- The reviews are actually useful. I just bought a 70 inch TV through amazon and the critical and helpful reviews really helped me get going with settings on the TV that would have taken hours to research on google otherwise.
- Shipping is superfast. Most items are delivered within a day or two with prime.
- Btw, if you are a parent of a baby, then check out Amazon Mom. It is free with Prime membership and gives you further discounts if you subscribe to ordering baby stuff like formula, diapers etc. on amazon. Also we compared the prices and it is almost impossible to beat amazon for these things as well.
- No need to go drive to a store. Sometimes I need to buy $10 item for which I might end up spending $2 on gas.
- Easiest returns if the need arises.
- Not to mention that Amazon prime gives you access to lot of great videos, movies, shows etc as a bonus.
One drawback with prime is that not all items are Prime eligible. Specially what they call "add on items"
Huh? Where did you look?
For formula, diapers, wipes, etc. Amazon didn't come close to Target, even without coupons. Amazon was like $23 for diapers that were $19.99 at Target. I've been a prime member forever, and wanted to use Amazon, but it easily cost 10-20% more, even with automatic ordering. Combine Target retail or sale prices with coupons and the 5% credit card discount and it was an unbeatable combo.
Of course the economy of scale applies to that membership fee. Scaling across more kids makes a better value prop.
As for Formula? You can't just change to whatever is cheapest that week.
Then stock up, and seriously? Their shelf stocking doesn't work that way. Any SKU ordered (other than food stuffs and specialty seasonals) are stocked for, at least, one month in any given location before long term stocking is decided on
My experience is otherwise. Maybe in your experience through multiple brands is that they are all the same, but your experience is equally limited.
The simple fact that my experience says otherwise, however, does disprove yours.
> Then stock up
I can't believe you have children and would "stock up" on diapers. Kids grow.
Shaving 2-3 hours a month off the shopping time budget? F yes. I hate shopping.
Amazon: $45.99 (doesn't include the $2 coupon on the page).
Also, on the page: Pay as low as $26.74 ($0.18 / count) with Subscribe & Save and Amazon Mom
Target also offers a subscription, and 5% additional savings if you use their credit card.
Maybe their are additional savings, but I didn't see any of it mentioned. Maybe it's different for formula for wipes, but I didn't feel like checking that, too.
Plus, Target is a smaller package (my son grows like a weed, I want just-in-time inventory), I get another penny per diaper off with the credit card, and Target accepts stacked coupons, which typically translates to another $0.05-$0.10/count discount.
Also, the we don't use it, but the Target generic brands are very high quality and cheap. Saved us a bundle when my son was on formula and the Enfamil coupons ran out!
1. Amazon has more size choices.
2. You didn't say up front you were comparing different diaper brands. Maybe they are just as good. However, we've tried different diaper brands in the past, and went with those we knew would work.
Not that any of this changes things. I was just curious about the pricing. We use Pampers because we found them to be the best for what we needed. Now though, we get them free. =/
Anyone who thinks all diaper brands are the same has never had the experience of choosing poorly. =)
When I buy things like you describe, I price check at walmart.com. typically amazon is less after shipping.
Border/customs tariffs from American websites ruins any cost savings (like paying $20 in fees for a shipping a $40 item ). That is the root problem, given the geographic nearity.
There's also an option somewhere to restrict search results to only items that can be shipped to the chosen country. You'll be disappointed by the reduced selection though. In this case, I suggest Amazon UK who has reasonable shipping to Australia.
priceusa.com.au places the order for you and is closer to a personal shopper service (at a premium)
shipitto.com seems to be a mail redirector but has silly postal costs.
myus.com is similar to shipitto.com
(I use Ship Happens, but there are many more)
I can search for something like "Vacuum Filter" and receive results from 26 departments including Baby Products. So say I go to Home & Outdoor > Vacuums & Floor Care › Vacuum Accessories › Vacuum Filters › Upright Filters. Now I want to search by brand but there's nothing available for my model when I filter the search, however I can buy a Dyson filter under the "Hoover" sorting. Then half the listings are from 3rd parties who only include a lone 120x120 pixel image, an incorrect product description (or none at all), and with 0 product reviews. Then I give up on logical searching, type in the product code and the only listing was in the Automotive department after all.
Sorry to go on a rant but I find the shopping experience on Amazon to be incredibly frustrating. I usually end up using Google or another site and even when I do find the Amazon listing I'm hesitant to buy because of the sketchiness of the listing.
Picking a department is always annoying especially when there are two or more it could easily be in, but overall I like the search options. For example I have wide feed so I always need 4E shoes and Amazon can filter out all of the shoes which don't have 4Es.
A "20 minute interstate drive" is supposed to be a lot?
People commute for longer everyday just to get to work, and you're talking about shopping...
This has actually become the most compelling thing about Amazon for me. I've been a Prime member since the start and Amazon has taken care of me without question even when it's not entirely "their" problem (stolen packages, marketplace sellers, my own mistakes).
Also, a not entirely well known benefit of Prime is the option to share the free 2-day shipping benefit with four family (They call it "household member", but no need to have the same address) members.
* Large-volume shippers have always gotten much lower prices than you'll get walking into a UPS store. Amazon is an uber-volume shipper.
* Their warehouse network minimizes the actual distance products must travel on average.
* I naïvely assume they've worked with carriers to optimize how they interface with them (both digitally and physically; e.g. boxes stacked/arranged in certain ways for pickup).
* Amazon often does not have the lowest prices for things, especially small/cheap items. If you buy a $5 widget you could have gotten for $3 at the local hardware store, some of that is probably making up for cheap shipping.
Those are your margins. If they are less than T+400bps you are "losing money" for investors. Unless, there are other investors looking to take the stock off your hands.
It's hard to imagine where all those investors think the extra profits will come from. Do they expect Amazon to suddenly announce one day that it has finished trying to grow, and will be raising prices immediately? Or do they think that eventually, every single one of its competitors will have given up, and folded beneath the company's relentless expansion?
Unless you have a real answer for this, you are betting on the greater fool theory. Of course, you may have a better answe than this. [Digging around a bit, it seems to (/may) be tax avoidance. Amazon is eating fulfillment costs in lock-step with its increasing gross profits on product sales].
 technically, multiplied by another factor of around 1.8, which is the sales/asset ratio. This number appears to be <6%. http://static.cdn-seekingalpha.com/uploads/2013/1/8/2164901-...
People buying shares on the market doesn't give any money to Amazon and is rather meaningless in this context.
Spending money on dividends looks like a poor choice. If your share price is sagging, you can always buy back your own shares with part of your cash hoard, like Microsoft did recently. Investors are always willing to believe that your investment will make the stock more valuable because TECHNOLOGY. And if they aren't, who is to guarantee that the stock will have any value at all next year? Cough-- Nortel Networks-- cough.
Notice how many tech stocks are in here? http://www.forbes.com/sites/dividend/2011/01/24/10-stocks-th...
While its true that lack of profits limit dividends, return on invested capital is measured using other metrics. So the question of dividends "not a news flash", in the sense that it's not central to the topic.
The question of profits, though remains. Three possibilities:
(1) Tax losses & Tax Shields (avoidable, but cash positive)
(2) Obfuscation of earnings (avoidable, but to deter entry)
(3) Stategic operating losses (unavoidable)
(4) Incompetence (or actual lack of business leverage).
Since no one is really arguing (4) the question is more which of 1-3 is relevant? I don't think avoiding dividends would be a central consideration, but YMMV.
The quote, while probably not wholly accurate, is funny. I think milesskorpen was going for funny, so don't take it too literally.
If you really don't like your mailman, start ordering water too.
My parents bought a giant freezer for $100 from one years ago. It sips power and keeps a week supply of food frozen. The catch is that you might have to live with a harmless scratch or ding.
 Or a big heavy television. Or anything else you can find on Amazon.
I live in a fairly low population state, and there are at least 2 major UPS distribution centers within a 3-6 hour drive. My small town also has an UPS office and ground facility where shipments through them to the surrounding communities originate. Even FedEx has distribution centers nearby (although their shipping here is notoriously slow and clumsy).
So, I'd believe it. I can't think of anything gets shipped out here via air and much of this area is rural. The only reason Amazon's "free" shipping is slow to this region is likely because they probably hold orders destined for a specific area or zip code until they can get a bulk shipping rate on all of the items and send them out via the same carrier. I've speculated about this before because Amazon will happily hold onto items for 1-2 weeks via free shipping that will arrive within 2-3 days after they've been marked as "shipped." Amazon Prime shipped items usually arrive within 2 days, and like you, I'm pretty sure those are overnight ground.
Just because he doesn't know how they can do it profitably doesn't mean they don't know how to do it profitably.
The sweatshop labor probably helps them a lot. They're worse than WalMart.
I still like amazon, and still have Amazon Prime, and I am still looking forward to their Black Friday / Cyber Monday deals.
- They sell e-books which are bad inherently
- They don't pay taxes everywhere
That's 80% of the list.
You should have noted that this list was for people who avoid stuff like Ubuntu for not being F/OSS enough, because this list is clearly intended for the hardcore anti-capitalist pro-freedom types.
We all know it's up to the consumer to pay the sales tax on their tax filings.
They're paying it in more jurisdictions than ever and the infrastructure they're setting up to support paying taxes in every jurisdiction will be sold as a service to other merchants. This will enable the technical ability for states and municipalities to finally collect revenue on Internet sales universally.
I specifically find the argument funny that amazon "steals" from me because it doesn't pay "enough" taxes, even though they pass their savings to me more directly than the state ever will
The existence of the state is inseparable from the existence of slavery.
We’re answering: “Horizon is an imaginary line which moves away each time you approach it.”'
Would the terms "left" and "right" have the same meaning in all parts of the world at all points in history? Of course not. But when people make a statement without context, you can assume they mean the terms as the majority of their contemporaries use them.
Also, referring to "the Left" as if it were a single thing qualifies you as the "ignorant" one. Even back when the USSR existed, there were differences of opinion. You can look up Marshall Tito and the differences of opinion between Mao and Stalin if you're curious.
Where I live, we have a Communist Party (Stalinist) and a Left Bloc party (merger of Trotskyist and Marxist factions) both in Parliament. They still call themselves part of the Left, even though they effectively refuse to do any kind of coalition.
This is not to mention the smaller parties and movements, such as the Reorganizing Movement of the Proletarian Party (MRPP) and, of course, the various Anarchist groups.
Hacker News, if anything, is probably to the right of most Americans, due to the number of libertarians and entrepreneurs.
Just one more reason for them to be aware of ignorant labeling. Or do Libertarians enjoy being considered fascists?
You need to decide whether a company offends your values on balance. Both as a customer of Amazon and as a supplier (author/publisher), I've found them better then average to deal with.
How are they as an employer? No personal experience, but better than WalMart and FoxConn, I'm sure.
Plus--that two day shipping--works great for their items, but it's hit, or miss with resellers.
So yeah, Amazon is paying to get representation. But they're still significantly smaller than the "enterprise" folks.
So lack of negative reviews is meaningless on Amazon.
To be fair, there is good reason for this but I am sure it is easily abused, but it is not like they checked the review, the action was near immediate when they got the request.
unless you count in the other sellers. i.e. stuff not marked as sold by amazon, then all that you said stop to be true.
reviews means little because when bad reviews pile up, they create a new listing.
shipping is weird. some stuff may be shipped from china. arduino clones.
oh and that, you get arduinos clones being sold as originals.
at least the returns are usually still better than the alternatives.
- anecdotal, but in the several years of using amazon, never had a problem with any of the 'non-amazon' sellers. There are ratings for a reason. That's like saying you didn't get what you wanted from one ebay listing so all of ebay is bad
- reviews don't mean nothing..what's your problem with the current reviews. Like anything you read, take it with a grain of salt. Amazon also includes verified reviews, as in, people who actually purchased the product. Search google if amazon isn't enough for you
- based on the rest of your post you ordered what you thought was an arduino from a non-amazon seller off of amazon, found out it was a clone, and was pissed cause you thought the reviews would have made that more clear
Idunno, maybe he's Canadian? Amazon.ca is a joke compared to the American inventory.
It's still far from amazon.com, but they just added quite a few non-book items. I recently ordered three electronic items that normally I would have had to get shipped across the border.
It's a good company, but I have seen them start to slip.
I still buy from them, but I don't just click like I used
- inventory is limited? which amazon website are you visiting?
That could be what is being said. Almost everyone I've talked to that doesn't like eBay essentially says something like this.
Kidding aside, it's horrible. I find myself going to other sites for reviews (NewEgg is a good one), then buying on Amazon. Crappy of me, I suppose. But they've hooked me with Prime.
I love and use Amazon all the time. but there are so many weird things about it.
Sometimes I buy something thinking it's from Amazon, but it's not, it's from another seller, and sometimes the product is not "mint." It seems like it was opened before and put back in and there are finger prints all over it or something that is "slightly" off like a tiny dent.
I feel like there's definitely room for something better.
I do read the negative Amazon reviews, though. I'm also finding myself looking at their customer-submitted photos to get a better sense of size+function, and checking on YouTube for reviews as well. I'd rather get a review of a radiator thermostat from a guy that has reviewed a few of them (and posted videos of them all) than trust a bunch of 50-word reviews anywhere else.
Inventory sucks? Reviews meaning nothing? Incorrect!
It's called the bait and switch? That's always how it works. They will extract value from you, likely in ways you don't understand. Or cant comprehend. At times you won't expect. Anything else is a mathematical impossibility, given the fiduciary repsonsibility of management. Its not if but when.
(Dont forget this applies to taxes as well through NOLs.)
Prime has become a bit less useful over the past year due to the introduction of Add-On Items.
One of the great utilities of Prime (and Amazon in general) is that it saves me a trip to Wal-Mart for smaller items. Need a pack of Sharpies? Ship it from Amazon, because a trip to Wal-Mart is an hour of my time wasted and a level of frustration that I really could do without. I'm willing to pay money for that convenience.
Amazon also sometimes has a "bulk" item at a higher price.
And to your point about attaching them to a prime order, I would have to imagine Amazon is aware of this limitation and I wouldn't be surprised if they add this feature soon.
Therefore Add-On items are just an improvement to Prime.
Also, I'm pretty sure everything that's actually sitting in an Amazon warehouse is prime-eligible. The stuff that isn't is the stuff going through 3rd party sellers that don't use fulfillment by Amazon.
Everything in the warehouse is not prime. If fact, an item can flip from prime to not prime in near real time if the most accessible inventory is used up and all that is left is the stuff in the 'reserve' areas of the warehouse. This is the area where the giant boxes of inventory stored. Grabbing inventory from there involves pulling it down, opening, pulling apart eaches, and then stowing in fast access areas.
But I am glad Amazon is raising prices. I don't want them to falter and hope they continue what they're doing. I'd be screwed without em.
Personally, I think Prime is a serious USP for Amazon that is often overlooked. It's pretty controversial among analysts (from what I understand) with some claiming it's causing explosive growth  yet with others unconvinced it's sustainable .
Definitely a company to watch over the next 10+ years though...
So I think they are transitioning to a system where they maintain stock in every warehouse, and every warehouse is within 2 days UPS ground to everyone in USA. If you ship things to Amazon for Fulfilled by Amazon they want you to ship to at least 3 warehouses. Prime is a major reason I buy everything from Amazon. Often I can find goods at lower prices from other retailers online but the free second day shipping that is always on time cannot be beat.
So this latest super saver shipping change I think is Amazon basically making shipping free due to its superior distribution system. Paying UPS for to door delivery from nearby warehouses for all these items is most likely less money than it costs stores for rent and other costs associated with brick and mortar.
The BLS's Transportation Services urban CPI has increased 29% since August 2003, or 2.6% annually. Amazon would need to have offered the free-shipping-for-orders-over-twenty-five deal for the last 13.3 years, or since before June 2000, for this threshold increase to be on par with inflation.
A lot of people had fun finding the cheapest piece of media, I think someone found a warehouse full of 10p cassette tapes at one point being sold by a company and handled by Amazon, thus giving people 10p shipping for orders under £10.
Regardless, if you have 4 friends you can split the cost of prime up to 5 ways (yourself + 4 friends) for next day. In my experience, at least, this has worked even delivering to different addresses. You have to list them as family members, 3 of my "family" are housemates and a fourth lives down the road.
I took up the free month again this year, and have decided to keep it for the year. The finial decision point was when I realised that the free faster delivery often includes Saturday delivery, which I find more convenient than having larger and/or heavier things delivered to work.
Tax-free New Hampshire is 45 minutes away from Boston, and I suspect that once the sales tax kicks in, all those malls and outlets up north are going to see an uptick in business.
In fact, probably that's why they're squeezing the shipping now, because of this impending hit that they know they're going to take, until people become resigned to the tax.
But it might alter our shopping behavior and start being more disciplined and saving up lists of stuff to get, and then the trip starts to become worthwhile. (It doesn't hurt that I have a Prius now, 50 mpg/22kpl).
> Example: You purchase furniture for your Massachusetts business or residence from an out-of-state firm and pay no Massachusetts sales tax. You are required to pay the 6.25 percent Massachusetts use tax. The use tax applies because the furniture was not subject to a sales tax in the other state and because it is for use in the Commonwealth.
"Sells to Massachusetts residents or businesses and delivers, repairs or installs goods or telecommunications services within the Commonwealth."
Without that stipulation, essentially anything you buy anywhere outside the state for which you didn't pay sales tax, then carried back into the state, is subject to a "use tax". This seems both unreasonable and unenforceable.
Suppose while on a trip you buy a souvenir at a gift shop in NH, or Alaska, or Delaware, or Oregon, where there is no sales tax. Does this law actually require that you are to pay tax on it when you bring it over the border? That sounds like a tariff or customs duty, a power which the Constitution specifically assigns to only the Federal government.
Also, given that the price of the item includes baked-in compensatory taxation such as higher property taxes or income taxes, effectively you would be double-taxed. New Hampshire, for example, has much higher property taxes than does Massachusetts. They have to get their revenue somewhere.
Well I'm no lawyer, but I think the difference is that tariffs apply regardless of the tax you paid overseas, whereas use tax only makes up the difference, if it was originally in your favor (if you pay 8.75% sales tax on an item in San Francisco, Massachusetts won't refund you the 2.75% difference when you bring it back, but they won't charge you extra tax either.)
I'm amazed it actually took Amazon so long after the demise of Play.com to do this. (Play.com were a serious competitor for games/music but had a tax loophole closed on them.)
We still spend several hundred to several thousand dollars per year, Amazon makes shopping so easy.
Online retailing is a great innovation; it makes sense, it's convenient, the selection is 1000x better, the service is excellent (at least at Amazon), and it saves people having to drive somewhere. The reviews and comments are useful, the related items and "what people bought" sidebars are handy.
By contrast, retailers have lost their edge. They hire low wage non-specialists, often high school students or other non-professionals who would rather be doing something else for a living.
So when you go to a store to purchase a gadget or article of clothing or book, your chief human interaction experience is distressingly often with a bored, under-motivated person who hates his job and hates you too.
I treasure the exceptions to the above rule, the dedicated doing-it-for-love guy or gal who really knows their stuff, like the extremely knowledgeable handyman guys and gals at the local hardware store--which is why I still patronize my local Ace whenever I can. Except they sometimes have a teenager who doesn't know where anything is, who doesn't scan my frequent buyer card, who can't offer me any advice whatsoever, who screws up the price. That kind of morbidly useless experience drives me (and millions of others) to redirect my money to smart, helpful businesses like Amazon.
The way of the world, I suppose.
Amazon does provide a lot that stores don't, but now you're asking what is the outcome of your choice for yourself, not for others. There is a lot of that same focus in the comments here.
Counterexamples of people who work in stores and don't enjoy their jobs are perfectly valid. I would focus, though, on what my choice of where I spend money offers as an opportunity to others. The opportunity in the warehouse depresses me. The opportunity in the store seems pretty OK.
I, too, want what Amazon has to offer, and those who can pay taking what is offered them is the way of the world, but I still have to make my own choice.
Amazon has eliminated about 90% of my non-food shopping.
It's the same reason why I don't belong to Costco, it's just an encouragement to buy things that I normally couldn't be bothered to get up off my ass for.
I would rather believe amazon than the govt
So the truth of the matter is the .gov is willing to pay its dependents 2.3% more, unfortunately inflation rate is somewhat higher, then again their cost of shipping is not necessarily numerically equal to the aggregate average inflation rate of every product for everyone purchased everywhere.
There is the obvious data gathering issue that amazon can't signal 6 sig figs of inflation accuracy, for marketing reasons it probably had to be rounded to the nearest $5, probably rounded up.
We just decided on another thread that free shipping should start at $35. Great job.