Drop.com (April 10-23): Sales Tax Refunded

If you are a fan of Drop (the artist formerly known as Massdrop), for the time period of April 10-23 in 2023, they are offering the sales tax refunded on your purchases at the Massdrop website using coupon code USTAXDAY. If your state does not collect sales tax, you will obviously not receive a refund 🙂

For shoppers outside the USA, the same coupon code gets you FREE shipping on orders of $50+, and the order must have five items or less FEWER [King Stannis]. There’s no sales tax outside the USA. This coupon does NOT pay back customs or VAT or any other taxes collected outside the USA.

Monoprice launches a Rewards program

Rewards continue to be hot in the world of shopping, so the Monoprice website jumped on this bandwagon as well! They have launched their Preferred Rewards program that offers two type of benefits:

  1. volume pricing discount; the higher your reward tier, the more discounted units you can buy
  2. coupons twice a year; the higher the reward tier, the bigger the coupon discount

The reward tiers are determined by how much you spent at the Monoprice website the previous calendar year (1/1 through 12/31). Included in the qualifying amount are taxes and shipping fees.

It is a FREE rewards program – it should go without saying but a few times some merchants charge (hello AMEX), so I have to mention it 🙂

Best Buy Rewards program changing: TWO major changes!

If you are a member of the Best Buy Rewards program (aka “My Best Buy” program), they are changing the terms, and there are two major changes, one is good news, the other is kinda sideways.

The good news? Effective immediately, “My Best Buy” members get free shipping without a minimum purchase amount required.

The sideways news? Effective February 14 in 2023 (it’s their Valentine’s Day gift?), the Best Buy rewards program ENDS for all EXCEPT for those who have the “Best Buy Credit Card”. If you don’t have the BB Credit Card, you can apply for it, and they have a couple of special promotions for it to entice you to “cross over”.

If within 60 days (of February 14, 2023) you don’t get the “Best Buy Credit Card”, Best Buy will issue a rewards certificate for the points remaining in your account. Not sure if this will be for the total amount or following the standard points redemption rules.

Contact their toll-free customer service for questions and complications and such…

Adorama: FREE Overnight Shipping on select items

As we get closer to the gift-giving and gift-receiving deadlines, time becomes of the essence (absence of a TARDIS). Adorama too is having their FREE OVERNIGHT shipping promotion on over 4500 products. Eligible products mention this on their individual product pages while this promotion is running.

Speaking of Adorama, they have a Mystery sale featuring nearly 9000 items.

B&H: Free Next Day Shipping on select items until 12/21

It’s that time of the year, the gifting time crunch! And as with previous years, B&H Photo is offering FREE NEXT DAY shipping on select items for purchases made in the contiguous US states.

You can find out if an item is eligible for this promoition on its individual product page, where the free next day delivery option is shown…

Singles Day 2022 is Here!

We’ve made it again, it’s Singles Day (11/11) in the year 2022, and somehow, to the planet’s chagrin, we are still around 😉

Singles Day is the Asian Market Black Friday, essentially November is one rolling Black Friday sale!

As usual, check your favorite Asian-market shopping sites, such as Ali Express (the western-facing version) and Alibaba (the China-facing version) and Gear Best (not Beast), and DH Gate and Bang Good (it is safe for work!) and Geek Buying and Light in the Box (not a photography site), and Deal Extreme (they changed urls since) and a gazillion others!

If you have any favorites I left out, please feel free to mention them in the comments!

Prime Benefit: 1-Year of GrubHub+ FREE

Amazon’s Prime benefits continue to evolve with the times. Such as this benefit: as a Prime member you get a 1-Year GrubHub+ membership for FREE. This Grubhub+ membership gets you unlimited $0 deliveries on eligible offers.

The offer continues as long as the Prime membership is active. Meaning if you start a 30-day Prime trial and then cancel it, you don’t get to keep the 1-year GrubHub+ free membership.

NOTE that the GrubHub+ membership is auto-renewing, so if you don’t cancel it before the FREE 12 months are over, you will be charged an on-going monthly fee (currently $10/month), until or unless you manually cancel it.

I haven’t done this, so I can’t tell you what to expect…

Heads Up: PayPal FREE Return Shipping ENDS on November 27 in 2022

Another sign of the times and a tightening of the belts, on November 27 in 2022, PayPal will be ending their free return shipping program. If you have eligible returns, make sure you submit them before the change!

No new sign-ups are allowed for the retiring service, so the only ones who can use it before it goes away are the PayPal users who have already activated it…

More details at the PayPal Help pages

Pre-order 55″ Samsung Odyssey Ark, Get $200 Gift Card!

If you’ve fallen for Samsung’s new 55-inch Odyssey Ark display, B&H Photo is giving you 200 more reasons to place a pre-order! For a limited time, if you pre-order the Odyssey Ark for its starting price of $3500, you will also receive a $200 B&H Photo e-gift-card!

The promotion runs as long as you see it mentioned at the aforelinked product page. If you no longer see it mentioned, it means it expired for new buyers.

Woot Birthday Giveaway: $500 Gift Cards (open to all)

It just happens that Woot’s 18th year birthday coincides with Prime Days this year. To celebrate its birthday Woot is having a $500 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway with five winners. This is open to all – you don’t have to be a Prime member, and you don’t have to buy anything.

To be eligible, you must needs post in the aforelinked Woot thread, following their rules, terms and conditions. The more complicated the rules, the better the chance of winning because some people won’t read them 🙂

The entry deadline is 7/18/22 at 4pm central time.

UPDATE: unrelated to the Giveaway but related to Woot, they changed their Tuesday 7/12/22 headliner daily deal, it is now a Best of Tech sale with a heavy focus on TVs and Apple products.

Prime Days 2022 revealed: July 12-13

Amazon has officially revealed that Prime Days 2022 will be July 12 and 13 in 2022, which, according to my calendar are Tuesday and Wednesday. This event is open to Prime members only.

If you are not a Prime member, you can still participate by starting a strategic 30-day Prime free trial that includes July 12-13 time window. Amazon is well aware of this and encouraging it because they know that a sizable percentage of those who start 30-day free trials will stick around as paying Prime members for eternity 🙂

Alternately, if you are not eligible for the free trial, but you also don’t want to commit to the $140 per year plan [back in our time kids, Prime was $100 per year but we had to climb up the internet hill backwards at dialup speeds to get it!], you can start a $15/month month-to-month membership and keep it only for the time window that covers the July 12-13 Prime Dayz.

Remember, a Prime membership also includes access to Amazon’s videos and movies, so you can factor your TV/movies streaming/watching schedule into the decision when to start your 30-day free trial!

A Prime membership includes many other benefits as well. To give you a general sense, we have a Prime Benefits round-up post at the main blog, but note that it was last updated in late April 2018, that’s *GASP* four years ago 🙂 Time sure does fly!

PRO TIP: View all Woot Plus deals (sorted by date)

Once upon a time Woot was just a few daily deals. Now it has 184 pages worth of deals with a dozen deals per page. It can be quite chaotic to sort through the various longer-running Woot Plus offerings and keep up with the latest additions.

Which brings us to this page, all the Woot deals offered, sorted by the Newest First. You can also sort them by other options, eg best sellers, high/low price, etc…

Plan Ahead: B&H and Adorama Closing for Passover starting Friday

If you are planning any short-term orders from B&H Photo and also from Adorama, you have to do some planning ahead because the retailers will be closing for the Passover holiday starting on Friday 4/15 and they will return on Monday 4/25. That’s ten days, so if you’re gonna need anything soon, order it now!

May 3 (2022): Changes to Best Buy Rewards program, Goodbye Three Tiers

Ch-ch-ch-changes! Starting May 3 in 2022, Best Buy is streamlining their rewards program. Gone will be the three tiers. Everyone will be in a single tier, earning the same percentage, half a point for every $1 spent. Points will be redeemed in 250 point increments. 250 points is a $5 reward certificate, thus making it a 1% reward, since 1 point = 2 cents.

Not sure why they have it twisted like that instead of making it a straight 1:1. It’s the same thing, just the 0.5x and 2x can be confusing to those who do not pay close attention.

Best Buy credit cards earn higher percentages depending on card and promotion.

Some items and brands are not eligible to earn points (check the “E. Receiving points” segment) and some things cannot be paid with a reward certificate (check the “3. Non-Qualifying Redemptions”).

Ironically, the company with the highest profit margins in the universe (Apple/Beats purchases) do not earn points 🙂

Details at the Best Buy Terms and Conditions.

Note that the new terms are at the top of the page under the “Upcoming 5/3/22 update” section. If you scroll further down, you will find the previous terms that expire on 5/2/22. So if you are using your browser’s search feature to look for specific things, make sure you are in the correct section of the page…

Time Warp News: Senate votes to make DayLight Savings permanent [still needs to pass House & President to sign]

Twice a year we must needs change the time in various clocks and gadgets, assuming we remember which ones change automatically and which ones require manual intervention.

In mayhaps the first good news of 2022, the US Senate passed by unanimous consent (not a single one of the usual suspects demanded a roll-call vote) the proposed law that makes daylight savings time permanent.

This is not a law yet! It has to pass the House of Representatives, and then get signed by El Presidente (or Congress overrides a veto), before it becomes law.

Daylight savings is the new-current current time, the “Spring Forward” time. As the “daylight savings” name hints at, the “spring forward” pushes an extra hour of daylight into the evening, thus “saving” the daylight for more people to enjoy 🙂 Furthermore, the daylight is not “wasted” in the earlier hours of the morning where many may be sleeping or wanting to be sleeping but get woken up by the sunlight…

More details via the various websites linked through at Memeorandum, the newsy site of Techmeme… Or if you just want to read one article with sunrise and sunset light-comparison images (why not?) check out the VoX

And what makes this long-winded post on-topic: of photography interest, it gives us a more consistent schedule with regards to sunrises and sunsets and photographing things in general, and those of us who may be using older cameras, we’ll have correct capture times all year round 🙂

Plan your orders ahead: B&H Purim Closing

If you have any time-sensitive orders for the B&H Photo website, plan ahead because they will be closing for the Purim holiday. More specifically, online orders placed after 4:30pm eastern on Wednesday March 16 in 2022, will be shipped on Monday March 21 in 2022…

Shopping News: Amazon B&M Bookstores closing down

Not everything Bezos touches turns into gold. Amazon’s Bookstores have failed to gain enough traction/profit and Amazon is closing them down. More specifically this includes the “Amazon Books”, “4 Stars” and “Pop Up” stores.

The aforelinked page has FAQs on how to deal with returns. The exact closing date is not disclosed as of the time of writing.

The other Amazon physical stores (Whole Foods, Amazon Fresh, Amazon Go) continue operating as before.

BREAKING: Amazon Prime annual fees increasing to $139 per year [monthly $15/month]

Maintaining the globetrotting yacht and tearing down bridges is an expensive thing, so Amazon is raising Prime prices from $119 to $139 as follows:

+ existing Prime members: March 25 (so if your annual renewal is before March 25, you pay $119; after March 25, you pay $139)
+ the previous bump in Prime pricing was in 2018, it went from the psychologically friendly price of $99 to $119

+ new Prime members: February 18 or later. It’s Amazon’s Valentine’s gift to y’all 😉

+ monthly Prime fee goes from $13/month to $15/month

So if you are not a Prime member, and are considering to lock in the $119 price for a year, start a FREE 30-day trial now, OR strategically use the monthly Prime when you need it (eg when the LOTR show comes out in Fall 2022 or when you shop a lot)…

Shopping News: Meh flat shipping increases to $6

If you like to shop at Meh and you are not a paying member, they have just increased their flat shipping from $5 to $6. Announcement and discussion in their forums.

If you are a paying member, nothing changes ~ you continue to get free shipping as before…

Heads Up: B&H Photo Closing for Passover (March 26 to April 4)

If you have any time-sensitive orders from B&H Photo, make sure you place your orders now!

B&H will be closing for the annual Passover Holiday from March 26 until April 4. Online orders will also be unavailable during some of those days.

Of online ordering interest, orders placed before 12pm ET on March 25 will be processed before the holiday closing. Orders placed after that, will get processed when they re-open on Monday April 5 in 2021.

But as usual, please don’t wait until 11:59am ET on March 25 to place your order as unpredictable things may delay the processing of the order (weather, traffic jams, technical difficulties, power outages, etc)…

Shopping News: Best Buy laying off 5000, closing more stores

We have more breaking shopping news, this time the subject is Best Buy, but the good news is that they are not having same fate as Fry’s Electronics as we previously mentioned. Speaking of Fry’s, if you now go to the Fry’s website you will read their “after nearly 36 years in business…” letter, with guidance on what to do if you have anything pending with them (repairs, consignments, credit balances, etc)… The benefit of them having had their service contracts and credit cards ran by other companies comes in handy now that Fry’s is going away…

So to Best Buy now. The company has announced it is laying off 5000 (five thousand) employees and will close more stores than previously anticipated. COVID and overall trends and all, their online sales are now 40% of their total ~ this number doubled since two years ago.

More details and discussion on the Best Buy news via Techmeme

Considering the Fry’s and Best Buy news, this is a good time to do an inventory of your gift cards (physical or electronic or store credits or rewards balances) at various brick and mortar and online retailers and consider the risk situation of each retailer whose gift card you have. Amazon and Walmart and Starbucks and such may be too big to fail, but others may not be so lucky…


We have a shopping BREAKING NEWS ALERT! [[[ three sirens blasting ]]] All existing Fry’s brick and mortar stores have closed. Tuesday night was the last day they were open. This was leaked to the interwebs by Fry’s employees. An official announcement is expected to come out at some point on Wednesday during the business day [they are a West Coast type of a company]…

The leaker-employee says that the Fry’s website will also go offline. As of the time of writing (Tuesday at 10:27pm pacific time) it is still up…

Details on the various tech and shopping sites, more on these through Duck Duck Go and social media and such. It is already a Top 30 trending topic on Twitter…

Free Overnight Shipping at Adorama (500+ options)

The clock is ticking for these promotions to end as we get closer and closer to Christmas Day 2020! Adorama is offering over 500 items with Free Overnight Shipping. Follow the prompts in their shopping cart to get it while this promotion is running…

Needless to say, an item has to be in-stock and ready to ship right now for overnight shipping to work in the expected time frame…

PS: keep in mind the COVID situation along with the usual things (weather, snow, blizzards, storms, Marvel superhero battles, etc) can cause unexpected delays…

Prime Benefit: FREE 2-Day shipping at Woot until 12/20/20 PM

If you are a Prime member, Woot has an extra limited-time benefit for you. Normally you get free shipping as a Prime member, but until 12/20/20 at 11:59pm central time, you get a free upgrade to 2-day shipping at the Woot website. Simply look for the option. You have to connect your Woot-Prime accounts. Details at the aforelinked page and/or follow the prompts in the Woot shopping cart.

This is for all items sold (and shipped) by Woot, not just the pithy Prime-only selection. A very small number of items that may be shipped directly by 3rd-parties (if they still exist with the new Amazon-Woot) may not be eligible if Amazon doesn’t control the shipping.

KEH Camera remodeling with a more modern look

If you haven’t checked the KEH Camera website lately, it looks quite more modern now as they have done a remodeling/rebranding, a more soulful feel if you must. Fear not, the 180-day warranty is still there 🙂

They’ve been rather quiet on deals lately (they posted one last week but I missed it). Based on that, I think they should have BF/CM offers. You don’t launch a pre-BF offer if you are not planning actual-BF offers 🙂

Prime Day Update: Moving to October 2020, Still Subject to COVID change

One of the main Prime Benefits is the annual Prime Day which typically happens in the early summer. This year, because of COVID-19 seasons, it had been moved to September, and now according to new updates via Techmeme, the sale-a-bration is tentatively moved to October 2020. But still subject to change…

Considering that Black Friday is November 2020 and singles day is mid-November, the end of October is mayhaps the latest Amazon can do it without colliding with pre-existing sale-a-brations. On the other hand, this year could be Amazon’s embrace of Singles Day which could also be Prime Day. This paragraph being speculation of course…

Shopping News: eBay gets new CEO from Walmart eCommerce

eBay has a brand new CEO, Ser Jaime Lannister! Okay, close but not quite. The new CEO is Jamie [not Jaime] Iannone, coming to them as COO of the Walmart e-commerce division… More on this via Techeme

Does that mean we’ll get “People of eBay” books published? 🙂

Launch Your B&M Business on eBay with 3-month No/Low Fees promotion

eBaY is running a new promotion to encourage brick and mortar business to open up an eBay store. This new promotion is for Business users, and new ones, not for existing eBay accounts. eBay is including these freebies to encourage the transition for the next three months (April 1 until June 30 in 2020):

  • FREE “Basic eBay Store” service
  • No Selling Fees (for the first 500 orders
  • access to various eBay tools

More details on how to do it and what qualifies for “eBay Business” as opposed to an eBay consumer over there…

Prime Day 2020 getting delayed

According to a Reuters exclusive story, Amazon is planning to delay the 2020 Prime Day, which typically happens in June every year since 2015… [via Techmeme]…

Amazon being so sprawled globally is finding itself in the middle of all sorts of Coronavirus situations, sometimes helping deliver medicine and supplies and sometimes [allegedly] planning to smear its own warehouse worker who dared fight for the workers rights to basic human decency. [via Techmeme]…

In other Amazon action, if you are an Apple i-device user, and if you are a Prime member, you can purchase or rent Amazon Prime videos on your iPhone/iPad and pay using your Amazon payment methods. If you are not a Prime member, then you can pay for them with an Apple/iTunes in-app purchase. You can also start a Prime Video monthly subscription through iTunes. Details of all the combinations and scenarios at the Daring Fireball

Amazon prioritizing deliveries during Corona Days

Amazon is prioritizing and reprioritizing deliveries and delivery dates based on the current CoronaVirus situation, with some items deemed lower priority and not high demand getting long shipment estimates even though they are in-stock and you may be a Prime member. The shipping estimate on the product page and in the shopping cart, especially when you are logged on to your Amazon account, should give you an idea what to expect, but of course we are in uncharted territory and things develop all the time, so keep that in mind…

More on this via Techmeme