"Filler Item" Gets You Free Shipping, But Is Shipped Separately

Here’s an odd complaint. Reader T says:

I bought two books on Amazon – and my total came to $24.74. So I scouted around and found a site ( that lets you choose a small priced item to bump the price over the $25 to qualify for free shipping. I chose a small wooden knob for $0.72.

So today I got email – they did a partial shipment! Guess what’s coming in the first box? Yep, the knob I didn’t really want – the one that’s only there to get me over $25.

Why doesn’t Amazon make a new item “Give money to charity” for any amount – that qualifies for free shipping – and not cost them an extra $2.28 (plus their labor and materials)? They would get good press, save money, and save me from receiving and discarding an item I had no use for – full of win all around.

[The ‘which charity’ question could either be a big list (complicated) or just a simple top-ten list – most everyone could find a charity they don’t object to with the Salvation Army and the Red Cross and United Way and some military hospital charities in the list.]


The following items have been shipped to you by ———————————————————————
Qty Item Price Shipped Subtotal
——————————————————————— items (Sold by, LLC): 1 Laurey Au Natural Wood Mus… $0.72 1 $0.72

Shipped via USPS (estimated arrival date: 19-March-2008).
Tracking number: 9102xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

——————————————————————— Item Subtotal: $0.72
Shipping & Handling: $2.28

Best Value Savings $0.00 Super Saver Discount $-2.28

Total: $0.72


You have only been charged for the items sent in this shipment. (Per our policy, you only pay for items when we ship them to you.) The following items will ship separately, as soon as they’re available: ———————————————————————
Qty Item Price Not Yet Shipped
1 (book 1 ) $7.99 1 1
(book 2 ) $17.16 1

This shipment was sent to: (redacted)

Donating money to charity to quality for free shipping is a very nice idea. We hope Amazon will consider it.

(Photo:Robert Scoble)

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