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The shameless pursuit of discounts
December 29, 2013 1:29 PM   Subscribe

How To Save Money On Amazon With a Fake Baby.
posted by jason's_planet (67 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Teacher, didn't you forget to give us homew..."

/whole class throws erasers at the obnoxious guy
posted by threeants at 1:35 PM on December 29, 2013 [19 favorites]


At first I thought this comes down to conscience as to do you or don't you set up a fake baby but then again with some people, the extra discount can make a marked difference to their shopping.

Many shops in the UK allow or add 10% to the price of all goods to cover shoplifting, wastage etc. so maybe the fake babay loophole is covered as part of a similar margin.

On the business side of things, there are lots of discount websites... but, are there many loophole websites? An opportunity for someone?
posted by aaronadams at 1:41 PM on December 29, 2013


Well, it would be discriminatory to only release a discount if you could prove that you had a child, right? I don't think that's fair. So, it's good you can sign up for this no matter what.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:42 PM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


To save an extra 5% off more trinkets, I'm off to get pregnant invent a fake baby on amazon....
posted by Wolfster at 1:42 PM on December 29, 2013


My conscience is utterly untroubled at the thought of setting up a fake baby.

However, I tried to do Amazon Subscribe & Save and got completely paralyzed. Either I have a particular brand of things that I like, in which case they never had just that particular brand on offer, or I buy whatever brand is on sale, in which case I couldn't figure out which kind I liked enough to commit to buying it every time. And then it seemed like everything I wanted was an add-on, and I wasn't sure I could find enough non-add-on items to make an order. I think it's less stressful just to go to the grocery store when I run out of stuff.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:47 PM on December 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Amazon probably figures that if you're willing to lie for an extra 5% off, you'll probably buy lots of stuff from them with that discount. More volume means more money, even at a lower margin.
posted by double block and bleed at 1:51 PM on December 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Plus, the more people use Amazon, the more Amazon gets the reputation as being The Only Online Store For Everything. I figure stuff like this is promotional, it was never intended to make money directly.
posted by The Whelk at 1:53 PM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Postscript: Amazon officially doesn't care.
posted by blue suede stockings at 1:53 PM on December 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


I was there, it's Fake Baby.
posted by Sphinx at 1:55 PM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Isn't this just another example of price discrimination? Amazon is happy to sell you a bunch of stuff at n% discount and also happy to sell you a bunch of stuff at (n+5)% discount. If they can keep non-parents buying in the first category, that's great from their perspective, while if it it takes the higher discount to make the sale for some, then all those people have to do is make up a fake baby. People who care about the extra 5% will self-select into the higher discount category and those who don't really mind won't waste mental energy making up a fake child. Just a little speed bump to keep pricing as advantageous for Amazon as possible.

This is the same principle that applies to all kinds of discounts, coupons, sales, etc.
posted by ssg at 1:57 PM on December 29, 2013


Just wait until Amazon gets webcam enabled...

Amazon Clippy: "It looks like you're writing a letter having a baby. Would you like some help with that?"
posted by Lanark at 1:59 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


At my local drugstore you just add your email to the 'parent' email list to get extra coupons mailed out. So I signed up for the New Baby list because in addition to the diaper and formula coupons, it gives coupons for shampoo, toothpaste and Tylenol/Advil.
posted by variella at 2:00 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


counterpoint
posted by threeants at 2:03 PM on December 29, 2013


This would be a great test case for Immanuel Kant categorical imperative. Other than that I don't know because it's hard for me to picture anybody but Immanuel Kant giving a shit. (My favorite question in those old discussions was do you really think Immanuel Kant belived this stuff?)
posted by bukvich at 2:09 PM on December 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Amazon only cares that you buy stuff. The details are unimportant.
posted by odinsdream at 2:10 PM on December 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


We have babies.
posted by The Whelk at 2:18 PM on December 29, 2013 [13 favorites]


You gotta be careful about this stuff. A few years ago I needed to sign up for some parental websites for my job, and I was immediately deluged with piles of parent magazines and boxes of sample baby formula and stuff. Somehow these bastards tracked down my home address, and as a "new parent" I represented an irresistable demographic. The waste was kind of staggering.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:19 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Even having a fake baby feels like too much responsibility.
posted by Caskeum at 2:24 PM on December 29, 2013 [81 favorites]


What I got from that counterpoint is that the author really, really doesn't like Matt Yglesias. I'm not sure how it's relevant to those of us who aren't trust fund libertarians or whatever it is that he's accusing Matt Yglesias of being, though. This year I went without a working car for six months in a town with pretty crappy public transit: I'm pretty sure I can go head-to-head with many "harried parents" in terms of discounted mail-order being a "blessing." No offense.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:31 PM on December 29, 2013 [9 favorites]


Suggested Retail Prices are just invitations for best offers. Special deals are there to confuse the buyer into thinking he's pulled a fast one. Suckered again!

That said, I'm starchy enough to dislike anything that encourages lying for personal advantage. Vices become habits and all that.
posted by IndigoJones at 2:35 PM on December 29, 2013


Alternatively, nominate a cat and neglect to mention the species.
posted by acb at 2:36 PM on December 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


I just discussed this with my wife. Turns out that (a) we are not even ready for a fake baby; and (b) interesting times are ahead when it's time to pick a name. Thanks, Amazon!
posted by tamanche_pe_disco at 2:39 PM on December 29, 2013 [17 favorites]


roomthreeseventeen:
Well, it would be discriminatory to only release a discount if you could prove that you had a child, right? I don't think that's fair. So, it's good you can sign up for this no matter what.
As I understand it, you're allowed to discriminate, just not against a protected class (e.g., race, sex, too old, etc.). But I could be wrong and this could just be Amazon's way of skirting the law, by marketing to a demographic but allowing anyone to join.
posted by Brian Puccio at 2:44 PM on December 29, 2013


Just wait until Amazon gets webcam enabled...

Even worse: "It looks like you're making a baby. Would you like some help with that?"
posted by Horace Rumpole at 2:45 PM on December 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


I've had a fake baby for years and I'm just now hearing about this benefit?
posted by orme at 2:54 PM on December 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Alternatively, nominate a cat and neglect to mention the species.

Best idea evar.

Actually, Amazon should already do this if you have a kitten, a puppy, or an iguana.

Buncha speciesists.
posted by BlueHorse at 2:59 PM on December 29, 2013


Well, my cat signed up. And then my Facebook friend called me "lame and pathetic" for taking advantage of a discount that I am legally entitled to. So, there's that.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:26 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is the discount additive? Cats can have quite a few babies in one shot!
posted by sammyo at 3:28 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Subscribe & Save is an unreliable program that has caused more last-minute emergency trips all over town to get the only litter my cat will use, no store seems to stock on a reliable basis, and the gods of Amazon have decreed can never be available for overnight shipping.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:32 PM on December 29, 2013


Why stop at neglecting to mention real species? Baby Ambassador Kabe Ischloear is a bouncing ten-foot pyramid of joy.
posted by emmtee at 3:33 PM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Manschusen By Amazon.
posted by The Whelk at 3:39 PM on December 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


My fake baby is real, but he's Canadian (like me), so this doesn't apply to me.
posted by blue_beetle at 3:43 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


My fake baby is real, but he's Canadian (like me)

I'm not sure I even believe in Canada, much less your fake baby.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 3:48 PM on December 29, 2013 [9 favorites]


It looks like Amazon officially doesn't care, but here's something that everybody really ought to be taught in school: sometimes you fill things out and you tell a little untruth for whatever reason - you understate or overstate your age, or you claim a degree you never completed, or whatever. And most times you get away with it. But then some day something entirely unrelated goes wrong and a lawyer or an immigration officer or a tax auditor is looking at that document, and finds the discrepancy. And now you're not just a liar, but possibly someone who made a false statement on an official record, and it may turn out that the silly penalties that nobody ever pays attention to will actually be applied to you, or your lie will be used as justification for some discretion, like refusing you a visa. So this is something to keep in mind: making false statements can be very dangerous, and if you ever want to do it, think long and hard before you go ahead with it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:53 PM on December 29, 2013 [10 favorites]


Joe in Australia, the Amazon Mom form you fill out does not even ask you to be related to the fake child. There's an "other" category.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:59 PM on December 29, 2013


Yeah, given that the language explicitly says "Amazon Mom is open to anyone, whether you're a mom, dad, grandparent or caretaker," I'm pretty sure that nobody is going to be denied a visa on the basis of lying. Even if they would go after you, which they wouldn't because that's silly, if you ever babysit, you could call yourself a "caretaker." But nice try.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:17 PM on December 29, 2013


I'm pretty sure that nobody is going to be denied a visa on the basis of lying.

If you hang out with people who regularly need visas you will find that is not the case. The last time I had to go through it our whole file was examined meticulously, document by document, including supporting evidence like photos and invoices.

But nice try.

I am unmasked; my plot to something or other is undone. Anyway, did you see the bit where I specifically acknowledged that Amazon doesn't care? Hint: first clause of the first sentence. I'm talking about the general case: a casual attitude towards this sort of thing can come back and bite you.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:30 PM on December 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


When Amazon next rolls out the "People without Child" discount program, these people will have to either create a new Amazon account... or kill off their fake babies.
posted by applesurf at 4:37 PM on December 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


When Amazon next rolls out the "People without Child" discount program, these people will have to either create a new Amazon account... or kill off their fake babies.

An Amazon Marketplace ad for unworn baby shoes should suffice, I think.
posted by acb at 4:41 PM on December 29, 2013 [13 favorites]


Well, my cat signed up. And then my Facebook friend called me "lame and pathetic"

Eesh, with friends like that, who needs fake babies?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:48 PM on December 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


As has been noted, Amazon can't possibly be too upset about fake babies, because those fake-parents are still customers, and the point of the Amazon Mom (grumble grumble dads exist too you know) system isn't to reward parents per se but rather to encourage spending lots of money on Amazon.

But, also, imagine how this would be enforced, if it were going to be. The PR side of "Amazon demanded a copy of my baby's birth certificate" is potentially a huge blowback, whereas "A few people invented fake babies and are now spending lots of money on amazon" is, at worst, some good publicity for the program.
posted by Tomorrowful at 4:56 PM on December 29, 2013


Great. I signed up with my fake baby and now I'm getting all these marketing emails from Amazon with subject lines like "AJ, is it time for another baby?" and "AJ, here are some babies other people are conceiving" and "AJ, save up to 30% off IVF."
posted by mudpuppie at 4:59 PM on December 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


How is babby faked?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:06 PM on December 29, 2013 [20 favorites]


Man, that Gawker guy seems really, really angry.
posted by Mezentian at 5:31 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


The PR side of "Amazon demanded a copy of my baby's birth certificate"

Gives a whole new meaning to the term Birther.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:50 PM on December 29, 2013


What's a childless person need so many diapers for, anyway?

Oh, god...
posted by dirigibleman at 5:54 PM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was sitting here weighing the pros and cons of making up a fake baby for these purposes, getting so lost in the various philosophical minutiae that I forgot that I have two real live actual children.
posted by KathrynT at 6:03 PM on December 29, 2013 [52 favorites]


Now I'm picturing a surge of things like: People with babies like yours also bought Acme cat litter.

As I understand it, you're allowed to discriminate, just not against a protected class (e.g., race, sex, too old, etc.)

It doesn't have to meet the legal definition to alienate people. If there's no barrier to entry they could easily say Hey, need diapers? Amazon now discounts them 10% off our already low prices.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:12 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


"All I said was, our son ... the apple of our three eyes, Martha being a Cyclops ... our son is a bean-bag, and you get testy!"

Buy together and save: * Beanie Babies [TM] "Cy Clops" toy. * The Collected Essays of Virginia Woolf (Virginia Woolf).
posted by Westringia F. at 9:24 PM on December 29, 2013


If I get attached to some product and the discount, will I keep having more fake babies? Should I mentally track the babies' ages to sign up for the inevitable Toddlers, Kids, and Teens programs? Note to self to remember to ask for a discount on my favorite flavor of Pop Tarts for when dear, imaginary little Stoat Jr. turns 4 or so.

Sounds simpler to just pay the normal price.
posted by Stoatfarm at 10:12 PM on December 29, 2013


They already know if you have a baby. That kind of data mining is passe now.

Now whether or not you're a lying cheapskate, that might be a useful thing to put in a database for later.
posted by ctmf at 11:13 PM on December 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


One important point that deserves greater emphasis is the fact that Amazon Mom is an extension of Amazon Prime. Beyond the initial three-month free Mom period, Mom discounts will only continue with the purchase of Prime at the usual $79 annual rate. Which means one has to buy enough to make the cost of the program worthwhile. Which is why Amazon doesn't care who enrolls in Mom. Spending to save isn't saving. Since I am cheap and refuse to pay for Prime, the whole fake-baby dilemma and indeed the entire hullabaloo are moot.
posted by ancienteyes at 1:51 AM on December 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm now the proud Other Caregiver of Bingington Waddlesworth III, who will be born Wednesday morning and whose gender I don't know.
posted by nathancaswell at 6:08 AM on December 30, 2013


Freeform, go nuts.
posted by The Whelk at 6:56 AM on December 30, 2013


Freeform, go ovaries.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:30 AM on December 30, 2013


So... govaries?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:32 AM on December 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Someday the government is going to be sending you notices asking why your fake baby hasn't registered for the draft.

When I was a teenager I made up a fake travel agency in order to get free travel posters. Many, many years later my mother still gets mail for the fake travel agency.
posted by interplanetjanet at 11:08 AM on December 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bingington Waddlesworth III is a conscientious objector.
posted by nathancaswell at 11:25 AM on December 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Enjoy it while you can. In The Glorious Future baby will have to get an implant before you can save 200 Bitcoins on your purchase of Soylent Green.
posted by nowhere man at 2:29 PM on December 30, 2013


i was gonna have a fake baby with my girlfriend but we couldn't decide what to name it so it died
posted by klangklangston at 11:20 PM on December 30, 2013


Sooooooo, Amazon seems quite utterly aware of the realities of the potential ramifications of their business decision. Um, surprise. With the business acumen?

threeants: "counterpoint"

Oh sweet jebus poseurism. There is a legitimate criticism for making up an imaginary baby to score a little more of a benefit through your Amazon Prime account, but imagining that it's personally taking discounted pasta out of the mouths of poorer children is not really understanding the business model at play here. And calling the villainy of Mr. Yglesias out in such personal terms, especially in the guise of being some sort of act of social justice, just sounds pathetic.
posted by desuetude at 11:43 PM on December 30, 2013


i was gonna have a fake baby with my girlfriend but we couldn't decide what to name it so it died

You have to crack the window in the car while you're at the casino for unreal babies as well as unreal dogs. Don't you know anything about unparenting?
posted by Mezentian at 4:41 AM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mezentian: "Man, that Gawker guy seems really, really angry."

No kidding: But the rich privileged rentier class of child-free Beltway dipshits, fortuitously, has Matt Yglesias. This guy is clearly shooting for a job at Fox...

Stop shitting on my city, and the people in it who are too poor to have kids.

There are rentiers here, but for the most part, they're not young or childless.
posted by schmod at 8:39 AM on December 31, 2013


Well, isn't this just another fine way for Welfare Queens to exploit the system! Before you know it, one of them's going to be ordering a Cadillac at a 20% discount!
posted by Len at 11:01 AM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Even worse: "It looks like you're making a baby. Would you like some help with that?"

Just select Super Saver delivery. You will have years to get ready.
posted by srboisvert at 4:05 PM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Stop shitting on my city, and the people in it who are too poor to have kids.

It is possible that your city has issues. I am not sure why you think I was having a go at your city (which I assume is Washington?), I'm just pointing out he seems really angry for some reason. Irrationally so.

And I do irrational so well.
posted by Mezentian at 3:34 AM on January 1


I was immediately deluged with piles of parent magazines and boxes of sample baby formula and stuff

We did this to a friend (with no significant other, much less any child) during freshman year of college. Basically all it took was a 15 minute trip to the magazine section of Barnes and Noble where we pulled every response post card we could from every parenting / baby magazine they had. We filled them all out with his name and mailbox address.

He spent his first 2-3 years of undergrad being completely deluged by baby related mail, boxes of formula (huge boxes of multiple cans of the stuff, at least once a month), bottles, you name it. Incredibly weird for him every time he would check his mail.

In the end it did him a favor, he started dating one of the girls who worked the package counter of the mail hall where he had to pick up his endless baby deliveries.
posted by allkindsoftime at 5:52 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


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