Thursday, December 01, 2011

Why I love Amazon Prime


Having worn a beard most of the time since a June, 1976 backpacking trip to Isle Royale National Park, I don’t do a lot of shaving. Mostly, I shave around the edges to better define my beard and under my lower lip.

I switched from shave cream in aerosol cans to shaving soap, mug, and brush in the late ‘70s when I bought a set on closeout at a gift shop called Kittle’s Other Side in downtown Indianapolis. Kittle’s is a local furniture chain and the gift shop was on the other side of Pennsylvania Street from the anchor furniture store.

I retired the mug when I found this Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity mug on Ebay a dozen or more years ago, but still use the Chicago Shaving Co. brush. Since I use them sparingly, a cake of shaving soap lasts me a long time – a couple of years at least.

I noticed I was getting down to the end of the Williams shaving soap recently and made a mental note to resupply the next time I went to Walmart. But, to my surprise, the Parker Road Walmart in Jonesboro, Ark., apparently doesn’t stock shaving soap. I can’t be the last aficionado of hot lather in town, but I guess it’s become obsolete as far as Walmart is concerned.

So I resolved to make a trip to Walgreens one of these days to see if they still carry shaving soap.

But on Tuesday afternoon, I realized I can have my pick of a huge selection of shaving soaps and since I paid $79 to become an Amazon Prime member early this year, I could get two-day shipping free. A few mouse clicks later, it was a done deal. No driving to Walgreens to scour the shaving section for something that very well might not be there.

Then it occurred to me that we could use some new pads for our Shark steam mop. Click, click, and they were in the pipeline.

The FedEx truck pulled into our driveway about an hour ago and the driver dropped off a box with the shaving cream and steamer pads, less than 48 hours after I placed the order.

I’ve bought more than 40 items from this year – ranging from a wheelbarrow tire to a GPS to coffee to motorcycle boots to a trailcam – and almost all of it was shipped free, so the Amazon Prime membership paid for itself many times over. The money I saved by not paying state and local sales tax alone probably covered the cost. Amazon Prime membership also gives us access to hundreds of streaming movies and TV shows.

It really is a brilliant marketing scheme. I get the stuff I need/want without driving the 20-some miles into town and back and I can find almost anything with a few mouse clicks.

Yes, it means I’m not spending my money locally, but that’s how the free market works. As far as I’m concerned, low prices and convenience trump sentiment. Local businesses that offer unique goods and services will do fine.

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