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!

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!

New NewEGG page: Lowest Price in 30 Days

If you are a fan of NewEgg or looking for deals in general (with a technology focus), NewEgg has recently launched (or I just now found out about it LOL) a new page of offerings, Lowest Price in 30 Days. As the name suggests, these are products that currently have their lowest price in the last 30 days according to the NewEgg computers/humans/hybrids…

NOTE: as usual, when shopping at open websites like NewEgg, eBay, Amazon and the like, where multiple marketplace sellers are allowed to sell the same product, make sure you check who the actual seller of a product is, and for products where the manufacturer warranty matters, make sure they are an authorized dealer…

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…

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)…

eBay Bucks Changes: 1% Base Tier goes away

If you are participating in the eBay Bucks rewards program, eBay is making changes to the program starting April 1st in 2021. More specifically, you will no longer earn the base 1% on qualifying purchases. The program however is not shutting down. It will continue by offering “Bonus Bucks” promotions. One silver lining of the changes, rewards earned on April 1 in 2021 (and later) will be valid for 12 months…

More details at the updated eBay Help pages

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…

BREAKING: Fry’s Electronics CLOSING DOWN!

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…

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

Best Buy launches Curbside PickUp (and other social distancing measures)

If you would like to purchase or pickup something from your local Best Buy stores, starting today they have introduced Curbside Pickup. You have to select this option in the shopping cart (where available/possible). Once you receive an order confirmation with pickup instructions, go to the designated place (with photo-ID and credit-card of payment) and open your car’s trunk for contactless delivery 🙂

As far as at home deliveries and installations, Best Buy employees will not enter your home no matter what. So installations and setups are being cancelled. Deliveries of items (even if heavy and hard to move) will be at your doorstep, not inside the house.

Patience is a virtue until all this is behind us…

… in the meantime, this is a great opportunity to start on all those resolution charts and lens calibration tests you had been postponing 🙂

Last Call: Use the 10% off Zappos settlement coupon (aka Bag the Designer Camera Bags)

Most of the settlements that involve money amounts going to consumers end up going mostly to lawyers and the rest probably unused because few people want to bother with paperwork for a few pennies of a settlement. So Zappos tried something different, and self-serving too, instead of giving moneyback, they are offering a 10% off coupon to those affected by the settlement. But the coupon must needs be used by 12/31/19, so this is your last call/reminder…

You will not find cameras and lenses there, but, this being a style/fashion company, you will find designer camera bags. The search there shows camera bags from J.Crew, Coach, Burch, Burton, Kipling, Chloe, Timbuk2, Topo straps and more. As usual, price-check and check reviews of items you are not familiar with…

The one-time use settlement coupon is included in emails you receive from Zappos with the title “Settlement Notification re: 2012 Security Incident”. Seven years later! Instructions on how to enter the coupon on the web or in the app are included in their email…

Woot Mobile site makes it easier to scan daily deals

What you see may depend on your viewport (phone resolution, screen size, etc) and whatever browser and OS experiments they may be doing, so with this caveat out of the way, if you visit the Woot home page with a mobile device (eg smartphone) you may see a different, more user-friendly look. All the daily deals appear in a block together under the “Daily Deals” header ~ you no longer have to go from one sub-Woot to another to check them all out. One touch/click gets them all in front of you…

PSA for Amazon shoppers: 3rd-party sellers hijacking listings of discontinued Amazon-branded products

This is a PSA for Amazon shoppers, especially for fans of Amazon’s own brands. Once upon a time Amazon had zero “house brands”. Then they shyly began with AmazonBasics and now they have dozens and dozens of their product brands that probably not even the people working at Amazon’s marketing can name them from memory.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, when some of the Amazon-branded (eg AmazonBasics) products get discontinued, some “crafty” 3rd-party sellers hijack the listings offering their own products and using existing reviews of the AmazonBasics products as instant credibility for their products.

Details at The Verge and more via Techmememe

Save the Date: Woot Turns 15 on July 12

Save the date for potential Woot-OFFs and other sales and giveaways. Woot is turning 15 years old on July 12 in 2019 per their latest email, so stay tuned for promotions around that date… Here’s the teaser from their email:

B&H Photo Boldly Goes: new PayBoo store credit card pays you back the USA State Sales Tax

Sales Tax is a wallet-biter for internet shoppers in the USA these days. B&H Photo has a new option if you want to pay sales-tax without taking the hit in your wallet. And of course very legally doing so.

They have just launched the B&H PayBoo store credit card. You make online or in-store or by-phone purchases and pay the amount plus any appropriate sales tax. At the same time, the credit card rewards your account with the sales-tax amount, so the net balance of your credit card is without the sales tax amount.

For example, let’s say you purchased Hypothetical 50mm f0.005 IS Macro Tilt-Shift for $100. Sales tax in your state is $7. The credit card charges you $107, so you have paid your sales tax. At the same time, the B&H PayBoo store credit card credits $7 to your account. So the balance you have to pay is $100.

You have to apply and get accepted to the credit card (instant decisions available). It is managed by the Synchrony Bank.

NOTE that this benefit is only available to customers who reside in USA states where:
+ there is sales tax
+ B&H is required by law to collect it at purchase
+ there are no state laws prohibiting this practice

NOTE also that if you change the delivery address (eg different state), the credit amount and whether you get the credit may be impacted as different states have different percentages and laws and some-do and some-don’t collect sales tax.

There is no benefit/reward for international purchases. You will not get back customs or other fees. This benefit is only for US state-tax where eligible/possible.

This is a “house” credit card, it can only be used for B&H purchases at B&H, be it online or in-store or by phone or using the B&H apps or by raven.

NOTE also that you must make the FULL payment using this credit card. If it’s a partial payment with any other payment method, you will not receive the benefits.

STRATEGERY
Overall, this sounds like a promising idea, assuming you plan your purchases wisely and check what your purchasing/finance APRs are in case you are planning to make payments over time ~ especially if there are no special 0% financing offers available at the time of purchase.

This however creates complications if you frequently use or receive B&H Gift Card and/or B&H Rewards, so that’s something to consider. Some states may not collect sales-tax on digital downloads/services (eg CreativeCloud, software purchases, cloud subscriptions), so in those cases, you may be able to pay for them using your B&H gift cards.

Or you can re-gift the B&H gift cards or sell/trade them on the gift card market (plenty of sites and options these days for gift cards)…

Plan Ahead: Adorama order cut-off for Passover is Friday at 12:30pm ET

We previously mentioned the B&H Photo Passover shopping schedule. Now we have the shopping schedule for the Adorama website. It is a bit different, so pay attention to the cut-off dates below:

Orders placed by Friday 4/19/19 at 12:30pm eastern will be processed on the day they are submitted (unless they hit a snag during the verification process or the products are not in-stock and things of that nature). Ideally, don’t wait until 12:29pm ET to place your order 🙂

Orders placed after that will be processed when Adorama returns from the Passover holiday on Monday April 29 in 2019.

Online ordering and phone sales and customer service are available on some of those days. Check their website for the detailed schedule…

Plan Ahead: B&H Photo Closing for Passover on Thursday PM

This is a heads-up so you can plan ahead your purchases. B&H Photo will be closing for the Passover Holiday on Thursday April 18 at 7pm ET and will re-open on Sunday April 28 at 10am eastern. That’s ten days, so indeed one must needs place an order now if they want to receive it this month!

Online ordering will be available during some of the closing BUT orders placed AFTER 6pm eastern on April 18 will be shipped on/after April 28…

Online ordering is available:
+ Fri April 19 at 7:30pm ET until Sun April 21 at 9pm ET
+ Thu April 25 7:45pm ET until Sat April 27 at 9:15pm ET

So to summarize for the speed-readers, the deadline to place your online orders if you want them to ship this week is Thursday April 18 at 6pm eastern. Best not wait until 5:59:59pm ET though 🙂

Refunds are coming in July: all Microsoft ebook purchases

Trigger warning for Zune fans!

Microsoft has one more time decided to kill a previously-launched media store. This time they decided to kill their ill-conceived e-book store. All ebooks purchased (including the free ones) will disappear in July 2019. Until then, you can access them with the Edge browser.

The refunds should happen automatically in July to your original payment method IF that payment method can accept refunds (eg credit or debit cards). IF your original payment method cannot accept refunds (gift card, expired/cancelled card, etc), you will receive a Microsoft online store credit).

And IF you left any notes/annotations in any of their ebooks prior to today, you will receive a “bonus” $25 Microsoft store credit.

More details at the MSFT FaQ, via the The Verge

PS: at this point, when should we expect the Microsoft App store to shutdown? 🙂

PSA: KEH Camera website remodel/redesign

You are not imaging things. The KEH website looks different indeed! That’s because there is a website remodel/redesign, and as per the rotating ticker on their site over there, they are actively looking for feedback on the new design, especially if you are having problems…

With so many viewports these days with desktops, laptops, 4K screens, AiOs, tablets, smartphones of all sizes, 2-in-1s, browsers of all sorts, etc, etc, etc, it’s a herculean task for a website design to cover all bases. Thus the request for feedback 🙂

Holiday Season: Free shipping at Amazon for non-Prime members for orders under $25

Shipping fees are the bane of an online shoppers’ existence! From now until the Christmas-delivery shipping deadline, if you are not a Prime member, you get free shipping at the Amazon website for orders under $25.

A couple of things to note. This will be the same free slow shipping that they previously offered for orders over $25. “Slow shipping” is not always slow ~ depending on each order’s situation.

The second thing to note is that this offer only applies to products sold and shipped by Amazon and products fulfilled by Amazon. Amazon physically and logistically controls the shipping for these two types, and they are the majority of listings over there. However, products that ship directly from 3rd-party sellers will still have a shipping fee as usual [Prime members pay this fee too except for a few rare occasions where they get Prime-like shipping – a lesser known Prime benefit]…

Speaking of Amazon, they are offering the new condition Acer Spin 5 SP515-51GN-83YY for $760 with free shipping. A maximum of TWO per customer at the sale price. This is not a lightning deal but an old fashioned sale. This haas a 15.6″ FHD Touchscreen, 8th Gen i7-8550U, GeForce GTX 1050, 8GB DDR4, 1TB HDD, Convertible design, Win 10, etc.

Woot now offers FREE 2-Day Prime shipping on select items [Prime members]

The Amazonification of Woot continues with another new experimental feature. As of a few weeks ago, Prime members would get free shipping at Woot, but now, the new experiment gets Prime members free 2-day Prime-like shipping on select Woot items. This is probably for items shipping from Amazon warehouses, so it makes sense they’d be able to do this for paying Prime members.

Here’s an example of a listing, the Klipsch speakers. Here’s an annotated screenshot of the relevant part of the pages for products eligible for this new Woot-Prime benefit:

Meh brings back $5/month free shipping membership

As mentioned in the main text of today’s deal at Meh.com, Meh is bringing back their free shipping membership plan, let’s call it version 2.0. You pay $5 per month, and you can cancel it at any time. For any month you are a paying member, you get free shipping at Meh and its other sister shopping sites (Morningsave, Casemates, Checkout.org and any others they may come up with in the future). If you are a regular shopper there, the membership makes sense since a number of their offers face a make-or-break as a deal based on the shipping fee. Details on the new membership at the bottom of this Meh forum post. The top part of the post gives background and history.