I got this alarming message when I opened up my Amazon.com shopping cart yesterday morning:
Yikes! Less than 12 hours after starting my Christmas shopping, I lost $13.54 on the Lost boxed set and the National Treasure DVD just because I didn’t buy them immediately! They weren’t on sale when I put them into my cart, either—the market price of those DVDs must’ve gone up, that’s all, and I am stuck with the higher price.
It used to be I could leave stuff in my cart all week before I checked out. Sometimes the prices changed, sure, but it was never more than a few cents here and there—never anything like this. In fact, until this happened, Amazon was what I considered a stress-free shopping experience.
Thanks to Amazon, I could:
- buy stuff at any time of day or night,
- save money on gasoline, and
- shop in my pyjamas without anybody ever knowing (unless I confessed in the “special instructions” section during check-out).
All of this good will to Amazon was generated, however, before I knew it could change the prices in my shopping cart so drastically.
For a few moments after I read that message, I wondered what to do. Should I quickly check out and buy my stuff before the prices had a chance to go up again? Or should I remove the items with changed prices because they were more expensive than I’d expected them to be?
Unable to decide, I left the cart alone until this morning, when I logged in and found another message:
Wow! I saved one dollar by leaving everything in my cart overnight! Now I’m only down $12.54, rather than $13.54—but I’m still left with a dilemma: the longer I take to finish my Christmas shopping, the more opportunity I give Amazon to change the prices in my cart.
Should I buy now? If I do and the prices go down I’ll lose the chance to recoup some of that $12.54! But if I wait, the prices might rise higher than those in local stores, even after factoring in the costs of my time, gasoline, and having to shop in clothes other than my pyjamas.
So here I sit, frozen with indecision. I don’t know about everybody else, but to me Amazon.com suddenly seems about as stress-free as the stock market.
Woot! Now I’m I’m only $4.88 in the hole.