Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

Amazon is providing free delivery to Israel but this comes at a hefty price

Great (free) publicity in the media for Amazon declaring it’s ‘temporarily’ giving free delivery ‘for 50 million eligible items’ when shipped to Israel if one purchases above $49. Sounds too good to be true? It is.

Amazon doesn’t give away at its state-of-the-art website which are these ’50 million eligible items.’ Only when you get to checkout, it will specify if your items are ‘eligible.’ They will also pre-charge you for VAT (over $75) and customs (over $500). This all makes everything very efficient and transparent. Yet, how to profit from free delivery to Israel stays elusive.

I’ll give you an example.

I fancy a nice book produced in the US, not available in Israel in any store. What’s more compact and suitable for free delivery? I don’t care if I’ll get it in a week, a month or three months. Only, the price should be good.

The book costs $76.29. That’s quite a price but it’s for quite a book.

I thought I’ll drop in another item for $17.99. What would that cost me?

Delivery costs – gasp – $50 to $100, depending on how quickly I want it.

Gotto be kidding. I’ll drop the small item. Delivery costs: half of it. That’s nice but not free. That’s a third to two thirds on top of the book’s price.

Also, VAT comes in because it’s ($1.29) over $75. If really concerned with their Israeli customer, they’d sell the book to Israel for 74.99.

I decided to chat with them – free! Quite a search to find the chart button.

I am told that for free delivery, I need not to order from their website but directly from their Book Depository. Not mentioned in the news. There, no shipping costs and no VAT! But I need to enter again all personal details.

However, this still doesn’t work as well as it should. The book at the Amazon site is sold for a bargain price of NIS 272.93 (plus 102.96 shipping, totaling 375.89 before 68.87 VAT) but at the Amazon Book Depository for a whopping NIS 355.92, apparently without discount, without shipping and VAT. That is NIS 102.96 less shipping but NIS 75.99 more for the book.

Time for a new chat.

I wrote: I wanted to order a book from Amazon with free delivery to Israel. In a previous chat with Amazon, I was told for free delivery to order it from the Book Depository. Now I see that the $25 delivery costs disappeared but the book is now $20 more expensive. That doesn’t help much. It will even make me pay more VAT. Is there anything I can do to get the price from the Amazon website without delivery costs? Their answer: Sadly, we cannot offer the same price, we are two different websites.

So, in Israel, I’d need to pay for a $75 book about $20 plus 17% VAT extra instead of $25 shipping. I understand the trick but can’t appreciate it. It’s six of one and half a dozen of the other. There is no such thing as a free lunch and no such thing as an Amazon free delivery to Israel.

On slightly related news, the owner of Amazon has now decided that the field of contenders of the Democratic Primary race for 2020 isn’t pleasing him. He has asked his little brother Bloomberg to do something about it.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach and lehavdiel bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff and Rav Meir Lubin. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, GLBTQAI, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quit a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. November 13, 2018, he published his 500st blog post with the ToI. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * NEW: To see other blog posts by him, his overspill blog you can reach by clicking on the Website icon next to his picture at the head of every post. There you may find precursors to later TOI blog posts, addition or corrections of published TOI blog posts, blog posts the TOI will not carry and some thoughts that are too short to be a TOI blog post. Also, the TOI only allows for one blog post per blogger per 24 hours. Sometimes, he has more to say than that. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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