If you’re a seasoned or regular Amazon user, you’ve probably heard of Amazon Prime Now. The service, exclusive to Prime members, makes claims of offering “free 2-hour delivery” in select areas. Prime Now recently rolled out to my city, and they offered me a $10 off coupon code for my first order. I decided to take the bait and try it out. I quickly discovered that there are many “catches” to Amazon Prime Now, revealing that it’s not quite as good as you would expect.
Catch #1: You Can’t Order Everything
This may seem obvious to some, but no, you can’t order anything that is on Amazon. It’s strictly a limited selection of items.
Catch #2: The $20 Minimum
When ordering from Prime Now, you are forced to have at least $20 or more in your cart to place the order. If you want to order some ice cream (which costs around $5), you’ll have to order a huge amount. Additionally, you could opt to add other items to your cart that can bump the total up to $20.
Catch #3: It’s Not Really 2-hour Delivery
Amazon enters a grey area with their terminology. It’s not really 2-hour delivery as you would think. When I think of 2-hour delivery, if I order something at 9AM, I expect it to be at my house by 11AM – that’s not exactly how Prime Now works. In some areas, you can pay extra for “actual” 1-hour delivery (meaning it would come by 10AM), but the “2-hour delivery” just means you are given 2 hour windows for them to deliver it in. In my test, I ordered at 7:35PM and was offered the 8PM-10PM slot. My order was delivered at 9:55PM, which is in the advertised slot, but is over 2 hours.
Catch #4: The Recommended Tip
While Amazon pays their drivers $18 per hour, they encourage customers to leave a tip for the driver. In fact, they actually turn on the $5 tip by default. In order to remove it, you actually have to enter “$0” in the tip box. They also allow you to add a tip within 48 hours of the delivery – it’s clearly set up to guilt you. In fact, I fell victim of this! I knew the drivers got paid a fair amount already, so I was going to stay strong and not leave a tip. Unsurprisingly, guilt got to me and I ended up leaving the $5 recommended tip.
Catch #5: Everything Costs More
After I placed and received my order of goodies, I compared the pricing to my local Walmart. My Amazon Prime Now order total was $20, and the same exact items at Walmart added up to $16.01. Wow! Amazon, the company normally known for it’s insane deals, got it’s butt kicked by Walmart. Yep, that really happened. Due to the “free” delivery, they increase the pricing on their items to cover their costs. While this makes total sense, I’d honestly rather them charge a delivery fee and offer fair pricing.
The One Use For Prime Now
There is one legitimate use for Prime Now, and that’s if you happened to be ordering an Amazon product (or other expensive electronic device). As they are already costly, electronics don’t seem to be marked up for the Prime Now service. If you’re ordering a Kindle Fire tablet, Amazon Echo, or any other Amazon product, then Prime Now is a no brainer. If you’re ordering something else expensive, such as another electronic device or accessory, Prime Now makes total sense.
It’s A Cool Concept
I’m in love with the concept of Prime Now, and I have to say, I did really enjoy using it. The idea of getting ice cream and produce delivered right to my door is satisfying. My experience was smooth, it was delivered on time, the items were properly frozen, the driver was polite, and I was able to track when he was coming to my house. However, it’s just not practical for real world usage. It may be cool every now and then to “wow” your friends (or be super lazy), but for practical use, you’re better off driving to your local Walmart.
Amazon Prime Now takes advantage of high technology and well crafted infrastructure, but it’s just not there yet. The items are too costly and the selection is too small. It’s fun to use every once and a while, but for every day use, your local grocery store rules!