D.K. Wall

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Shipping Fees, Bright Lights, and Suicidal Rabbits

To illustrate this story, several products are referenced along with a link to them on Amazon. Please note that these links are all a part of an Amazon Affiliate program and I receive a small fee if you chose to purchase, though using the link does not increase your price. We receive no other compensation for mentioning the products. Also note that the prices in my story may differ from the links since the links reflect the current price, not the price at the time of the writing of this story.


I hate fees.

You know those gas stations that charge one price for cash and one for using credit cards? I don’t even pull in and just go on to the next gas station. And any of them that put the word “Cash” so small that you can’t even see it until you have pulled up to the pump? I get back in my car and drive away once I spot the higher credit card price.

Car dealers that dare to charge a “documentation fee” to the price of a new automobile? I just add it to the price of the car and use it for comparison to other dealers without such a fee. And, yes, I have walked out of a dealership that sprung that fee as a surprise.

Some people even claim I live in a county without parking meters or paid parking lots just to avoid that fee.

But I save my hate the most for shipping fees.

I understand the economics. Shipping costs money. So does taking a credit card or printing a receipt. But here’s the catch. When I walk into a local store and see some item selling for $9.99, I don’t get to the register and suddenly get charged a $1 fee for printing a receipt. They don’t charge me a banking transaction fee for taking a credit card, check or cash (all of which cost the business actual money in banking fees to process). And they don’t suddenly add a shipping fee for the freight cost getting it to the store. And if they attempted any of those, I would leave the store without my purchase.

That’s how much I hate fees. And why shopping online is so difficult for someone like me who absolutely refuses to pay shipping fees.

Some of you may think this is another rant about Amazon’s extortion fee for avoiding shipping fees. Nope, not going there. I like Amazon. I really do. I buy from them regularly. I just make sure to buy enough items to qualify for free shipping. And I will leave items in my cart for days until I think of something else I need in order to get free shipping.

Except when I really need a $5.37 part quickly.

We use well water and have a ridiculously expensive filtering system to remove sediment and heavy metals from the water, but some sediment gets through that system. Over time, the intake filters on my washing machine need to be cleaned of that sediment. And, of course, in removing those filters last week for cleaning, I broke one. Shattered it into pieces. So I needed a replacement.

The parts were not available at the local big box hardware or the local appliance store (we only have one of each) and I opted not to rig a filter, so checked Amazon. Sure enough, they had the part. And for only $5.37.

But we all know that you need to spend at least $49 with Amazon to get free shipping, so I needed to add a couple of items to my cart. What to buy? What to buy?

I know! A flashlight for my suicidal rabbits.

For the few of you who don’t know about The Thundering Herd, I live with six Siberian Huskies. And if you read my previous story, you know they are all quite adept hunters. One, Typhoon, excels. He is the fastest dog I have ever seen and delights in chasing down wayward rabbits. I guess it is the challenge.

I am also surrounded by the stupidest rabbits on the face of the planet. For some odd reason, they slink through the gap in the closed gates into our dog yard. Outside the fence, they run the risk that one of the neighborhood hawks, owls or eagles decides to select rabbit from nature’s menu, but inside the fence, they have to deal with Typhoon and his somewhat less proficient hunting pals.

Each morning before releasing the dogs, I scan the yard with a flashlight (because no self-respecting dog allows me sleep to sunrise) for any rabbit quietly napping.

Sadly, my long-term, cheap flashlight of choice simply is not bright enough for the task, a conclusion based simply on Typhoon’s number of pre-dawn rabbit acquisitions.

So, I decided to get a new flashlight to up my purchase amount closer to the free shipping goal. Go to Amazon search box, enter the word flashlight and get 658,055 results. Honestly. That is not a made up number.

And the segments they offered by default did not help either. After all, exactly what is the difference between “handheld flashlights” and “flashlights?” I could rule out keychain flashlights, but that didn’t exactly make the results a suddenly manageable number.

Ok, I want a quality flashlight, right? One bright enough to illuminate the deepest, darkest corners of the yard. Price isn’t everything, but maybe if I looked at the more expensive flashlights, I could narrow down the best one. So let’s sort from highest price to lowest. How expensive could they be?

Five grand.

To be fair, $4999.99. And $14.99 in shipping.

This one isn’t an option. It doesn’t even qualify for free shipping.

And at 3000 lumens, I would probably spot rabbits two counties over.

And so I resorted to different sorts and searches, read lots of flashlight descriptions, and looked at dozens of possible flashlight contenders. I also wasted an hour of my Sunday morning. Or maybe more.

At this point, rationality enters the equation. No, not from me. From the long-suffering human who has put up with my craziness for most of my adult life. Though the definition of adult is chronological and not emotional.

Exactly how much, I am asked by this far more rational human, is the shipping cost for two little pieces of plastic?

I don’t know. Let me look.

Yep, they did not have a shipping charge. No minimum purchase required.

I ordered the parts. They arrive today.

And I went to Lowe’s and tested flashlights. They only had about twenty to chose from. But I found one. A bright one.

Came home that evening. Checked the yard with the old flashlight. Released the dogs into the yard. Unpackaged the flashlight. Took it outside to test it.

Bright. Much brighter than the old one. Bright enough to illuminate a rabbit hiding behind a tuft of grass. Inside the dog yard.

Typhoon glanced his thanks to me and took off after the poor illuminated bunny.

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4 thoughts on “Shipping Fees, Bright Lights, and Suicidal Rabbits

  1. Wow. That is just too funny. I know to you it’s probably not funny after the fact that you spent an hour or morning looking to find enough to get free shipping, but I have to say I’ve done that myself. I also think it’s funny that you lite up the bunny for Typhoon. My husky that I had also had a kill list and we lived in the city with a privacy fence. I don’t even want to think of the kill list if we still had him here outside of the city. Oh and by the way my husky caught a squirrel off our fence. He even slipped and fell when the the squirrel turned and went the other way. I wished I could have seen that, that would have been amazing. My husband was the one outside with him. After Aries killed it my husband called me out to have Aries show me what he got. That dog pranced and pranced around the yard and was so proud of himself. Have a great day and weekend.

  2. Thanks Hu dad. I just bought one flashlight for 5$ and u just showed me I could have gotten four(4) for 9.99$ and apparently no shipping! U hate fees and I hate wasting money… grrr lol

  3. $49 minimum! Guess it is all about where you live. $35 here but we do have an amazon warehouse right here.

    Morning rabbit hunt must be Typhoon’s favorite way to start the day. So good of you to help him out.

  4. Mom sez: Living in Canada, we shop a lot on Amazon.ca, and I have the same “ughhhh” for “shipping fees” as you do. I, too, will look for something to make it up to the limit where the shipping is free. Problem is, many times the “whatever I want” is “out-sourced” by Amazon, and if you want it badly enough, you HAVE to pay the shipping.
    I loved reading about your shopping adventure, sat and snickered and giggled all the way through it, with Ebby lying here at my feet, wondering what I was laughing about at 3:00 a.m., when I should be in bed. So, that’s where I’m heading right now, but THANK YOU for ending my “day” with a smile!

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