The time I almost thought that Amazon Prime was a good deal for me

I’ve talked about Amazon Prime before. My general take is that it’s probably not worth it, unless you would be paying for the music/movie streaming service, or buy a lot of stuff from Amazon.

Amazon really really really wants you to sign up for Amazon Prime. It’s in all of their marketing funnel messages, every step of the way.

It’s not hard to see why. At an annual fee of $99/year that automatically renews unless you specify otherwise, it’s an opportunity not only to get a guaranteed income from Amazon customers, but also a chance to divert people’s spending from other places over to Amazon.

On one hand, I re-evaluate my stances all the time. (I did buy a home, after all, and one of my very first posts was about how renting is better than owning.)

On the other hand, as vigilant as I try to be, even I’m not immune from the ceaseless onslaught of marketing.

And so recently I found myself this close to signing up for Amazon Prime.

The purchase

I was recently in the market for a contact juggling ball.

Contact juggling ball
Don’t judge me. I know you’ve bought all sorts of weird things on Amazon too.

Never heard of contact juggling? You may have seen it here:

While there were many online stores that sold them, for various reasons I decided to go with Amazon. It maintained the best intersection of price/selection/shipping.

But for more various reasons, I wanted it to come soon. (I mean, doesn’t everyone?) But more than that, my $17.99 purchase added $6.17 for slow shipping. (My order didn’t qualify for free shipping, as it was under $50.) Much more than that for two day shipping.

I was bummed by this. Adding 34% to my order to get it in a week didn’t seem very satisfying. And two day shipping would add even more to the cost.

That could turn this into one spendy juggling ball.

The shipping blues

I started to think. How nice it would be if I didn’t have to sit there during the shopping cart process and play chess with the shipping options. How nice it would be to just order anything I wanted, not have to worry about the $50 minimum ($25 for books), and know that it would be here in two days.

Maybe $99 was a small price to pay for that.

And I could sign up right now. I could waive the $6 fee, and get my contact jugglng ball in two days. I could be juggling in three days!

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I was tempted. I was sorely tempted.

But like any large purchase, if you feel like you’re a position where a quick decision is needed, the smart choice is to walk away from making it, even if it costs you more later. A financial decision made under duress is always going to be a costly one.

So I took my own advice and put the decision off for later. If I decided that I wanted Amazon Prime the next day, I’d be out $6 dollars. Fine.

Contact juggling ball on Amazon
My order

The determination

And aren’t I glad I waited.

Because once the pressure of the decision was lifted, it became obvious that I had made the right choice.

There were a few comparisons that I needed to make. In order to make a fair comparison, I needed to know that following statistics:

  • How much shipping charge I paid over the past year (or two)
  • How often I opted for faster shipping.
  • How much I would have spent if I had opten for faster shipping.

So I went back and looked at my order history.

I found that I had done the following since the beginning of 2015 (so about two years).

  • # of orders: 10
  • # of orders with free shipping: 8
  • Total shipping paid: $14.71

Now, one could argue that I gamed my orders to qualify for free shipping, and you’d be right. Assuming I ordered the same amount but didn’t bunch my orders, I would have paid $58.57.

Now, I never paid for expedited shipping once in all these orders. If I had, I don’t know how much it would have cost, but let’s be generous and assume that the price would be double what I paid. Actually, let’s say double and a half, which would have turned $58.57 into $146.43.

Even accounting for all of these factors, I would still spend more for Amazon Prime than I did on shipping!

But one could say that if I had Amazon Prime, I’d be more likely to order from them and take more advantage of the free shipping.

To which I say: I don’t need any more excuses to spend more money with Amazon.

As always, do the math

Do you spend more with Amazon? If so, do the math. See if makes sense given your current purchase history. If you spent double or triple what I did, maybe it would make sense. If you spent ten time what I spent, it definitely would make sense.

Also, whether it’s against the rules or not, if you can share one Amazon Prime account with multiple people, it might become much more worthwhile. I might not pay $50 a year, but I’d certainly be much more tempted. It might push you over the edge.

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It is definitely interesting to learn that I questioned spending $99 a year now to avoid paying a one time $10 charge. Just goes to show that I’m not immune from marketing. Which is why I restate my thesis from one of my original posts: if they are advertising something, you don’t need it.

And believe me, they are advertising the hell out of Amazon Prime.

But enough about me: Do you have Amazon Prime?

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