Is Amazon Prime worth it?
January 19, 2008 6:59 PM   Subscribe

I'm seriously considering joining Amazon Prime. Should I go for it?

Help me decide!

I order stuff from Amazon all the time. I always group orders to get >$25 worth of stuff and get the free shipping - can't beat the price, but it takes forever. Sometimes I get stuff I don't need to reach the free shipping total, which I wouldn't have to with Prime because there's no minimum order. I'm really impatient and and free two-day shipping sounds fabulous to me. On the other hand, $79 is a lot of money, and I can see myself justifying buying (even) more stuff from Amazon if I go for it. I already did the free trial and I loved it, but I can't do that again.

Any insight, experience or advice you could share would be great!
posted by streetdreams to Shopping (33 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
Yes - it is worth it. You don't have to group them into the same shipment, either. I think it's worth it, but I buy an awful lot of stuff on Amazon (although a lot of MP3s lately).
posted by Pants! at 7:04 PM on January 19, 2008


The only thing that could be a problem is the free-delivery-means-you-spend-more factor. Which happened to me, hardcore.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 7:06 PM on January 19, 2008


If you shop on Amazon reasonably often, then yeah, it's worth it. It really started to click for me when I used the $3.99 per item next-day shipping for a few things, because it's eliminated the need to go to my local Borders or Best Buy or Other Big-Name Retailer when I need something; I save the gas, and it's rare that I need a book/DVD/game RIGHT THAT SECOND. Been using it for a few months now and can't recommend it enough.
posted by phaded at 7:26 PM on January 19, 2008


Totally worth it. Free two day shipping is awesome.
posted by ryecatcher at 7:27 PM on January 19, 2008


(1) I love it and get more than my money's worth out of it; but (2) I fear that it's making me lazy, and I don't shop around as much as I should. Caveat emptor.
posted by rdn at 7:34 PM on January 19, 2008


I love it. It actually makes amazon competitive for things like household products (diapers, etc). I wouldn't say I buy more things , but I'll pay a few dollar premium to shop at amazon. Plus there's the cool factor of a two-day shipping compound miter saw or a next day air carseat for free.
posted by true at 7:37 PM on January 19, 2008


Prime has changed the way I shop. I don't even go to Wal-Mart anymore I get so much stuff from Prime.

I usually have one or two amazon orders a week now. I really feel like I'm getting my money's worth.

I don't think the price shopping is a big deal. Amazon's prices are very close to Costo's prices. To me, it's like a Costco membership except that I don't have to physically go to a store, brave the crowds, and just be annoyed (I can shop at 3 am).

Amazon's prices might be slightly higher than another e-tailer, but after shipping costs and in some cases sales tax, are taken into account, Amazon is pretty comparable.
posted by unexpected at 7:39 PM on January 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


I mean, if you really, really, really need to get your orders in 2 business days, I guess you'd find it useful. But that's $79 that you could use to actually buy other things. I think it's kind of stupid that you have to pay for a service that only benefits you if you're a frequent spender.

I'd say screw it, and wait out the 3+ business days for free shipping; hell, I'd even spend the $79 on Amazon on something else. I must say, though, that I've timed my Amazon Prime trial with the start of the semester, and it's nice to get my textbooks immediately. I won't need the service for more than 2 weeks, though.
posted by BenzeneChile at 7:39 PM on January 19, 2008


Also if you live somewhere like NYC, you can get free same day delivery service (which is AWESOME). I have used it once or twice and it is really useful if you need something for the same day (i.e. going on a trip to greece later in the same day, camera charger broken need it for the trip).
posted by ooklala at 7:53 PM on January 19, 2008


I love Amazon Prime. It has resulted in my ordering more stuff from Amazon, but a lot of that is books which I would have picked up at the local Borders or Barnes & Noble if I had to wait for regular shipping.

Also cool: Amazon has a distribution center here where I live in Lexington, so about 1/4 of the time my 2-day shipping ends up being just 1-day shipping.
posted by tdismukes at 7:56 PM on January 19, 2008


It's totally worth it to me. It's practically instant gratification and I think it saves me a ton of time and cash.
posted by missmerrymack at 8:09 PM on January 19, 2008


I'm similarly torn on whether I come out ahead in the end. But I pay the $79 once, and after that pain, just enjoy it for the rest of the year. It's nice around Christmas or birthdays where the regular free shipping can let you down.

As luxuries go, it's pretty cheap.
posted by smackfu at 8:17 PM on January 19, 2008


I like it!
posted by puppy kuddles at 8:29 PM on January 19, 2008


I love it. I travel about 4 days a week for work so my errand time is extremely limited. Whenever I'm at the computer--e.g., in my hotel room--and remember I need something, I can just order it... and it often shows up long before I would have gotten around to making the purchase. I live in a rural area with few stores, but I travel to cities. Consequently, when it's necessary to examine something in person, I can do the comparison shopping elsewhere but order from Amazon and not have to deal with schleping the item(s) home.
posted by carmicha at 8:40 PM on January 19, 2008


I accumulate a great deal of Amazon credit through various web sites. Had it not been for this, I might never have tried Prime. Now that I've used it for nearly a year, I can't imagine living without it. But that's only because I use Amazon a lot. And I only use Amazon a lot because I accumulate a great deal of Amazon credit through various web sites.

For those who already order a significant amount through Amazon, Prime is a fantastic deal. For those that don't, it's a waste of money.
posted by jdroth at 9:59 PM on January 19, 2008


It's changed the way I shop. I love it and now I can't imagine not having it! What some posters above may not realize is that the $79 covers everything - all year - no minimums - no nothing. I could order a single $1.95 G2 gel pen (if I wanted to) and I'd get it in two-days. You can use it as often as you want - and it includes electronics, groceries (tons of stuff available in bulk) - it's like Sam's or Costco without the sales tax. Many people think only "books" with Amazon (and I buy plenty), but Amazon is so much more than that. (BTW, it has nothing to do with the PRIME membership, but the DRM-Free easy-as-pie MP3 downloads are very nice too!)

Take a look at what's available with free two-day shipping with Amazon PRIME:

- Books (of course)
- Electronics of all kinds
- Groceries
- Health and beauty stuff (like a huge drug store)
- Toys & Games
- Home improvement (like a giant Home Depot)
- Patio, lawn and garden
- Interior decorations of every stripe
- Kitchen appliances
- Apparel, shoes and jewelry
- Huge outdoors store. Hunting, fishing, sporting goods of all kinds.
- Tools, plumbing fixtures, automotive, on and on and on

If you use Amazon like one big giant Big-Box and take advantage of their great prices on most all of the items in the categories above - $79 a year is a drop in the bucket, especially when you throw in the fact that most of us don't have any sales tax to pay. Which means, if you buy any of the above (and we all do) - it pays for itself.

I think Amazon PRIME is the greatest deal on the web - no kidding.

Sorry for the long post, but for anybody who buys anything it's a heck of a deal - delivered right to your door in two-days. No, I don't work for Amazon - I just LOVE Prime!
posted by Gerard Sorme at 10:16 PM on January 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


I love Amazon Prime. I averaged more than $79 a year on shipping with them before it came out, so as far as I was concerned, I was ahead of the game to begin with.

As others have mentioned, with Prime I also find myself buying products from Amazon that are a few bucks cheaper at other e-tailers, as the shipping tips the balance, and I do end up buying a fair amount of items that I would otherwise have gone to a local shop for, when they're price competitive and a two day wait isn't a problem.
posted by nonliteral at 10:22 PM on January 19, 2008


> that most of us don't have any sales tax to pay

. . . yet. Don't count on this remaining the status quo for the remainder of the decade.

Amazon Prime rocks my world . . . I've got 11 pages of orders over the past 2 years.

The amazon.co.jp store also offers Prime for its domestic shipments . . . which makes it pretty damn tempting to retire there eventually.
posted by panamax at 11:08 PM on January 19, 2008


It is worth it for the groceries alone. They have a lot of items I cannot buy locally, and the prices on many items are better than the store prices. Cumin, coriander, agave nectar - all much cheaper from Amazon.

It is also great for small items that I don't need immediately, that would normally require a special trip to a store. I needed a 4 gig flash drive for something last week. To get one at a decent price would require a trip to a store 20 miles away. Not worth my time, or the fuel cost. It took me about a minute to find what I needed and order it.

My UPS driver must hate me by now.
posted by bh at 2:25 AM on January 20, 2008


I have it via my parents. It's really only worth it if you share it with several other accounts — at under $30 apiece it starts looking way more tempting.
posted by blasdelf at 3:01 AM on January 20, 2008


To us it's worth it. If you pay shipping several times a year, especially if you ever find yourself needing something you can't find locally and it has to be sent 2 day or overnight, it's awesome. IIRC, standard shipping ran in the neighborhood of $7.00 before prime. Prime is ~$80. If you get 11 shipments per year from Amazon, that's basically your breakeven. Since I can do up to five during December (yay for internet Christmas) and I can make another five or six over the other 11 months easily, the time savings as far as getting it in two days is awesome. Last week we ordered a shredder, which was way less than a similar model anywhere local, and paid NO shipping for it. That thing is heavy, too. That alone may have made 1/2 the cost of Prime this year.
posted by Medieval Maven at 6:27 AM on January 20, 2008


I had it for a year and I miss it. In fact, this question reminds me I've been meaning to sign up again.

You mentioned a concern about spending more because you didn't have to pay shipping; if you shop Amazon at all like I do, you may spend less. For example: Gee, I need this $12 item. Wow, I'll have to pay $4 to ship that item. But if I find something else I want for $13, I can get it shipped for free! Yippee! That makes MUCH more financial sense than spending $4 for something I could get for free! And so I buy stuff I don't really need or wouldn't have otherwise just to get to the free super-saver level. If you don't find yourself doing this, nevermind. But in my case, if I calculated the cost of all the stuff I bought just because, I'm sure it would reach or exceed $79. Of course, I have actual stuff to show for it, so someone else might still think that's the better way to go.
posted by ferociouskitty at 6:37 AM on January 20, 2008


It's fantastic. Can't tell you how much gas I have saved not having to drive to stores. Knowing I am running out of Art of Shave stuff and just get it shipped...have it in 2 days means I don't have to drive 40 minutes...plus I get the cheaper amazon price!
posted by UMDirector at 8:38 AM on January 20, 2008


Get it, and pair it with an Amazon credit card. 3% back on all Amazon purchases -- every once in a while a lovely $25 gift certificate arrives in your mailbox.

(Obviously pay it off monthly to get the most out of the deal.)
posted by nev at 8:47 AM on January 20, 2008


It's worth it, but consider adding another $20 for a holiday tip to your postal or UPS carrier.
posted by stbalbach at 9:33 AM on January 20, 2008


The only thing I dislike is that the extra charge for overnight shipping is $4 per item. So if you need two books tomorrow instead of one, you'll pay extra for it, even though it's the same box.
posted by smackfu at 11:18 AM on January 20, 2008


I have it. It's probably not it worth it on a pure dollar level unless you buy a lot of stuff, but I like it because then I just don't have to worry about shipping. It's great.

One thing that sucks is that the discount doesn't apply to a lot of stuff that partners sell through Amazon, and there's no way to search for "amazon only" stuff if you're looking for something other then books.
posted by delmoi at 11:30 AM on January 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


Very worth it (I'm on year 2), for every reason listed above. But especially so if you have little kids who make getting to the store a MUCH bigger chore than it would be as an unencumbered person. I can order diapers and kid stuff fast -- I'm expecting a baby this week and ordered my size 1 diapers and an extra swaddler yesterday -- I'll get them and store them properly at home before heading to the hospital on Thursday.

With a toddler and a newborn, I don't anticipate a lot of shopping time, whether it's for diapers, gifts, books, or anything else I don't necessarily need to handle with my own hands. And since we send Xmas presents to nieces and nephews a thousand or so miles away, we make back that $79 in December alone.
posted by mdiskin at 11:52 AM on January 20, 2008


2nding blasdef's note to share the account... this is technically only permissable if you live at the same address, but I split my account with a few other grad students and readily loan out my individual account information to friends and family. It's certainly been convenient for me.
posted by zachxman at 12:23 PM on January 20, 2008


I hit the same problem as delmoi, and canceled my Prime membership because of it. Not being able to limit searches to Prime-only means constantly finding just what you want, then having to drop it and keep looking because it's not part of the Prime club. That's irritating, and a real curb on its utility.

I canceled it two months ago, and I don't miss it.
posted by NortonDC at 12:48 PM on January 20, 2008


I tried it, but cancelled it because it means (in the UK - this may not apply elsewhere) that items are sent by Special Delivery, and therefore someone has to be at the delivery address to sign for the parcel. As I work and my work address won't accept parcels this was no good for me. In the week or so I was a member I also found it frustrating because marketplace items are often cheaper so it was a close call whether to buy a more expensive copy using Prime or a less expensive copy from marketplace but have to pay for postage.
posted by paduasoy at 1:28 PM on January 20, 2008


I have been very unhappy with my Amazon Prime membership. I have not yet received an item in the advertised "2 day" time frame, and some are up to 2 weeks late!

Amazon refuses to refund my money at this point.
posted by bumper314 at 1:50 PM on January 20, 2008


That's surprising. Everything I get from Amazon is shipped 2-day UPS. I've only had one thing late, and that was UPS's fault, during the Christmas rush, where they didn't even meet their own service level.
posted by smackfu at 5:28 PM on January 20, 2008


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