Why you might want to skip shopping on Amazon Prime Day


Amazon is hosting its annual Prime Day extravaganza on July 15 and 16, and it seems like the Internet is talking about little else. There are countless guides on what to buy and how to shop, bumping up against articles about the Prime Day strike and boycott. It can leave even the most casual consumer struggling to know how to proceed. Shop the sales? Join the boycott?

Perhaps most important to remember: Just because a company markets its annual sale as the biggest thing in summer retail doesn’t mean there aren’t good deals to be had elsewhere — or that it’s necessary to purchase anything at all.

If you’re not a Prime member, or you’re simply overwhelmed by Amazon mania, here are some alternatives.

Shop somewhere else

If there are some items on your must-have list, this week can be a good chance to find significant sales. And not just on Amazon. Dozens of retailers have begun offering their own “Black Friday in July” deals including:

  • Barnes & Noble: 20% off your order
  • Best Buy: Deals on laptops, phones and other technology
  • Macy’s: Deals across clothing, home and more, plus free shipping
  • Target: 40% off select furniture and rugs, plus more
  • Walmart: Deals on electronics, home goods and more

Do some comparison shopping before you hit buy to make sure you’re actually getting the best price. You can also shop at second-hand or thrift stores instead if you’re looking to become a more sustainable shopper, or buy something from a local store in your neighborhood if you want to support a small business.

Don’t buy anything

The simplest alternative to Amazon Prime Day is to ignore it altogether. If you don’t actually need anything, then buying products on Prime Day isn’t really a deal. In fact, Amazon uses a host of behavioral psychology tricks to get consumers to spend, the most important being the fear of missing out, Tom Meyvis, a professor of marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business, told CNBC.

Prime Day is an “exclusive” day of deals for members who pay $119 per year to have access to Prime. But even if you aren’t a member, it can feel unavoidable because details about the event appear to be everywhere.

And within Prime Day, “Lightning Deals,” which are only available for a short amount of time, are meant to encourage impulse shopping. If a “deal” is going to disappear quickly, you don’t have time to really consider whether you need something and what it will add to your life.

Ignoring or unsubscribing from retailer emails over the next few days could end up saving you more money because you won’t be tempted by seeing the so-called deals in your inbox.

If you are thinking about buying something that wasn’t on your radar before Prime Day, consider instituting a 24- or 48-hour freeze before making the purchase. You might miss out on the deal, but chances are if it wasn’t on your shopping list before Monday, you don’t actually need it.

And if you’ve filled up your shopping cart and are getting ready to make the purchase, think of the total in terms of how many hours it would take you to pay it all off. If you earn $1,000 per week and your purchases add up to $200, ask yourself if they’re worth a full day of work. The answer might be no.


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