We got Amazon Prime a couple of years ago while my husband was doing graduate school because it was WAY cheaper as a student. And it kind of changed our Amazon buying habits. We definitely bought more and more impulsively because it will just show up so reliably at our house. So we kept it when it went full price, and we will probably now keep doing it. I am sure we are saving money on shipping, but they are probably making more money on us by selling us more things. Things I never would've thought about buying before Prime (like when we moved and the grocery store we use carries only one kind of arborio rice which I do not like and is very expensive, I ordered a case of my favorite arborio rice from amazon because of Prime).
The widget is faulty in that it rates based on your ordering stats for the previous calendar year. I got my Prime membership in October, then started ordering like a mad beast. Last year, I ordered a total of 20 items -- in 2014 so far I have ordered more than that. We're getting ready to move in a few weeks to a bigger place, where I'm going to have a home office/studio (which I haven't had since moving to NYC), so I had to get all that stuff, and it was all shipped free: Desk, studio monitors, stands for the monitors and my DAW controller, guitar wall hooks, all that stuff: shipped free. That's not to say that Amazon Prime eats all of those costs — for instance, if you try to order an IKEA product from Amazon you will find that the shipping costs are in the MSRP already, when you compare it to the price of picking up the furniture at IKEA — but for my purposes it worked out great.Also, Prime has been getting AGGRESSIVE about adding some new stuff that Netflix and Hulu aren't touching. In particular, the excellent first season of Hannibal is available, as well as the Americans. While I hate pricehikes on annual memberships in general, they're stepping up their game so I will probably pony up.
I'll consider it, honestly, when they start offering a per-month subscription fee. $99 is a pretty good chunk all at once.
I realize the streaming catalogs don't directly compare (though like Paul, I find plenty that I like in Prime streaming), but I look at the $99 price point this way: If we had Netflix or Hulu Plus, we'd be paying $8/month, or $96 annually. AND we're also getting free shipping on most of what we order from Amazon (which, aside from the stuff we buy for ourselves, is our go-to for birthday/Hanukkah gifts for the extended family). So for us, at least, it's still a no-brainer, although it used to be a $20-better no-brainer.
Yep- we look at it the same way- used to cost less than a year of netflix (and now a little more). Still a good deal in my book. (plus amazon has the Nick jr shows that our little one watches.) However, I am aware that we *spend* more money at amazon because of the free two-day shipping. We used to think carefully about our orders- adding and subtracting things until we got the "free shipping on orders over $25", now we just order things when the whim strikes. Prime shipping has almost made impulse shopping on amazon a thing.
Wait, you can order Ikea stuff from Amazon?
At our house it has definitely made impulse shopping online a thing. A book/cd sounds interesting, ordered! I think I maybe kinda sorta need a quilting/sewing notion, ordered!
Ikea offers stuff through Amazon Prime at an inflated price that covers their standard shipping costs: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=bl_sr_kitchen?ie=UTF8&field-brandtextbin=Ikea&node=284507
We buy so much stuff through our Prime membership that we refer to getting stuff from "Amazon Claus." Suffice it to say, I did not need the widget, though I appreciate the thought.
I'm not even sure what the debate is. There is a service that will let me hit a button and have anything in the whole world I want delivered to my door for free. I would get that at 5 times the price. Sometime I feel like Amazon Prime delivers stuff before I ordered it. It makes me feel like a goddamned patriot. Groceries, vitamins, TVs, toys, books, etc., and some free movies? Awesome, awesome. There are no days that something isn't delivered at home or the office. For free!