The Weirdness of Amazon Prime Free Same-Day Delivery

Amazon cat

When we first started using Amazon to buy things, back in 2002 or whatever, I remember that you could get free shipping for purchases over $25. (It was $25, right?)

So we all played this little game called “can I find something to add to my purchase that takes the total over $25?” It was agonizing, at least to me, because you had to go through the entire decision tree:

—Do I pick something I want, or something I need?

—Now that I’ve decided what I’m going to buy, which of Amazon’s eleventy billion versions of it do I actually want to add to my cart?

—Will this thing take my cart total so far over $25 that I won’t want to buy it anymore?

—Can I find a cheaper version of this thing?

—Maybe if I decided to buy this other thing instead, I’d find a cheaper version of it!

—This is taking forever. What if I just paid for shipping?

I remember people would make public lists called “items to add to your Amazon cart to get free shipping.” Stuff like spatulas and novelty keyrings.

Well. Without going into the details, I had to buy an emergency vacuum on Amazon, and I needed it as soon as possible. (Yes, a vacuum should never be an “emergency” purchase, but I was hoping to hold off on buying it until I could take myself off my current spending freeze.)

Amazon Prime Free Same-Day Delivery operates much like the original Amazon free shipping plan: get your cart total over $35, and your items arrive later that day for free. (I am guessing that this is only available in certain areas; am I right, rural Billfolders?)

So, instead of mashing go on a cheapo Dirt Devil, I spent a half hour playing the “what should I buy to fill out my cart” game again. It was stressful because I didn’t really have an extra half hour to give to this process—and even though I ended up getting a vegetable peeler and chopper, I spent the entire time thinking “I should just pay them for shipping because I do not want to make twenty-five more decisions right now.”

It’s bizarre how getting an item to arrive at your door in a single afternoon feels like a hassle. I feel uncomfortable that I feel grumpy about this. There are plenty of ways to feel good about this instead: the people who make vegetable peelers and choppers get a little more money, for example, and I get something to use the next time I make mirepoix. That’s a net positive!

Have any of you done the Amazon Prime Free Same-Day Delivery thing? How long did it take you to decide what to put into your cart? At what point would you just say “eh, I’d rather pay for shipping?”


Photo credit: Stephen Woods



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