Is It Silly to Buy More Stuff Just to Get Free Shipping?

July 24, 2007

Earlier I was on the JC Penney’s website buying some Levis since the store no longer carries decent-looking jeans (I like Levis 560s). I found the jeans I liked on and put three pairs in my shopping bag. The total came to a little over $86. I went to check out and found out that there was a $15 shipping charge because I my purchase was for less than $100. I didn’t really want anything else but I ended up adding a shirt because I didn’t want to pay $15 shipping.

The only problem was the shirt was $29.99! LOL! So to save $15, I spent $30! Granted, the shirt really only cost me $15 since I was going to have to pay $15 regardless of whether or not I met the $100 threshold. I guess I subconsciously reasoned with myself that I would rather pay $15 towards a shirt than to pay $15 for shipping. Logical? I’m not sure.

12 responses to Is It Silly to Buy More Stuff Just to Get Free Shipping?

  1. Can’t you just return the shirt to your local JC Penney?

  2. I would have just found something for $15. Same cost in the end, but you have something to show for it.

  3. Like Pam, I probably would have found something that was $15 – most likely something I could use as a gift. Although I may have just gotten a 4th pair of the jeans. I mean, since I like them, I would eventually wear them (you bought 3 pairs, after all). And like Jon says, you can probably return it without penalty at your local store (I’ve done that at the GAP when something I ordered online just didn’t fit right).

  4. It’s actually a rather common tactic among bargain hunters. There are often good deals at Staples, Amazon, etc. and the threshold for free shipping is often not too far above what the item in question costs. E.g. the item might be $49.99 while the free shipping threshold is $50. So there are typical “filler items” (see e.g. this thread) for less than $1 to get you past the required amount for free shipping.

  5. Makes sense to me!

  6. You can do what the others have mentioned, or you can hop on FatWallet and look for some coupon codes for either free shipping or X% off.

  7. Studies have repeatedly shown that web buyers do exactly what you did and purchase more than they planned to get ‘free’ shipping. That’s why it’s so common.

  8. I am sure you could have found that something you really needed and costs just about $15.00. (vs 29.99 shirt !)

  9. I say return the shirt to a JCPenny store if you can. I’ve done that before but I normally get something close to the limit so that it costs me very little, eg. in your case it would have been something for 15 – 20 bucks.

  10. I would only spend more to get the free shipping if I was planning to get the items. Essentially if I could wait and take advantage of a perk like this I would otherwise I wouldn’t spend money I didn’t need to spend.

  11. Thanks for all the comments, everyone.

    I’m going to keep the shirt. for one, I wouldn’t feel right returning it since I knew I had to have $100 in purchases in order to qualify for shipping. Two, I can always use another shirt.

  12. I’d feel worse about paying shipping than gettings something for 50% that I could use.