Over the years, Amazon has done a lot of things right. If it hadn’t, it would’ve never made it this far. Many consumers will agree that the Prime subscription service is one of Amazon’s best and most successful gambles. The service was announced in 2005 with an annual subscription fee of $79.
At the time, the benefits included free two-day shipping within the contiguous United States and discounted one-day shipping. Since then, things have changed a lot, and the Prime subscription fee has progressively increased. As a result, many must wonder whether it is finally time to unplug from Amazon Prime.
Amazon Prime Benefits 2020
In January of 2020, Amazon announced that it had more than 150 million Prime subscribers around the world. For most subscribers, the 2-day shipping is the primary motivator. You want your items quickly and you don’t want to pay shipping costs. Nevertheless, there are a few other perks included with your Prime Subscription which is now $119 a year.
- Prime Music – Prime members can access a limited library of songs at no additional cost
- Prime Video – Amazon has many movies, television shows, and originals to watch
- Prime Reading – Enjoy books, magazines, and Audible narration
- Prime Pantry – Have non-perishable grocery store items shipped to your home in a single box for just $5.99
- Prime Now – Prime members in certain areas can get items delivered within 1 hour for $7.99
- Prime Photos – 5GB of Cloud storage
What Will You Use?
After using Prime for many years, it is easy to say that you’ll never use most of these services. Many do not live in an area where they can benefit from Prime Now or 2-hour delivery but they’ll still pay for the service anyway.
As for Prime Pantry, it has been ridiculed since it was released to the public several years ago. Prime subscription fees have climbed $40. As a Prime member, would you feel comfortable paying $5.99 for the shipment of a pantry box?
Prime Video’s offerings are limited at best. Those offerings were further reduced with the introduction of Prime Channels. While you may be able to get HBO through Amazon Prime, you’ll have to pay an additional $14.99 for it. If your end goal is to watch HBO content, you’d be better off skipping the Prime and buying HBO Max for $14.99 a month.
Amazon offers original content but even that may not be enough to justify the $119 a year fee to call yourself a Primer. The free music is laughable. Want to listen to the “Spring Cleaning playlist”? Well, you might want to make sure your children are out of the house because your Amazon Echo will likely be blasting rap music with expletives that’ll make your jaw drop.
Why pay when you can listen to the same content elsewhere for free?
The 2-Day Shipping
At its core, Amazon Prime is all about the 2-day shipping. Face it. You may enjoy Bosch or The Man in the High Castle but you’re not paying Amazon $119 a year to watch those shows. You want your orders delivered to your home in 2 days and that is why you’re giving Amazon your hard-earned money.
In Prime’s early days, the 2-day shipping was fast and efficient but that is often no longer the case since the handling and shipping times have gotten progressively longer over the years. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was common for consumers to wait 1 or 2 days before their items would ship.
Once the package is out of the warehouse, it’ll take two days. The problem is that it often takes 2 days or longer to pack and handoff to a shipping carrier. The 2-day shipping has become 2-day shipping with 2-day handling for a total of 4-day delivery.
And then, COVID-19 entered the picture causing people to shelter away in their homes for months. Amazon showed it was incapable of handling the crisis. The e-commerce leader severely limited nonessential orders. During this time, some customers waited months for their items to arrive while others never did. They’re still waiting.
Even essential items were shipped much slower than normal. An Asthmanefrin Asthma Medication Refill took longer than a week at one point. The moral of the story is that Prime Shipping is no longer 2-day shipping.
Whatever the problem may be, the promise of 2-day shipping hasn’t been fulfilled for some time now. Despite the slowdowns, Amazon has never refunded customers or offered any type of discount for the several months when Prime Shipping was unavailable.
Is It Worth It?
Amazon Prime would be worth it if Prime Shipping was 2-day shipping. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to justify the $119 a year fee with additional costs for Prime Video Channels, Pantry, and Music. With Walmart.com, there is no need to pay a fee at all. The 2-day shipping is free of charge and refunds are slightly easier since you only need to drop them off at your local Walmart.
However, it is pertinent to be very cautious when dealing with Walmart’s 3rd party sellers because their prices are often outrageous and the customer service is pitiful. While eBay has problems of its own, many of its sellers can deliver quicker shipping than Amazon at this point. Once again, eBay doesn’t have a yearly fee.
It is difficult to recommend Amazon Prime when 2-day shipping is nonexistent and the other benefits are lackluster or completely free elsewhere. 2020 may finally be the time to dump Prime.