After 20 years at the University of Oregon, I have retired. So, I will begin posting about my new experiences here and hope you find them interesting.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Prime Pantry and other lesser-known Amazon incentives

by Mary Harrsch © 2017

Last night on ABC World News the reporter made a big deal out of Walmart offering free shipping if you order items totaling at least $35 or more. Of course, Amazon has had that policy for some time. The reporter showed a large container of detergent claiming Walmart's price was something like half of the price at Amazon. I'm afraid I was immediately skeptical about that.

Amazon has started a new policy of offering incentives if you are willing to wait longer than two days for shipping. I took advantage of this the other day on one of my orders and received a $5 Prime Pantry credit. I didn't know what Prime Pantry was so I checked it out. Prime Pantry, which I assume is for Prime members, is a program where you can fill a generously-sized box with pantry items like laundry soap and additives, non-perishables like peanut butter and mayonnaise, cleaning supplies like Swiffer refills, bathroom cleaning supplies, etc. and if you choose at least five items from the specially selected categories you can get free shipping. (These types of pantry items are usually not available for Prime free shipping). I wanted to be sure I was not overspending on the items I selected, though, so I opened the Walmart website and compared Amazon's prices on each item with the identical product and size on Walmart. All of the items I priced were either as cheap as Walmart or a few pennies less. So you can see why I was dubious about the ABC report. I managed to put together a box of items I would have purchased during my regular grocery shopping (including the brands I usually buy), got free shipping and used my $5 Prime Pantry credit then further reduced my order with reward points from my Amazon Rewards Card.

Would I order with Prime Pantry on a regular basis? In my case, probably not just because I live in the country and must drive to the grocery store each week anyway
(a Walmart superstore is less than 10 miles away) to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, eggs, bread, etc. But if I was housebound or a person living in the city and dependent upon public transportation, I would probably order as much as I could from Prime Pantry so I could minimize how much I would need to carry on the bus or subway while getting (most of the time) the lowest prices available. Besides, Walmarts are usually located in the suburbs not in the center of large cities so you would probably save a lot more than grocery shopping in your local urban neighborhood too!
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