I like Amazon’s wishlist system, I really do. It’s a nice tool for rough collaborative filtering, by letting me see things my friends are interested in, and I even like Amazon’s power to tell me when friends have upcoming birthdays.
About once a month I buy something for a friend, off their wishlist, for their upcoming birthday, and in the past, it’s worked out really well. With the gigantic influx of birthdays happening in the next two months (apparently the holiday festivities between thanksgiving and xmas are optimum times to procreate), I’ve bought three gifts for friends this month already, and the process has been less than ideal. The first gift, noted for it’s “shipping in 2-3 days” availability was ordered a week before a birthday, with 2nd day air attached to make sure the birthday boy had his birthday gift on his birthday. It shipped 9 days after his birthday, and still hasn’t shown up as of five days later. Two day air, my ass.
I learned my lesson on that one, so I made sure to order the next birthday gift early, doing so over two weeks before the person’s date.
Note a few things here (some bits are blurred to protect the possibility of the birthday person reading it), namely: ordered on the 12th, both items ship within 24 hours. Even though super saver shipping was ordered (adding 5-9 days which I knew about, but hey, I had over two weeks to spare), they project shipment to occur 16 days after it was ordered. That’s a full week over their top estimate of 9 days.
Amazon, if you’re going to claim free shipping adds a few days, at least warn people that sometimes it can add over two weeks to a delivery time so I won’t miss more birthdays due to it (this would be two this month).
This also reminds me once again that it would be useful to start a site chronicling all the things Amazon is doing wrong (even though 99% of what they do is great, they’ve been slipping in the past couple years). I can think of several major interface changes they’ve done to their site that I have no doubt lowers their sales.