During Shipping Frenzy, Amazon Limited Prime Memberships

Now that the Christmas shopping and shipping frenzy is over, Amazon is providing free extensions of their Prime no-limit free shipping service to shoppers whose packages didn’t arrive. Before the holiday, though, Amazon was actually limiting signups for Prime during peak periods. Maybe they didn’t want to clog up the shipping works with boxes containing single packs of cookies and other small impulse items.

Overall, retailers are kind of disappointed with Americans’ lack of materialist gluttony this holiday season. Yes, online shopping was up, which created the massive shipping logjam that had some postal carriers and private shipping service drivers out on the roads on Christmas Day.

While Americans spent more online this holiday season than the same period last year, the total over the entire season didn’t increase as much as experts expected. Maybe that’s because of the foreshortened shopping season, with a late Thanksgiving.

While online spending is more time-efficient for most consumers, it’s not necessarily better for the environment. When you throw away the boxes that your online purchases came in without sorting out bits of plastic wrap and inflatable air pillows, where do those boxes end up? A recycling plant that the Wall Street Journal visited points out that if you don’t break down and sort out your boxes, they’re going to end up at the dump.

Online holiday sales up 10%, but running short of expectations: ComScore [CNBC]
Amazon limited new Prime memberships amid shipping delays [CNBC]
The Last Christmas Present: Lots of Trash [Wall Street Journal]

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  1. JoeBlow says:

    I was somewhat interested in reading that WSJ article about holiday trash, but of course that’s the one behind a paywall. I do break down my boxes and bundle them together as per the instructions on my town’s public works website, but I’m not sure what is meant by sorting them.