On Patience

May 5, 2008

Patience is a virtue.

I could do with a little less enforced virtue right about now.

It all began with an Amazon order.  You may (or may not) recall that I’ve posted about Amazon a few times in the past.  Generally speaking, I’ve been pretty happy with their selection and service.

This is starting to shift a little bit.

I ordered some products a little over a week ago.  And as a nerd, I’ll come clean; I ordered a memory card for the PSP, a game for the same, and a book.  You see, I have some travel coming up and I wanted to have some things to help pass the time on the plane and in airports.

TruckThis order — placed over a week ago — still has not shipped, which effectively means it has no hope in hell of getting to me in time for my trip.  This is annoying.  I wrote Amazon about it, and the response was a courteous version of “You chose the super saver shipping.  This basically means we can dick around with your order for the next week and you just have to smile and say ‘thank ya kindly.'”

Which got me thinking: the only way to get this so-called “super saver shipping” is to place an order of $25 or more.  If you do this (with certain products) it means you qualify for free shipping.  But that doesn’t mean that they give you free shipping; it means you can now choose secret shipping option #3, which gives Amazon the right to take obscene amounts of time to ship, let alone deliver, your product.

So why not just offer this up front, without the minimum volume limitation?  I mean, if you’re basically just pooling shipments and achieving efficiencies in your logistics, why use this to punish the customers who purchase higher average orders?  If I’m spending a lot of money on your site, and you’re going to promise “free shipping” for doing so, shouldn’t this actually mean that I get my product shipped free of charge, rather than that you’re now going to use the slowest, cheapest, most crap-assed way imaginable to get it to me?

Just a question.