Yesterday afternoon, I had the urge to get a new Rails book, so I went to Amazon and ordered The Art Of Rails. This post isn't about the book, but I'll try to write about it after I read it.

This post instead is about the weird shipping service that Amazon provides on its site, at least in my particular case. When ordering something in Amazon, you get the option of how fast you want to get it. Among their options are: Standard Shipping (which is 3 days according to the site), 2-Day Shipping and Next-Day Shipping. I usually choose the standard shipping, since whatever I order isn't a matter of life or death. I completed my order, expecting the book to arrive on Friday or Saturday, just in time for the weekend.

I just checked the tracking on the book - It's already waiting for me at home, less than 24 hours after ordering it.

Of course, that's not happening every single place in the country. It seems the reason I got it so quick is that Amazon has a distributor close to New York City (the tracking indicates it left Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which is about 90 minutes away), so they received the order and shipped it out UPS Ground, which is just a short drive here. It isn't the first time this has happened. I usually get books from Amazon one or two business days after I order them.

Obviously, I don't mind the fast service. That's why I continue to constantly buy from them rather than any of the other million bookstores I have access to. But take a look at the costs for the different shipping options for the same book:

  • Standard Shipping - $3.99
  • 2-Day Shipping - $11.98
  • Next-Day Shipping - $17.98

So, I spent 14 dollars less than someone who chose Next-Day Shipping, yet got the book as quickly as they did. Pretty sweet deal, but I wonder how many people from this area (and perhaps other areas where shipping is just as quick) keep on choosing those 'faster' options unknowingly.

Like I said, this doesn't apply to every single place in the country, so that's why there are different options. Also, for someone who really needs an item the next day, selecting the Next-Day Shipping option can serve as a guarantee. But with the millions and millions of orders and a whole lot of stats to go along with those orders, couldn't Amazon have estimated dates depending on where the items are shipping? This way, the consumer is better informed and can make a better decision. It just seems like the right thing to do.

Oh, and if someone from Amazon is reading this, please don't purposely slow down my shipments next time.