As a resistant shopper and a pretty tough upsell, I’m generally the despair of anyone selling extended warranties, department-store credit cards and other impulse or point-of-sale add-ons.
I placed 46 Amazon orders in 2012, for items ranging from DVDs and books to ironing-board covers, pink Himalayan salt, a refurbished wireless router, a bathroom fixture, canned goods and pantyhose. Figuring shipping would’ve run $6-8 per order or more (or $3.99 for the penny used books I’m prone to buy) I’d say the deal turned out to be greatly in my favor — and the items generally showed up on my doorstep within two days.
Aside from the monetary savings, the Prime service helped conserve my sanity by eliminating a lot of dithering. If you’re like me, suffering from information overload and decision fatigue, being spared yet another pro/con mental argument (“I could get the ironing-board cover at Target, but will they have the right color and is my time worth the savings in shippng costs?, blah blah”) is worth a pretty penny as well. I found Prime spared me numerous errands to discount stores, which probably conserved funds I would’ve spent on unplanned purchases there, as well as wear & tear on my body, mind and vehicle. I can shop at hours convenient to me, click and cross another item off of my to-do list.
That’s a lot of value for about 22 cents a day, so I’ll definitely be renewing for another year. I’m confident now that the lure of free-shipping doesn’t generate a frenzy of unnecessary shopping, and while I feel bad for bricks and mortar stores that can’t provide the same deal, it works for me right now. (Note that Sears and Kmart offer a similarly priced free-shipping/VIP service through their Shop Your Way rewards program, and I’ve had great mail-order service from Kmart on household staples — but they don’t sell used books and many other products I want.)
Two other minor but potentially fruitful aspects of Prime: It also allows for a lot of free video viewing, which I haven’t had time to access but may well on some long winter evenings. If it turns out that Amazon will fill the need currently being served by Netflix, I’ll cancel the flix and save $7.99 per month. Also, during the holiday rush, Amazon’s checkout process sometimes offered me the option of forfeiting two-day service in exchange for a promotional credit. When I didn’t need the item right away, I agreed, and now have $9 to spend in its video library — though the credit expires Jan. 31, which seems to me a rather short redemption period.