My Favorite Things: Amazon.com…


When I moved to “Small Town USA” in the early 1990s, the hubby and I pretty much dreaded the holiday season for one reason: it required us to get a sitter on the weekend (That can get pricey for 3 munchkins.) and travel an hour and 15 minutes (one way) to the northeast of us to embark on Christmas shopping at a Fort Worth suburban shopping mall. The first challenge upon arriving there, no matter the hour? Finding a vacant parking space.

Then, there was fighting huge crowds in every store we shopped. I vividly remember one foray into Bath and Body Works and waiting a full 45 minutes to buy stocking stuffers and candles. I’m still not sure that was worth the effort.

Part of the frustration was that our kids’ hand-scrawled Christmas wish lists were often misspelled or illegible. And they almost always wanted the one toy no one could ever get.

And yet, we couldn’t find enough items on their lists locally to help us avoid this madness. So, shopping entirely locally was not really a viable option.

Enter Amazon.com. Once a site for buying books, Amazon has become our “go to” source for anything we can’t find in our local town. But, there’s more to it than that.

Amazon started allowing their customers to create wish lists online. You can’t imagine how helpful it is to see a correct spelling of the item, along with pictures and reviews of the vaunted potential gift. And you can filter out what’s already been purchased by other family members and friends, plus you can specify the size and color for items as needed or wanted.

The item isn’t carried by Amazon? No problem. You can put an Amazon icon on your toolbar; go to the site page carrying your item; click the icon and voila! It’s on your Amazon wish list!

You want something that can’t be found on the internet? (Let me guess: You want “peace on earth” for Christmas.) Amazon will even let you type in the one item nowhere on the internet.

The best part? They’ll wrap it and ship it directly to the person receiving your gift or to you, so that you can put it under the tree. Most of the items I order arrive before the predicted time that Amazon gives you when you order. And on the rare occasions when I have to return an item, Amazon has it down to a science with step-by-step instructions, complete with printable shipping labels. Once my item is packaged for return, I simply drop it off at my favorite shipper’s store.

I acquiesced last year and became an Amazon Prime member. Now, my items get to me even faster–2 day shipping is free to Amazon Prime members! And I get other benefits as well. Since I own an Amazon Kindle, I can share books with other Amazon Prime members for free for 30 days! I can watch movies and entire TV series online for free, too. Even without the membership, I am amazed at how often books are free through the Kindle Store.

Just about the time you think they can’t make it any better, they do. Last year I became acquainted with AmazonSmile. If you sign up for AmazonSmile, then a small portion of your purchase amounts will get sent to the charity of y our choice and there are lots of charities to select. The look of the site is the same; it’s just now geared to sending a portion of your purchase price to the charity While I doubt that my charity is getting wealthy from my purchases, it’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, right?

And I am constantly amazed at what I can find on Amazon. I even found US postage stamps the other day. I’m still shaking my head over that one.

Never fear! We still shop locally, particularly for stocking stuffers (And we spend a fortune on stocking stuffers–trust me!), gift cards and local specialties that we wouldn’t trust to some shipping agent. And Amazon is quick to offer items from small businesses, particularly if they carry it at a cheaper price, so sometimes shopping through Amazon does help the small business owner reach customers they never would have encountered the traditional way.

One word of warning about this latter option: their shipping policies and practices can vary from Amazon’s, so the item may take longer to get to you. Therefore, read carefully.

Amazon is revolutionizing how we shop. So much so that shippers are having to change the way they do business. But, I think that’s a good thing, particularly for physically impaired people nervous about going shopping in icy weather, not to mention tired, stressed-out parents.

What do you like about Amazon? Feel free to share below.

Monday’s Post: Did you know what opusculum meant?

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This entry was posted on Friday, November 14th, 2014 at 10:50 am and is filed under Fun Stuff. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.


  1. November 18th, 2014 | Chelsea says:

    We LOVE Amazon! It’s the only way to shop with a 15 month old. Riley will probably think that Santa and his elves live and work there instead of the North Pole! 🙂

  2. November 18th, 2014 | MaryAnn says:

    Well, they do, don’t they? I consider them Santa’s elves at the very minimum!

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