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A SWAT for an offer that’s really not

Submitted by on Thursday, 18 November 2010 No Comment

I know drugstores.com. Know it well, in fact, since moving to Fort Irwin, a place where even over-the-counter kids medications can be hard to come by.

Several times a year I load up the cybercart with the guys’ favorite vitamin supplements and few disgusting shades of nail polish. Sometimes I’ll add a few other products to reach the magic $49 level that triggers free shipping. That’s not hard to do, by the way. One of their supplements is $16 for a bottle of 190. Throw in a few bottles of hyperallergenic sunblock and we’re there.

So imagine my shock this week when drugstores.com apparently sent out an email touting free shipping to military addresses on orders of $49 or more. A prominent military blogger even bit on it, touting it as a “holiday perk.” I’ll forgive her – her husband is stationed at a base that’s not 31 miles away from the nearest Wal Mart, so she probably didn’t know.

I will not, however, forgive drugstores.com for basically taking an offer that’s existed since at least April 2010 that I know of, slapping on an “order by” date and billing it as a benefit for those with loved ones in the military. It’s not at all – at least, no more so than what’s offered the other 364 days of the year.

It’s actually quite easy these days to find free shipping to APO/FPO/DPO addresses. Most merchants that offer free shipping include military addresses as well. Why wouldn’t they? It doesn’t cost them any more because it’s a domestic postage rate.

There are exceptions that appear to be based on what will clear customs. Amazon won’t ship electronics, furniture, food or a few more items though otherwise you can take advantage of Super Saver shipping. Target has similar restrictions for what it can ship overseas, though its $50-and-free offer applies just the same as it does stateside. I’ve managed, though, to send everything from pillows to posters to Afghanistan and Kuwait with no problem.

You want a genuine shipping deal? Go to Hickory Farms, where a variety of packages ship for free to APO addresses. No purchase minimum, no ginned-up “offer.” Granted, the selection is small, but that appears to be based in part on in-country shipping restrictions. Personally, I appreciate not having to wade through the whole site to figure that out.

As for anyone else who thinks they’re going to trick us with “holiday offers” that aren’t – I’m looking at you, Drugstores.com – Stop Wasting America’s Time by promoting a “special” shipping deal that’s nothing but pure marketing flimflammery.

Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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