Free S&H

Do you know that moment when you’re on a great sale on a website? You put a few things in your cart and then you realize you’re just a few dollars shy of reaching the almost mythical free shipping threshold. You sit there for a while, wondering what sort of algorithms the company used to arrive here.

Sure, they’re not going to ship at a big loss. So that’s the first level. But, then, you have to think about the prices of things on offer. How do they set the tiers such that you’re so often thiiiis close to the free shipping? It’s a sales and marketing ploy, of course, but a brilliant one. And it’s a commonly successful one, too. You knew exactly what we’re talking about here. You’ve been there. We’ve all been there. Just the other day I was there, within three bucks.

And so what do you do?

You try to estimate the amount of shipping. Is that more than you wish to pay? Does this add some definition to the items you’re considering buying? Is the shipping a deal breaker? Or, alternatively, is there something else that you can throw in? Something small that will just nudge you into that free shipping category.

Which is funny because, of course, the three, now four things you’re buying won’t arrive at the same time. That was the case today, when part of my shipment arrived. I’d ordered a few shirts and this tie. It cost five bucks, and “earned” me the free shipping.

Joke’s on them. I need to retire a similar-looking yellow tie, anyway. And a fine, brand new piece of neckwear for just $5? A good joke, indeed.

Joke’s on me. I haven’t worn a tie since March. Who knows when we’ll do that again.

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