06-30-2018, 06:22 AM
#1
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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In this age of Internet shopping, sometimes we need to add a small item to fill the cart, to qualify for a deal (often, free shipping).  Your honor, the witness before you pleads guilty.

Yesterday, yr obdnt srvnt succumbed to an irrational(?) impulse to replace our family’s familiar old ice cream scoop, a utensil that we have used for about two decades, with its ultimate and almost certainly last (it will outlive me, I am sure] successor, a new stainless steel device from San Diego, the Midnight Scoop.  We leave to the pupil the exercise to determine what, exactly, about the Midnight Scoop contributes to an allure sufficient to cause us to abandon an ice cream scoop that has served us well for decades.

The official MSRP of the Midnight Scoop is a breath-sucking $35, a price on the maker’s site that is duplicated by most other on-line retailers of the device.   One familiar national retailer, however, offers it for a $5 discount from the MSRP.  But here is the catch:  that national retail store is well-known for its discount coupons (we get at least one coupon per month in the mail) for 20 percent off any single item; the same retailer on-line offers free shipping for orders that exceed a total of $29.  However, put the Midnight Scoop into the virtual cart, apply the coupon, and the discounted price falls to $24, and it no longer qualifies for free shipping.  And the lowest applicable shipping charge for the item just happens to be within a penny of the discount applied by the coupon.  Catch-22, right?

The obvious solution — the one that the retailer hopes that you will take — is to add other items to your order to bring the total above the threshold for free shipping.  Now we are playing a game with clear rules.

So.  To our on-line order for the Midnight Scoop we added to our virtual cart a “Bayou Classic Stainless Steel Chick CAN Cooking Rack,” which is a primitively simple device to give the bird a wider, more stable, platform in the oven when one roasts a lime-and-pepper beer-can chicken.  The value of the coupon discount on the scoop then matches the shipping charge that one would pay for an order that does not exceed $29; so, for the total price of the discounted price ice cream scoop plus shipping, we shall instead receive both the ice cream scoop and a beer-can-chicken stand, with the shipping costs waived.  That made the beer-can stand “free.”

Over many years of on-line shopping, we sometimes have been pleased with several such on-line lagniappes, items that we never would have thought of including in our order had it not been for arbitrary price thresholds on the sellers’ sites.  The effectively free items have sometimes turned out to provide unexpected value. For instance, last year, a friend’s daughter was getting married, and we found a too-good-to-be-true price on-line for a Chantal Copper Fusion frying pan that we were going to buy as a wedding gift.  The price was below the seller’s free shipping threshold, so we added a close-out towel to our order to get free shipping; we found that we liked that towel so much that we ordered a second copy of the Copper Fusion frying pan as a birthday gift for our daughter-in-law, and got a second towel in the order for ourselves.

Have you found serendipity in such forced inclusions in your on-line shopping carts?

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 06-30-2018, 07:27 AM
#2
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Queens, NY
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Good question. For things shaving related, Kai DE blades. We tend to otherwise shop in brick and mortar stores. Your proposed scenario isn’t generally an option there. Prices are sometimes (often?) negotiable, but we aren’t usually looking at adding on to purchases to meet minimum purchase requirements.

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 06-30-2018, 07:33 AM
#3
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Queens, NY
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The store you implied, if I’m not mistaken, honors their in-house coupons indefinitely. Listed expiration dates don’t seem relevant.

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 06-30-2018, 08:09 AM
#4
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I do it ALL THE TIME!! Add on to get the minimum purchase for free shipping.... Sad 
That's why I have sooooo much stuff.... A6

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