The fact that places like tiger direct and amazon are so efficient is pretty amazing considering the types of people up for the job of "box taper" and "UPS entrance unlocker".


RE: I'd pay it. I can't go back now.
By Roffles on 1/30/2014 11:00:55 PM , Rating: 5
First world problems, I know, and I still like Amazon, but the last couple orders have shown me that I should go to a B&M if I want it that week. Probably my worst example was having to wait something like 4 weeks back in August to get my Nexus7. There was a supply limitation with the 32GB models and Prime members were getting theirs right away! I sort of looked at it as payed line cutting but didn't really care about the wait.

A coworker of mine had ordered a Motorola Surfboard modem a few weeks back during my own issue and he was also into his second week of waiting. We were the ones who came up with this "conspiracy theory" but I hear a lot of people around me and on the internet saying "It takes longer than it used to". Maybe it's a regional thing but I'm convinced non-Prime orders get negative priority processing.


RE: I'd pay it. I can't go back now.
By Jim_Liquor on 1/31/14, Rating: 0
RE: I'd pay it. I can't go back now.
By syslog2000 on 1/31/2014 10:51:54 AM , Rating: 2
You used something (minor, inoffensive) he said to get on your soapbox and behaved like a jerk. Jim_Liqour, you, sir, are the tool.


RE: I'd pay it. I can't go back now.
By Dorkyman on 1/31/2014 12:26:04 PM , Rating: 2
He may be a tool but you gotta admit that "Jim_Liqour" is a cool name. That counts for something.


By Dorkyman on 1/31/2014 12:27:15 PM , Rating: 2
Oops, actual name "Jim_Liquor." Still cool.


By troysavary on 1/31/2014 1:50:12 PM , Rating: 2
First World Problms is a joke. It is those of us who know we are privileged making a bit of self-deprecating humour when we recognise we are complaining about things that really don't matter.


By Bonesdad on 1/31/2014 8:43:26 PM , Rating: 1
logged in just to downvote that


By EricMartello on 2/1/2014 10:02:49 PM , Rating: 2
He's right, liberalism and anything left-wing needs to die along with these idiotic bumper-sticker sentiments like "first world problems".

Look at it this way, if you live in africa you probably crossed the evolutionary finish line long ago, so you should be cheering because the first world is still running that marathon today while africans are co-habiting with livestock and living like it's 2014 BC.


RE: I'd pay it. I can't go back now.
By Solandri on 1/30/2014 11:40:08 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
n early January, I ordered a $450+tax Vitamix on a Sunday night and chose free shipping because the thing already cost a small ransom. I don't mind waiting until it arrives next Wednesday, Thursday or Friday like free shipping items traditionally have in the past... this is what I naively told myself.

I waited all day Monday and Tuesday and my order finally processed on Wednesday.

You have to read the product description carefully. A lot of Amazon stuff isn't sold by Amazon, it's sold by third party resellers who pay Amazon a percentage if Amazon lists them. I picked the first prime-eligible Vitamax that came up in Aamzon and it's sold by TechGiant, fulfilled by Amazon.

That means if you don't have Prime, all Amazon can do is pass your order on to TechGiant, who actually handles the order. The ordering is done through Amazon's servers and you get Amazon's return protections, but it's sent to TechGiant for processing. As long as TechGiant processes the order in time for you get it within the 3-5 (or however long it is) standard shipping time, they don't get in trouble with Amazon.

quote:
Now I know it's standard practice for Amazon to toss aside any orders from anyone who isn't subscribed to Prime.

In the case where the order is from a Prime subscriber, Amazon tells the reseller, "Per our Prime agreement, you *must* ship this order out with 2 day delivery." If TechGiant fails to do so, they get into trouble with Amazon and perhaps lose their Prime labeling.

So in all likelihood the difference you're seeing (order not processed for a few days) is on TechGiant's end, not Amazon's. I ordered a lot of stuff before I got Prime, and I don't remember Amazon taking more than 24 hours to process any order (if they were the seller).

Click through the "15 new from $xxx" text from time to time. Sometimes the price Amazon shows isn't the lowest available price, sometimes for the same price you can get a much more reliable seller (a bigger company instead of someone running the operation out of his garage, or from Amazon itself).


RE: I'd pay it. I can't go back now.
By gman64 on 1/31/2014 10:56:26 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
You have to read the product description carefully. A lot of Amazon stuff isn't sold by Amazon, it's sold by third party resellers who pay Amazon a percentage if Amazon lists them. I picked the first prime-eligible Vitamax that came up in Aamzon and it's sold by TechGiant, fulfilled by Amazon.

That means if you don't have Prime, all Amazon can do is pass your order on to TechGiant, who actually handles the order. The ordering is done through Amazon's servers and you get Amazon's return protections, but it's sent to TechGiant for processing. As long as TechGiant processes the order in time for you get it within the 3-5 (or however long it is) standard shipping time, they don't get in trouble with Amazon.


This is incorrect. If it says "fulfilled by Amazon.com" the seller has shipped his inventory to an Amazon.com distribution center, and it is Amazon.com that processes and ships your order. The original seller simply gets paid minus a handling fee.


By AmbroseAthan on 1/31/2014 9:49:55 AM , Rating: 2
As some others have pointed out, this can be very item dependent. Similar to the OP, I will gladly keep paying for Prime for the two-day shipping alone and nothing else.

As an example why it works for me, I'm in NYC without a car, so driving somewhere to buy stuff is not as easy for me. I wanted soundbar for my TV for this weekend's Super Bowl. The soundbar I ended up buying from Prime was $20 more than if I did a non-prime seller. But that $20 guaranteed delivery to my apartment by Wednesday; shipping from the other seller was $70 to guarantee it by Friday! Even buying it here in NYC was the same price, plus tax and the cab ride home. Similarly, I bought my dishes from Amazon which is what made me join Prime a couple of years ago. It was going to be $50 for standard shipping (5-8 days) on them until I joined Prime, than 2-day was free.

Personally, I now buy almost everything online from Prime and it shows up two days later, or the next day for $3.99. There are very few items I have found which are not prime eligible. You just have to make sure if you have a Prime membership you are buying the Prime eligible items/version.


By eek2121 on 1/31/2014 12:01:40 PM , Rating: 3
Amazon does not appear to sell Vitamix products. Most (all?) Vitamix products are sold by third parties. A quick check on a couple different vitamix products shows that the product was actually shipped FROM a 3rd party seller NOT amazon. That explains your shipping delay.


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