Allow me to pre-face this by saying I am well aware this is not a new thing. Add-on items have been around for a while now. I just did not fully grasp how they work till today, when I could not order a product I wanted because it is an add-on item.
I noticed a product on my wish list had dropped drastically in price, and excitedly decided to order not just one but four of said item. I wound up not getting that item but that’s a story for another post and has to do with a third party seller rather than Amazon. To continue: I wanted to get a couple other things to make my order more substantial, so browsed a bit and worked my way through my numerous wish lists, picking out a couple more things to purchase. (Yes I have numerous wish lists, I like to keep things organized by category for easier browsing later.) By the time all was said and done I had approximately $19 worth of product in my cart. Even though I had decided not to get the item I originally planned to get, these other things can’t be purchased locally and I had gotten myself all set to make the purchase. AKA “I don’t need any of it, but I really want it!”
But when I started the checkout process, I saw the notification about the item that was considered an add-on. FYI the product in question was a one pound package of poly beads (for making stuffed animals and such). I had seen the add-on flag on the product of course but thought nothing of it because I did not realize exactly what that meant. I’ve never been burned by this moronic set-up before so had no real knowledge of how it works till today. I apparently lucked out in the past when ordering add-on items, without realizing it.
When an item you wish to buy is considered an add-on product, you have to purchase $25+ worth of qualifying product for that item to ship. If you fail to meet that criteria, they will ship everything else but not that add-on item. Excuse me? Add-on products are supposedly items that are “not cost effective to ship alone”.
I know what you might be thinking. I was only about $6 shy of $25 so why not find one more cheap thing to hit the minimum? Because, again, this minimum has to be on “qualifying” merchandise. And my budget for these things is extremely limited; I don’t have a job so what money I do have to spend freely comes to me only rarely and from the kindness of someone else’s heart. I just plain do not have the extra funds to spend unnecessarily. Even if I did, it’s the principal of the matter, and I still would not accept being forced to spend more money than is necessary just because Amazon says they won’t sell me the product(s) I want otherwise. There were no “qualifying” products in my cart. I was already set to spend ~$20 plus shipping anyway, and they want to force me to spend an additional $25 just to get the $5 product I wanted that was being considered an “add-on”? How many languages can you say “hell no” in?
I had four items in my cart, only one of which was to be filled by a third party seller. The remaining three items were all to be filled by Amazon. So, explain to me why the hell they can’t be bothered to just add that last item to my box? Even if the add-on item was the only thing I was buying, I would still have to pay shipping. So what difference does it ultimately make? Even if I were a Prime member ordering just an add-on item and wishing to take advantage of the free shipping available to me it still would not make any sense because that would defeat the whole point of Prime – pay a yearly fee and get free shipping on every order of qualifying merchandise without having to meet the $35 minimum non-Prime customers have to meet to get free shipping. And you see, the thing is, the deal isn’t that great anyway because of the “qualifying merchandise” catch. Even as a Prime member, something that is not cheap, the free shipping deal doesn’t even apply to everything anyway. This add-on crap just makes things more difficult for everybody, prime members as well as non-prime members.
The whole thing just screams “Greed!”. Don’t get me wrong. I know Amazon is a business and the goal of any business, large or small, is to make money. That is, or should be, common sense. But there is a world of difference between doing things to earn a decent profit for yourself and being a bunch of greedy pricks who put things in place to screw your customers over. I mean really… boil it down and remove the fluff and what you have here is a business outright refusing to sell you a product unless you spend more money, and only on certain products they have decided are “eligible”. That is pretty messed up, and blatant greed.
The real kicker here is the shipping fee I was charged for the items I did order. I am pretty damn sure $8 in shipping would have more than covered the two lightweight items I ordered (tea and a color by number kit) in addition to that pack of poly beads. That third party item that will be fulfilled and shipped by someone other than Amazon? Shipped free. And it is coming all the way from China. Unlike the Amazon-fulfilled portion of the order which is most likely going to be handled in their fulfillment center less than two hours away, as they most often are for me. 😒
I’ll be heading to one of the area craft stores Friday to get poly beads there instead. It will probably be cheaper anyway, though the savings will be spent on the gasoline it takes to get there and back, but whatever. At least I know when I go to check out with just that pack of beads they are not going to say “Oh sorry, this can only be purchased when you buy $25 worth of other qualifying merchandise. You’ll have to go try to find other qualifying items you don’t really want to be able to buy this one thing you do want.”