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In Defense of the Amazon.com Prime Rate Hike

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No one wants to pay more for anything. That's been true since the dawn of commerce. I'm pretty sure some caveman grunted his begrudging dissatisfaction when the guy who sold sticks of fire raised his price from one dead rat to two, but if he wanted fire, he ponied up the critter.

The fact is, anyone who is signed up for Amazon.com's Prime service and ships even a handful of packages every year is getting a deal. If you use the streaming video service or the free e-books, you're probably saving a decent amount of cash.

There is naturally grousing when a service you've had for years changes its pricing. Every time the cost of a stamp goes up, you would think the postal service had just shot a kitten. I understand that an increasing cost of anything you use with regularity is a pain, but Amazon's Prime service is not a necessity. This is not a 30 percent price increase for a gallon of milk. This is a $20 per year (less than $2 a month or about half of what you likely pay every day at Starbucks) bump after four years of stability.

But even if that is enough to drive you from the service, perhaps think about the advantages you have with it. If the average package is $5, only four things purchased from Amazon equals that increase. If you're smart and do the bulk of your general Christmas shopping online, chances are that a fair amount of it is done through Amazon. People are using it for their birthday and wedding registries. It's damn convenient for $100 a year.

The best part is that it isn't mandatory. There are plenty of other options for streaming movies and TV, from Netflix and Hulu to Apple TV and cable service providers. If you don't want to buy from Amazon, you can take your money elsewhere or you can opt for the cheapest shipping possible.

I just have a hard time justifying the kind of vitriol posted on Amazon forums over 20 bucks. People who spend money on Amazon are not on government support. If you have time to bitch about $20 on an Internet shopping website forum, you certainly can afford to pay for it, especially considering the money you probably save every year with that rather paltry sum.

So just accept the price hike with grace and dignity, and remember when you buy that next mochaccino and blueberry scone that you wasted more money in one morning that you will in about a month of Amazon Prime membership dues.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

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