So I initially thought of Amazon Prime as gimmicky, like those Airline Miles credit cards with a $60/year fee. I prefer services with which you know what you are getting, rather than those you need to make work for you. Is my lifestyle conducive to taking advantage of this service?
We finally broke down and got Amazon Prime while going through checkout with something recently. We noticed that you get streaming movies/TV in addition to free shipping for $80/year or $6.60/month. So we decided to get this and cancel our 2-DVDs/month Netflix account ($5/month). This could potentially be a very convenient 2-for-1.
But the question is: can we get enough streaming movies and enough free shipping to beat $5/month for Netflix plus whatever we were spending on Amazon shipping and the higher prices of brick and mortar stores?
So far it seems like the Amazon Prime streaming library is kind of meh. Pleasingly, it has more documentaries than the Netflix DVD collection provides. Our Netflix account was mainly good for recent releases, which Amazon Prime is not really. On the other hand, I cannot remember a single recent release from Netflix I have enjoyed any time recently. But I can remember a series of atrocities such as Pacific Rim and Warm Bodies. So maybe we are better off. Considering we might have to Red Box a new release here or there, we probably need to get the cost savings out of the free shipping end of Amazon Prime. Which we probably already knew.
What is Amazon good for? Keeping in mind that is has to be items sold by Amazon and not third party sellers, it is tricky.
- Anything heavy or embarrassing to schlep out of the store. 50-lb bags of dog food and TP come to mind. You could probably get a couple of 48-packs of toilet paper and live in a tissue paradise for the next 5 years.
- Even heavier things that won’t even fit in/on your car reasonably. Now’s the time to buy that telescoping ladder we’ve been putting off.
- Electronics – such as TV antennas and Tivo. Our antenna was not available at Best Buy, and we did not even bother looking there for the Tivo. This is where the long tail comes in handy.
- Specialty things or things you can’t get where you live. Those delicious Belgian cookies are probably somewhere on Amazon.
- Anything you get frequently – I am still working on this because most of my regular groceries are perishable. I am not sure I could turn Amazon into a Peapod. But I could do without schlepping weekly stores of Ocean Spray juices and monthly 24-packs of water…
Not good for:
- Things you really need to smell/slather first. I thought I would find a great selection of fancy soap+lotion sets on Amazon, but that was not the case. And I could probably find a better deal – with olfactory data – walking into TJMaxx.
- Fancy groceries. Tried BPA-free tomatoes as a test case and found the same products around the same price in my local Hannaford. If anything, this experiment improved my impression of my supermarket.
- Interior doors. Just another DIY interest – but Amazon left me lost. I have a feeling they don’t sell many doors. Same is true for other Home Improvement odds and ends like entryway door knob sets.
I don’t think we buy enough to make Prime worth it all the time, just like with the Airline Miles credit cards. At $6.60/month, you would get your money back buying one significant thing per month. Because shipping usually comes in around $6. But we don’t really buy high volumes of anything non-perishable, nor anything very expensive or shipping-intensive. And I could try to price-gouge on the few fancy things I buy at the Natural Food store, but I like playing with the owner’s big, fluffy dog. A dollar off hippie deodorant is not worth it.
Have you figured out how to make Amazon Prime work for you? Or do you just like the convenience of delivery without a fee?