Need a pack of sharpies? Yeah, they might be a few bucks cheaper at Walmart, but then I'd have to go to Walmart. That's an hour of my time wasted driving to the store, walking all over the place to get the sharpies, waiting in line for 15 minutes or struggling with the annoying self checkouts that never work right, then driving home. And I would probably end up getting a few other things that I didn't really need because I don't want to waste the trip.
With Amazon Prime? 30 seconds max and they arrive 2 or days later. And I'm on to my next task. I have too much going on to quibble over the difference of a few dollars when the time savings is so dramatic.
Now, for a major purchase of a few hundred or more, I'm going to spend some time deal hunting. But for everyday items Amazon is plenty sufficient and the prices are usually good enough.
They are still struggling with it.
I'm a Prime subscriber and use it all the time for a lot of stuff. The nearest Walmart is 20 minutes away from me, so a trip there and back for something small actually would take close to an hour. However, I have local options that suffice. So if I need a Sharpie right now, I can drive a half a mile down the road to the dollar store and buy one. There is no line and the store is small enough to quickly navigate.
If I don't need the Sharpies right now, I mark it down on my list and get it the next time I do make a trip to Walmart or some other larger retail store/grocer.
Still, the world would be better with a viable Amazon competitor, especially with tools that would let you search both simultaneously.
I'd suspect if people calculated their hourly rate on doing so they'd go right back to stores.
But that wasn't the point anyway. The point was that Amazon's high prices and sucky UI have opened the door to a competitor. I'm not sure it'll be Jet. I'm not even sure it'll be someone. I mean, they can just lower their prices and fix their sorting. But either way we end up better off.
If there were a site as convenient as Amazon, with comparable service, but lower prices and a better UI, wouldn't you use it? I think that's possible. I don't know if it will be Jet long-term. But it's possible, and that's interesting.
I use it so often that the yearly costs (like prime, about $100/y) is a drop in the bucket.
Amazon used to be less expensive, but in the past few years, I've noticed local stores are sometimes drastically cheaper on basic goods.
I've never returned anything to Amazon before so was surprised at how well it worked.
Amazon has legitimate deficiencies ie. killing off local stores with pricing pressure, horrible ui, etc, but the article goes into the deep end, like the person wants everything to be done his way without having to do any work.
Being upset that you need to put a label on a box is one of the most first-world-problems I've ever heard.
But that's what they are aiming to sell.
There are complaints to be made, but the returns process is not one of them.
Ugh. That is just nasty.
If you are ever tempted to write something like that, don't.
Less visual clutter or cute CSS or JS positioning tricks, for one. If you think hijacking the scroll bar is bad, or hate sites that present a blank page if scripts are off, imagine how you might feel about incomprehensible gibberish spewing from your screen reader.
His points about Amazon's UI are also missing me. The UI seems perfectly adequate and friendly - which is not to say it's the best UI/UX experience ever, but that is never the only business requirement.
Amazon is trying to be a merchant and a product developer at the same time. That's not usually a marriage that ends well for either side: the product developers will overestimate what the merchant side can do (leading to inventory problems that just get pushed off to the merchant side), and the merchants are pressured into stepping on supplier relationships. I can understand with commodity items like AmazonBasics where they basically just find the best item in a category on Alibaba, order a lot and slap an Amazon logo on it, but their actual products like the Fire and Fire TV tread dangerously close to a lot of the other merchandise they sell.
He sounds like he would complain about having to WAIT IN LINE if he had to return the item at a physical store. What a load of crock.
Yes, Amazon's prices aren't the lowest for many things. They never say they are. Prices at Home Depot are often much, much lower for many home items, and you definitely have to do comparison shopping. Which means continuing to sit down, and move your mouse and clicking and typing. Not exactly coal mining and not exactly driving around from store to store like how we did 20 years ago.
But for me, the combination of free, fast, reliable shipping and a decent price is enough to get me buying stuff almost 3 times a week from Amazon.
I'd happily use another site, but who? Target.com and Walmart.com are both worse sites with odd offline customer service (and meh shipping policies). NewEgg used to have better search/sort but also got third party seller ruined (plus return issues). I hear a few peeps about this Jet.com site, but they've extremely new and have had some issues so far.
I want a site with Amazon's amazing customer services, Amazon's shipping polices, but with a better site design. If they're going to do filtering in the search results then having them actually work correctly would be appreciated (they often don't on Amazon).
Their sorting actually works. Their prices are comparable to big box stores. Their shipping is fast and free (with a minimum order, of course). It's what Amazon used to be before it started kinda sucking.
Amazon's UI, in my opinion, is a case study in heavily politicized UI design. There are too many parties involved. They all want more screen real estate. They all think their widget is already the key to Amazon's sales, and if not, they think that if they just had a bit more screen real estate that they would increase sales 10X. Because of the magnitude of the involvement and the stakes at hand, proposing a major overhaul would literally create hundreds if not thousands of internal enemies, ready to do anything and everything to take you out.
As a result, we get Times Square with a cohesive font and color scheme.
I find these love-hate posts interesting.
This is the halfhearted rant of an Amazon junkie. Here is someone who uses Amazon so much that he keeps spare Amazon boxes in his attic. Someone who returns items to Amazon so often, that the inconvenience of plugging his laptop into his printer drove him to buy a new printer (from Amazon, one may assume). Someone who loves Amazon so deeply, that he cannot refrain from praising it---and indeed exonerating it---even as he publicly whines about it.
I find these posts interesting because, although the author is a rather extreme example, it seems to me that this love-hate bondage is quite mainstream, not being limited to Amazon or technophiles. Never mind the first-world indignation at Amazon's failure to meet the author's admittedly unwarranted expectations. The emotion driving this is an ethical conflict: my heart is saying go, but my head is saying stay, or vice versa. Many people (in my estimation) have similarly mixed feelings about Facebook, Apple, and Google, at variously increasing rates.
This conflict is born of dependency. Your negative feelings about something you depend on (pain, shame, frustration, disappointment), strong as they may grow, are never strong enough to overcome your sense of need, along with whatever dopamine hit you get from using it. Despite being old enough to remember a world without Amazon, the OP takes for granted that someone has to do Amazon's job: if not Amazon, then some hard-to-imagine competitor. But the OP will never leave Amazon---not for another Amazon, anyway. He has love enough for both.
So yeah, this is about the author's personal struggle with the mere idea of freedom from Amazon. But it's just as well that the title says "we've all just come to accept it."
Yesterday I was shopping for an electrical box cover. The first result I clicked on was categorized as a musical instrument (specifically, a timbale). The second one I clicked on was categorized as a pair of pliers (specifically, snap-ring pliers).
Sure, customers could misplace a few things in a physical store – but Amazon has complete control here, and they're showing us they just don't give a shit.
I love the checkout and shipping experience on Amazon. The amount of reviews is great (although many reviewers are clearly morons or just fake – that sucks too). But everything leading up to making the purchase is terrible.
I don't actually believe that, but I do find myself thinking of other things I've needed/wanted when browsing Amazon.
Do you know what "conspiracy" means? Do you think a "conspiracy" can be achieved by fewer than two different parties?
You don't need to have an actual conspiracy, just a Them that is secretively and maliciously acting against Us. You may label any possible explanation for an observed phenomenon as a "conspiracy theory" if the following conditions are met:
- You wish to pre-empt calls for citations and evidence by admitting up front that you don't have any.
- You admit that you might not necessarily even believe your own explanation is valid in any way.
- You are explicitly discarding Hanlon's Razor.  The usual reasoning is that the observed behavior could only be explained by stupidity of such colossal magnitude that a much lesser amount of malice would actually be more plausible. This is usually a backhanded dig at the party that may actually be that colossally stupid. (Seriously, how many merchants can't sort a list of their merchandise by price?)
All it takes is 2 people to conspire, whether they are co-workers or not. It fits very well with your first definition: 1. make secret plans jointly to commit an unlawful or harmful act
They let you set Amazon price watches. The browser/email interface works really well, with almost no mental overhead, and can save you significant money on items with volatile prices that you don't need immediately. I use it for collecting reference textbook, which I get at about 20% of the price if I bought them at a fixed time. (I'm not affiliated with them or anything, I just like it.)
Brick-and-mortar stores don't exactly solve this problem -- they just have far fewer choices, and you're relying on something like curation (based on expected sales). It's not always great, but it's generally preferable.
Basically just accept it and deal with it taking twenty seconds per page load before the web browser is usable again.
Next best thing I found for my shopping habits was the Citibank one with 2% flat on everything
Amazon does offer a store card with 5% cashback. I've received targeted offers for it. Possibly you can research it and get yourself into the target group.
Chase Freedom is a 5% cashback rotating-categories card and it includes Amazon in the current quarter. That combined with a Sapphire Preferred is a lucrative way to earn chase reward points that are best used on travel purchases.
Discover also has an online shopping category. Both the Discover and the Freedom have no AF so I would consider getting both of them. Discover used to be better before they changed ShopDiscover. It was like a private FatWallet that often had the highest payouts.
Finally, the Amex Blue Cash offers 3% cashback on a variety of department stores. This is a great card to have for the 6% grocery discount and the department store rebate is a bonus.
Goodluck, and sorry I advertised a card offer that's no longer available.
I don't like the idea of rotating rewards because it seems like I'll be driven to spend more than I usually would on each category while it's in-season.
Didn't know about the Amex Blue Cash, 6% grocery discount is pretty big. I might pick one up, although I need to look at how my credit could be affected, since I JUST got the Citi Double Cash last month.
BTW, most libraries have a digital lending thing now where you can get a kindle book for free for a month or so. (And presumably renew it after that.)
And my local library's digital catalog can also find books that they don't actually have and let me click a "recommend purchase" button. Last time I clicked it, I got an email a few days later that the book was now available.
Of course I would prefer that Amazon is as competitive as possible. However, as mentioned by others, the time savings of going to a store vs. shopping online justifies a little extra cost to me. Amazon solves a few other problems too:
* Security: The more online stores I use, the higher my risk of identify theft. Amazon isn't perfect, but they both have more resources and more incentive (higher stakes) to protect my information than small online retailers. One tradeoff that must be balanced is that Amazon knows more about me.
Note that if Bitcoin were more widely accepted, and retailers collected less personal information, the security offered by Amazon would be less important.
* Selection: Amazon doesn't have every product available, but it does have more selection than most retail stores. I tend to look for high value (high quality to cost ratio) products because I want things that work well and last long. It's often difficult or impossible to find the same selection at local stores.
It might be confusing but this will help you get lower prices often. Amazon also often lists used among the multiple vendors and you can save even more.
Search is half the battle, and admittedly searching for stuff like iPad can turn up a lot of crap iPad accessories, but after that you can shop around just on Amazon to get a really good price.
I will share one gripe though. Ever since book publishers forced Amazon to start charging more for books, it's become a lot more expensive to buy even eBooks, with a markup "violating the Geneva Convention." I very rarely buy books now. The good thing is a lot of the books I would like let you try a sample and if a book is truly outstanding I will buy it. If it's included in Kindle Unlimited I will read it too. If neither of these options are available, forget it.
However if you live in an urban area, it's an entirely different comparison. First of all, let's face it- taping a label to a box isn't as hard as this guy describes. Second, to return it, you only have to find the closest UPS or FedEx store, which, again, in an urban environment is probably closer to you than the closest Starbucks.
That said, larger box items are almost always cheaper on Amazon than from other retailers in my experience.
So, a more appropriate title might be Amazon kind of sucks if you live in the suburbs and are trying to buy groceries or items that would retail for under three bucks.
Also, you don't need packing tape or the original box to do a return. You go to a UPS or FedEx store, and they handle it for you for free. Or you order shipping supplies from FedEx, and they bring them to you for free and then come and pick up your package from you.
This isn't any harder than returning something to a physical store, and in fact it's still easier in many cases because you don't have to wait in line or answer annoying questions.
1. Process return request on Amazon.com.
2. UPS guy knocks on my door with his own label. My guy carries tape and tapes up the box for me, too.
The trick is not throwing out the box until you know you're keeping the item! Same as retail.
UPS stores near my house (and fedex too) all charge to tape up boxes and print out labels.
That is true, and it can really bite you if the item is heavy (speaker stands are my personal example - $17 to return $40 stands... I just kept them).
On the other side of the continuum though sometimes Amazon will tell you to just destroy the item and won't make you ship it back. That's always a nice surprise.
I don't know if it's a regional difference (suburban SV here), but my UPS guy always shows up to my door with his own label and tape. It's REALLY convenient.
Delivery drones (http://www.amazon.com/b?node=8037720011) could make amazon better than actually going out to buy even 1 roll of tape, and returning stuff too.
Also, why does Amazon seem to be the only site on the internet that will give you a guaranteed delivery date and refund you the shipping cost if they miss it?
Amazon has excellent prices, even after they started charging sales tax in my state, and even after factoring in the annual Prime fee. Often the affiliate vendors don't charge sales tax, and sometimes they are a couple of bucks cheaper than the Prime price. I keep trying to find better deals elsewhere -- Ebay sometimes beats them -- but other vendors really can't compete.
Selection at Amazon is fabulous. You can find literally anything there. Between Amazon and Ebay, they've got you covered for probably any kind of product you could imagine.
- User Experience
Well I haven't found it that difficult to do things like sort by price. You have to fast forward past the irrelevant items but many other online retailers have the same problem with false positives and deceptive categorization. After a while, people just get used to it and learn how to deal with it.
Amazon began as a book seller, and it remains one of their core competencies. The Kindle Paperwhite reader is an excellent product (the Fire tablets less so). Amazon has created a first rate ecology for e-books, self-publishers, and of course traditional printed material.
I'm a shopping junkie and I'm always looking for bargains. I do online polls and other tasks to acquire Amazon gift cards, so I may not be the typical shopper. But there are opportunities to knock $5 off here, $10 off there, and really get some deals. Fill out this poll after the AnDevCon and receive a $20 gift card. Really? I'm all in! I live for this stuff.
If you want the luxury of free returns for non-defective merchandise, then shop locally. That's what retail pricing is for -- to pay for the overhead of 10-20% return rates. If you can do your research and shop online very carefully, you can avoid the need to return. If a product is defective, on the other hand, Amazon has first rate service. Usually just print the label, stick it on the box, and leave it on the porch. OK, yeah, you probably need to have a roll of packing tape handy, and tape the box closed -- a rather trivial effort in the grand scheme of things.
Amazon's not perfect, not by a long stretch. Once in a while, there are better deals elsewhere. But if you shop realistically, efficiently, and try to accumulate gift cards, you make out like a bandit.
 Retail sales tax is gradually being extended to online sales. I respect the law, but I feel that I do not "owe" my state any more money than they already get from me (which is a lot). Just because a business has a "presence" in my state should not require them to charge sales tax on an item I ordered over the internet that was shipped from Seattle or Texas or China.
>Amazon "Kind of sucks"
>Amazon "has a world-class distribution system"
Which is it?
> I started looking around, comparing prices, and found that this is not unusual. Pretty much anything Amazon sells that is also sold at your local big box store costs much more.
Care to provide even just one example?
> I’m too lazy to figure out which page the first one pops up on, because I gave up on page 12. Even if you sort by Apple as the manufacturer, you get a bewildering array of crap that isn’t what you’re looking for. Walk into an Apple store or Best Buy and you can figure it out in seconds.
Too lazy? To sort through some results?
This article reads like a Facebook post.
> Too lazy? To sort through some results?
yeah. too lazy to sort through 12 pages of results to find the lowest price, when a computer should do it for you in 1 second