The Haphazard Blog Free Shipping Nonsense

by on September 2, 2009 7:59 PM, under Life, Shopping

I’ve had a lot of good experience with Amazon’s free super saver shipping in the past. My online shopping purchases have dropped over the years and if I couple it with Amazon charging sales tax in Kansas (yet nothing ever ships from Kansas) I don’t shop at Amazon that much. But, as I said I’ve had good experiences when I do. Things would ship out fast and arrive within a week or so. This last time, it did not go so well.

My Dad was going to India and my cousin asked him to bring her a stethoscope. Normally I bargain hunt and research sellers to get the best deal. Since he was leaving in a couple weeks and I wanted to be sure to avoid any problems I paid a little more and went with Amazon. So I placed the order August 24th. The stethoscope was in stock, so I was literally shown these options:

  • FREE Super Saver Shipping (5-9 business days)
  • Standard Shipping (3-5 business days)
  • Two-Day Shipping (2 business days) –get it Wednesday, August 26!
  • One-Day Shipping (1 business day) –get it Tuesday, August 25!

I’ll also point out that I had the wrong date for when my Dad was leaving and never should’ve chosen the free super saver shipping option to begin with. But I learned something valuable about what Amazon does when you choose that option. A week goes by and the order hasn’t shipped. I’m a little concerned, but I figure even if it ships today (August 31), I’ll get it in time.

I get the e-mail it ships, and it has an estimated delivery date of September 5-11, 2009. Unbelievable. The item was in stock, 5-9 days. What in the world? I contact Amazon and they tell me that the 5-9 is transit time. There is also an up to 5 day processing time. And for good measure, unprompted, the CSR tells me they can’t explain everything on the web site. Really? They can’t change it to say 5-14 business days? Add an asterisk and note that is only transit time and there is a processing time as well? If people are worried about off-shoring call centers because of accents, don’t worry, they’re getting a lot better. This guy was just as rude as anyone with a less noticeable accent. Same terrible experience for less cost (to Amazon).

In the end I signed up for the Amazon Prime trial and had it shipped second day. It showed up second day. My original order showed up on Saturday the 5th. I refused the package and sent it back to Amazon. I dropped the package off at the post office and got a refund on the 16th. I learned to only use the free super saver shipping if you don’t care when it shows up. Sometimes it’s fast, sometimes it isn’t. And when it isn’t, it can be 5 days longer than you’re led to believe.

–get it Tuesday, September 29!
–get it Monday, September 28!
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