Diaper Diatribe Against Amazon.com Doesn't Add Up
The normally reliable Cranky Consumer column in today's Wall Street Journal focused on buying diapers in bulk online, a subject that has been near and dear to this correspondent's heart for the last couple of years.
But the article, written by a freelancer named Eileen Gunn, suffered from the same kind of delivery problems it griped about.
Case in point: Gunn writes about ordering a box of 216 size 1 Pampers from Amazon.com for $38.99, but then got hit with a $14.90 shipping fee because she was actually buying the diapers from an independent merchant, BBHealthy.com.
"A spokesman for Amazon said that the company works with its third-party merchants to ensure a good shopping experience," Gunn wrote, "but that their delivery fees and standards are ultimately not under Amazon's control."
All well and good, but the question is why Gunn would have done that in the first place. From my own experience, I have bought Pampers directly from Amazon, which provides free shipping. The diapers in question are available for $39.79.
Moreover, that offer is on the first page after you search for Pampers. You have to drill down to find the BBHealthy offer. True, initially cheaper at $38.99, but then comes the shipping, which would bring the cost to a pricey 25 cents a diaper.
However, if she had bought the Pampers directly from Amazon, it would have been just 18 cents a diaper, just a penny more than the lowest-price site mentioned in the column, 1-800-Diapers.com.
Just as bewildering as the fact that Gunn blew by the Pampers home page on Amazon is the unnamed Amazon spokesman in her article who also couldn't figure out where Gunn went wrong. Instead, he just blubbered about how Amazon "tries very hard to ensure a good shopping experience for our customers."
Which is what happens when you shop for the best price. Only then might you get a little less cranky, not to mention an accurate column.