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Amazon Prime Is About to Get Worse (Update: Nah, It's Not)

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Correction: So, Amazon has helpfully informed me that the items that will “Ship by Region” will only appear as Prime-eligible if you can get two-day shipping to your region. That means we won’t see those Prime items if they’re not eligible for two-day shipping. So..this is actually good, and nevermind anything I said. Except for everything I said about Amazon conditioning me to be a lunatic.

We’ve generally considered Amazon Prime to be the best deal in technology. But, alas: It’s about to get slightly more annoying to use, and I am irrationally upset about it.


Amazon is testing a plan called “Ship by Region,” which lets some sellers (some that choose to ship from their own factories instead of Amazon’s) pick where they want to provide two-day shipping to Prime customers, as the Wall Street Journal reported last week:

The merchants may limit how far they will ship some items – large-screen televisions, for example – with the two-day guarantee under Prime. If a Prime customer is outside that region, shipping may take longer.


So basically, if a merchant in Florida doesn’t want to two-day ship west of the Mississippi, or a merchant in New York doesn’t want to ship to the west coast, they don’t have to. And that means that some of the merchandise that’ll pop up as Prime eligible won’t offer two-day shipping.

Now, objectively, this is fine. It’s fine! The idea that I can diddle around on my laptop and purchase a novelty t-shirt from Oregon and I assume that it should appear on my Brooklyn doorstep in 48 hours is ludicrous from the start. Shipping will still be free with a Prime subscription, just slower in some cases. The advantages of having a Prime membership remain robust, since this only applies to certain merchandise sold by certain sellers.


But Amazon has thoroughly warped my sense of shipping logistics to the point where reining in Amazon Prime benefits for the ease of the sellers is OUTRAGEOUS to a dumb corner of my brain. Amazon did this to me. It plied me with promises of unlimited budget-friendly goods e-ordered and miraculously scuttled to my home. To go back on the shiny dream of improbably quick shipments on demand is to go back on what makes Amazon great! (Well, it’s great for consumers, anyways. For workers I would describe Amazon more as an “abysmal intimidation-rodeo.”)

Then again, perhaps it is unwise to feel violated when the expectations a corporation manipulated me into having to entice me to make more impulse purchases on the internet don’t pan out. Perhaps it is—dare I say??—healthy. And with that, I say: Welcome, “Ship by Region.” You may make Amazon Prime worse. But hopefully you will make me better. More patient. Less crazy.