“Slow-boating”: What’s up with Amazon?

I used to heap high praise on Amazon. Not so much any more.


First, some background …

Free shipment time from Amazon used to be one of my primary economic indicators.

If a free shipping order arrived in 2 or 3 days, I concluded that the economy wasn’t  doing so well.


Free shipments essentially fly stand-by,

If there’s space on planes & trucks then they get loaded.

If there isn’t, then the orders sit on the docks.

So, in a slow economy, orders come fast.

In a hot economy, orders take longer.

At least, that’s the way things seemed to work.

Not so predictable these days.

What’s up?


Here’s what got me curious.

I placed a free shipping order about a week ago.

Items said “in stock” so I expected prompt order processing and a couple of days for shipping since the economy has slowed.

Not so.

I guess that it’s on an Amazon slow boat.


My hypothesis: Amazon makes a lot of $$$ via Prime.

So, I assumed that the company was just “throttling” ordinary free shipping orders to to upsell customers to a $99 Prime membership.

For yucks, I googled “is Amazon throttling orders”.

That opened Pandora’s box.

Seems that some Prime customers are hacked that their Prime shipments don’t come in 2 days after all.

Apparently, Amazon has adopted some new ways of measuring “2-day shipping” …

For openers, “shipping” doesn’t start until the order is shipped … if the order isn’t picked & packed until tomorrow, the clock doesn’t start until tomorrow.

According to one web-stream:

Prime orders used to be shipped out same day if ordered early enough and in stock/fulfilled by Amazon. Shipped next day if later.

And (most orders would be) shipped UPS, which generally meant they arrived the next day if at the local distribution center and shipped UPS ground.

If from a distant distribution center, they were shipped UPS two day, and arrived in two days.

Now Amazon has taken as long as five days for some in stock prime orders to even make it out the door, and then they ship Sure or Smart Post.

This change occurred …  around Feb/March of 2014, when Prime orders went from next day/two days from order, to up to a week.

Unfortunately, this is the new Amazon.

They are taking however long they want to get the orders out the door.

Then generally shipping by Sure and Smart Post, with USPS being the final carrier, and one who has no compunction to deliver in any timely fashion.

Amazon customer service has told me, 2 day now is only AFTER Amazon has shipped it, and now only to the Post Office – they can then deliver as time permits.


If the above is true …

  • Free shipping minimum order size gets upped from $25 to $35.
  • Prime goes from $79 to $99.
  • 1 day shipping goes to 2 days.
  • Clock doesn’t start until order is shipped.
  • Clock stops when order gets to the local post office.

Starting to sound a bit penny-wise, pound foolish to me.

We’ll see …


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One Response to ““Slow-boating”: What’s up with Amazon?”

  1. Bill Says:

    I was suspecting many of the changes you mentioned were due to exactly what you pointed out. I also want to note, Amazon cornered the market with rapid shipping, which I imagine strained their warehouses capacity to fulfill them fast enough. It probably burnt out employees (who have been all over the news regarding abuse). Now that they have a strong grasp on the market, they can ease volume, probably fire lots of helpers, and save their bottom line.

    Amazon has been propped up on investors capitol, as the company itself doesn’t turn a profit. It’s the investor’s hopes and dreams that convince them Amazon at some point will strike it rich. They probably came to the table and wanted to see a turn-around, and this is the solution. I don’t think a healthy economy is to blame, as more packages means shipping companies outsource to private contractors to adjust accordingly.

    Anyways, I’m not thrilled about amazon. I ordered a simple webcam three days ago and it is still in processing. Ground shipping saying 7 to 10 days is always an over estimation, but Amazon thinks it literally means 7 – 10 days and they are really taking their time to ship.


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