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Mar 7, 2012

A Penny Saved...


Readers, do you ever shop on Amazon?  I do, often.  One of the things that brings me back, time and again, beside the fact that they sell pretty much everything, is their $25 free shipping policy.  I fall for that EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Last week, I decided to treat myself to a new bathing suit.  I've sewn swimwear in the past, but I don't know...it's one of the few things I'd rather purchase, and let somebody else sew the elastic into the legs, reinforce the crotch, etc.  (A public pool is a really bad place for a wardrobe malfunction.)

I saw a cute Speedo suit that fit the bill.  (This is not me, mind you, but the depilated male model.)



Wouldn't you know, it was selling for $24.99.  Readers, the Amazonians are not a stupid tribe.  They know that if you price something at $24.99, suckers like me are going to purchase something -- anything -- else to qualify for free shipping.

But what to buy?

I'm sure if I'd thought about it more carefully, I could have come up with something better, but I ended up buying 48 rolls of toilet paper -- no, I'm sorry, how vulgar of me -- bathroom tissue.   Being the environmentally conscious person I am, I decided on Seventh Generation brand, which is 100% recycled (not from old toilet paper I hope).  We've used this brand in the past and how nice not to have to shlep it home from the supermarket.  Plus, buying in bulk brings the price per roll down dramatically.  Plus -- it meant I qualified for FREE SHIPPING!

Anyway, not twenty minutes later, I told Michael we'd be needing to make room in our closets for a biiiiiiig package, and he reminded me that we hate Seventh Generation bathroom tissue: it's thin, it's rough, and a roll lasts about a day.  Great, I thought -- I'll cancel my order!  Readers, I tried a dozen times but I couldn't cancel -- the order had already been been processed and my bathing suit was about to ship -- just twenty minutes after I'd placed my original order!  That's just hostile.

I'm sure those of you who have large families or live in big houses think nothing of purchasing 48 rolls of toilet paper at a time.  Maybe you have an entire attic full.  But for us city dwellers, that's like a bedroom.

I'm sorry, I don't usually rant so blatantly, and this isn't even sewing-related.

In closing, I ask you: are you as big a sucker for free shipping as I am?  Will you buy a lifetime supply of sewing machine light bulbs just because you have a Joann's coupon?  Will you gladly pick up 10 of something you don't even want, just to get the 11th free?

And just how much toilet paper should a person have on hand, just in case?  (BTW, if you do like Seventh Generation bathroom tissue, you can enjoy the same deal I got here.  Just try not to rub.)

Have a great day, everybody -- it's on me!

41 comments:

  1. Use up your scraps. Craft gift bags, and be the most prepared guest: hostess gifts of three rolls at a time.

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  2. I ALWAYS go for the free shipping. Of course, Amazon has this handy thing called a wishlist... so I search through my eventually-to-be-acquired list of sewing books, DVDs, and music, choose the item which is closest to the price I need to qualify for free shipping, and go about my life. That way, even if I am buying something I "don't need" I am at least getting something I want.

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  3. I've had the same problem with Amazon refusing to cancel my order within minutes of placing it. Which I find pretty baffling, considering that they don't even ship it for a couple of days. I have also learned that if you return whatever made you qualify for the free shipping, your refund is less shipping costs :( Which is really only like $4 BUT STILL.

    That being said, I do love a free shipping deal & I will absolutely go out of my way to qualify for it. I won't buy anything I don't need, though. Stuff like toilet paper, contact solution, some sewing supplies (like machine needles or black thread), kitty litter, etc... I may not need it *now*, but I will eventually have to buy it so it doesn't hurt to stock up, esp if I get a freebie in the process.

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  4. Yes, I am a total sucker for free shipping. Then I read this article last week:
    http://motherjones.com/politics/2012/02/mac-mcclelland-free-online-shipping-warehouses-labor
    I'm trying to wean myself off of free shipping. I have gone a whole week without ordering anything online! Of course, there was that eyeshadow that arrived Monday, but I ordered it before I read the article. This is going to be hard. Anyway, the article really made me think about who is paying for the free shipping.

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    1. THANK YOU!!!!

      Just read the article at Mother Jones, and forwarded it to friends and family, so they know EXACTLY what I've been doing when I've been working. Or more to the point, what's been done to me.

      Security personnel clearly have an incentive to find you stealing, and all the metal detecting, wanding, emptying your pockets, removing your belt and whatever overshirt your wear for warmth (EVERY time you enter or exit) into a plastic tub to be padded and examined, being spoken to in a "your stupid and guilty" tone, and finding solace comfort, and solitude for a few minutes in your car during breaks and lunches (as many coworkers do) is demoralizing.

      I'd sit in those parking lots and psyche myself up for the next 2 hour increment. If I can just get through to that next break, or the drive home...

      Legs like rubber, joints which usually don't hurt suddenly do, and there's a depletion of energy, both physical and psychological.

      It's a world Henry Ford may have imagined, but didn't have the technology to implement. Workers as "cogs so desperate", they can only think a far ahead as their next break.

      Optimized paralysis, at break-neck speed.

      Testosterone

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    2. Don't feel too bad. I once accidentally mailed a small paperweight (a gift from a friend) to Amazon with a return item. I didn't even know it was gone until a couple of days later when I received a box from Amazon (shipped for free) with the paperweight inside. The job's probably not suited for everyone; but somebody must have liked their employer enough to take care of the customer that way. I'm sure your packages are being handled by the latter. :)

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    3. Oh boy. Now I seem terribly insensitive. I didn't see the first reply before I posted. Having to psych up to go to work is lousy. Sorry if it seemed like I was making light of it.

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  5. I love free shipping, but if I can't find enough items I want to qualify for it, I won't buy anything. And as most coupons are for items I don't buy, I rarely ever use them.

    Toilet paper--I'm probably the wrong person to ask. With 4 teenagers at home we go through 1-2 rolls a day (and were talking about "the good stuff").

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  6. Ive been using Amazon Prime for a free month trial (which ends tomorrow) and its been great. I had one order which doubled when I simply meant to buy something else and "add it to existing order". Im just glad I caught on to it (two shelves came when ordered one). I contacted them via chat and was given an RMA that stated I didn't have return shipping deducted. Dropped it off at the Post Office and the credit was back in my account in 5 days.

    All that said, I eel no inclination to pay an $80 annual fee for 'free' shipping. I can see if its furniture, which is why I did the free trial, but no. Super Saving is too good a deal when you can find an item you want being offered with it.

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  7. I recently read that Mother Jones article as well, and it has definitely made me reconsider online shopping, at least from big places like Amazon. I would never have imagined the working conditions were so bad, it's really scary!

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    1. I read that article too . . . it made me wonder where in the U.S. is there a Chamber of Commerce opened at 5:30 a.m.

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  8. It would never ever have occurred to me to buy toilet paper on Amazon! That is funny!

    And yes, I'm a total free shipping sucker (though I rarely buy on Amazon). My partner has a great trick: keep a list handy of $1-3 items that can push your final bill over the $25 limit. He likes the Dover sticker books.

    As for 7th G... ha! As someone who studied and taught Native American studies, the whole "native wisdom" on the toilet paper packaging is enough of a turnoff for me! *Though* I've used it as an example in the courses that I teach on how the public - and especially the green/environmental movement - just can't get enough "native wisdom!"

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  9. here everybody swim (except me!), so I'm going to give you a suggestion for swimsuits: go to Swim Outlet dot com. (I'm not affiliated to that company)

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  10. I am the world's biggest sucker for free shipping, coupons, and buy one get one free. I probably have a lifetime supply of toothpaste. Joann must love me. I just bought fabric I had no need for just because I had a coupon. I'm shameless.

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  11. I got a good chuckle out of this...Yes, I'm a victim of shipping deals and also the "you saved this much"...which keeps tabulating as you pile on the items...I love saving money at the expense of spending too much. I think that anything more than 4 rolls is a pain to store in a closet. All I can say is, I feel for you when you tried to cancel...that would be a major bummer!

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  12. You need to use this website: http://www.filleritem.com/ which shows you items that cost exactly what you need to get the free shipping! nifty!

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    Replies
    1. OMG, Brilliant! Instead of $30+ worth of toilet paper I could have bought a paperback copy of "Christ's Ministry from Baptism to Pentecost" by Robert L. Whitelaw for 39 cents!

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  13. Amazon is the first place I go to shop because I know I'll be able to find my item at a discount. Of course, with shipping added on, I always end up paying more. But, it's like Christmas Day to get a package in the mail. I think that's *my* biggest draw of purchasing online - the anticipation of the arrival of goods and opening the box!

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  14. Fell for the Amazon Prime free trial - forgot to cancel it - oops. I try to buy locally but sometimes it's not easy, thus Amazon. But as little as possible.

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  15. I buy from Amazon all the time. I can always find a little $2 or $3 item to bring it up to $25: a tea ball, an egg timer (toss it in the pan, add eggs and water, and boil till soft, medium or hard as indicated by color! Genius!). And we buy Scott Tissue 1000 sheet rolls (by the case, on Amazon's Subscribe and Save, where shipping is free no matter the dollar level). But, of course, I'm buying for an 11 person household, with all of the space that has, so storing a case is not that hard.

    I hate sewing swimwear, too.But there are so many suits out there made from heap fabric that you really have to be careful.

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  16. Toilet paper isn't vulgar. In our house, we say 'bog roll'.

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    Replies
    1. Growing up we called it "TP."

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    2. Growing up, we called it "JP" which stands for "john paper."

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  17. Luckily in Germany amazon ships for free if you buy a book... so I have to add a book to any other order that is under the free shipping limit I "have" to add a book... I am always finding one...

    (I do sew swimwear, lasts better than even expensive store bought ones. :) But getting nice fabric for it is a problem.)

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  18. Those togs are seriously awesome. I would put up with 48 rolls of crappy toilet paper for something quirky like this!!! :) But what's with the completely hairless dude? I prefer my guys a little more hirsute!

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  19. Haven't had to buy toilet rolls for 18 months. Let me explain.....My mother (who lived alone) moved into a nursing home in October 2010. I cleared out her house & took possession of useful things like laundry soap, garden tools, & yes, toilet paper. Myself & 3 sons now have just 2 rolls left of that stash. But what on earth was she thinking, to have 6years-worth of the stuff in reserve???

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  20. Gee, I keep a list of likely sewing books in my amazon wishlist for just such an emergency :-)..

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  21. I have a large supply of toilet paper, toothpaste, soap and dog poo bags because I always fall for the bulk buys. There is no such thing as free shipping in Australia!

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  22. In our house it was called "issue tissue"

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    Replies
    1. Oh, much better than "tp" or "jp"!

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  23. Others have mentioned Amazon prime, and I have to say that we've had it for as long as it's been offered. Sometimes I swear my husband orders something from amazon every.single.day. The plus it you don't have to get up to the $25 threshold, and if you shop enough at amazon, making sure to choose things that qualify for AP (or are married to my husband... oh. wait. that would be me), your AP will pay for itself and then some.

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  24. I just want to say I have enjoyed reading the posts- and yes I used to buy 7th gen. TP because of the environment but then found "white Cloud" Yes!!

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  25. You would not believe the number of things in our house that have arrived because of the free shipping policy. My husband buys a lot of books, games and guitar stuff from Amazon and he seems to forever be pulling out some new movie or music because he "needed it" for free shipping. Sigh.

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  26. How much is enough? Well enough for at least a month - the newest FEMA says to be stocked up on basic supplies for a min of three weeks and how much more basic can you get than TP?

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  27. I look at the difference between the cost of (item + shipping) and (item + one-more-thing-to-get-free-shipping).
    But actually, I only order online what I can absolutely not find locally (size 11 shoes, 36" inseams jeans and english books). I'm lucky enough to live where I can shop for everything I need, and have the time to do it.

    Couturearts : thanks for the Mother Jones article. I wonder whether it's as bad in Europe, but why shouldn't it be ? Greed is everywhere.

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  28. Yeah, I'm just as bad when it comes to buying to qualify for free shipping.

    As for the toilet paper, if you hate it that much, call it a wash. Leave it in your apartment's laundry room or whatever with a "free" sign on it. Someone will be happy to take it.

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  29. I also ran into the problem of non-cancellation with McCall's/Butterick/Vogue patterns. I had mistakenly ordered one of the patterns in the wrong size. That was, oh, midnight. I called first thing the next morning to ask if they could just change the size ordered on the one pattern. They refused, saing the order was already processed. The only way I could change the size was to pay to return the pattern to them, with a money order for the return postage to send the right size pattern to me. By the time you added up the two-way postage and the cost of the money order, I might as well just buy the pattern again.

    I was willing to live with that--it was my fault for not noticing before I checked out--but what really frosted my cornflakes was that I didn't get a notice that my order had actually shipped until over a week later.

    I still deal with Club BMV but am now very careful when ordering.

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  30. Paying for shipping is basically against my religion. So, I keep a wishlist of things that I actually want to buy but aren't must-have-now items to use for the rounding up.

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  31. I do Amazon Prime where you pay once a year and usually I make back my membership within a few months of ordering, plus now you get a lot of free things for being a Prime member--you can borrow Kindle books free and you get quite a bit of free videos and other things. I've done it for three years now and find it is well worth the fee once a year. Sometimes if I need to buy something and it would take time to go to the store to get it, I just order it from Amazon--because it will be delivered in a couple of days--it saves me the gas and time it would take to run to Target or other brick and mortar stores.

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  32. We have had Seventh Generation tissue delivered for a couple of years now. It is recycled paper and we NEVER run out!

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  33. Sometimes I have been known to do things like that, but only if it's something I really really want. Otherwise, I just pay for the shipping. Now I will avoid products if they are manufactured by someone whose politics really annoy me. Then trying to find a brand that is suitable can be a joke. Won't mention any identifying products, but . . .

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