Random Financial Thoughts

Thoughts or trivial questions about finances go here. Could be some good learnings in here, but it’s not intended to be for big things.

Financial thought: I ordered 3 things off Amazon today. Two of them prompted me to put them on Autoship for 5% off, and one had a special coupon for 25% off with Autoship.

Individually ordered each, then canceled the subscription. All of the items were small, but it saved around $4 for an extra minute of work. I’ve done on larger items to save $4 on a single item.

I do the same thing with Chewy, but there I just leave the subscriptions for every 6 months when I always order more like every 3. Go in, say “ship now”, “set my next shipment to 6 months from now”, repeat. I think that’s also 5% or 10% off as a result.


My opinion, and I know that you disagree, is that it is somewhat immoral to do this, just like the new CC intro award churns.

Is it as bad as armed robbery? No, of course not.

Is it as bad as going to the library and stealing all of the toilet paper out of the restrooms? Yeah, it kinda is the same magnitude, imo. You can argue that the TP is available for puplic use, and your tax dollars paid for it, I guess. But the intent on the library’s part is not to supply you with toiletries. If my kids were doing this, I’d scold them.

These acts are not “financial wisdoms.” They are petty theft - which of course can be profitable.

Petty theft?

Thats a rather odd view.

On my moral compass, these acts point south.

How does this violate T&C? Isn’t that how it is set up?

Not that I’m invested in changing your mind, we can disagree.

Amazon has two things set up here:

  1. Select “Subscribe & Save and get discount”
  2. You may cancel your subscription at any time

Under those rules, I feel moral. I did precisely what they allow, and I’m certain many, many people do exactly this. If they didn’t want that, they would place a penalty on cancelling before an automatic shipment processes. I’m certain Amazon hasn’t let this “slip through the cracks”.

I personally wouldn’t do this for a mom & pop shop simply because I would choose to pay more than required in order to support a business. I don’t think it would be unethical to do so if they allowed this exact process, especially as they are still making a profit or they wouldn’t do it, but I would voluntarily pay more in that case. In the case of Amazon I feel an equal lack of moral guilt, but additionally consider Amazon mildly evil.

I have no issue with this and think Amazon knows most people will do this. I don’t see any deception involved. Amazon wants you to buy stuff and then at least think about buying it again, I’m sure they are happy to have people do this.

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Amazon probably uses it as a ploy anyway and the “real” price was the discounted price.


This is my view as well.

Why is there a change in the morality based on the ownership structure?

Lots of moms and pops own Amazon stock and have their long term financial lifeblood dependent on its success.

Stealing from a corporation is less illegal than stealing from a small business owner?

I also don’t agree with the notion of “Amazon knows that a certain portion of its good will be pilfered and I am just taking a part of that so by stealing I am only helping fulfill its expectations so it’s not really a crime”

I tend to support local, independent businesses over international conglomerates. Usually the independent businesses have a harder time surviving but contribute more directly to the local economy, and even if they didn’t contribute I would rather a fellow member of the community have my $10 than Jeff Bezos.

I definitely think the profit off my $10 will do more good for them than $10 given to Amazon will increase the stock price in a way that benefits those people.

I don’t think it’s okay to steal because others are. I don’t think it’s stealing. I am moderately confident that Amazon has people analyzing customer behavior and I believe they’re aware that people cancel their subscriptions.

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I think you may be falling for the marketing?

They do the same thing in Black friday sales.

“Hey look, its 50% off a massively inflated price…”

Yeah, I have to disagree.

Stealing $1 from a small business with a $1000 inventory of goods is the same crime as stealing $1 from a goliath that has 100B in goods like AMZN.

That, I’ll fully agree with.

Can you demonstrate how this is theft? I send them the agreed upon money for the product, they ship it to me, … stealing part goes here?, …, profit?


I don’t want to malign @DeepPurple but I’m assuming the thought is along the lines of, I have entered into an agreement (albeit not a contract) to continue to pay for the product over time, and I’m not doing that.

I would contend that Amazon has a pre-determined way to cancel that agreement at any time I choose, which is immediately.

I don’t see it as different than signing up for a free trial and not eventually purchasing the product, except that in this case the company still got profit. Or more analogously, I’m given a discount for the duration I continue to pay for a product that I decide not to pay for anymore.

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It speaks to intent. Technically allowed, but the intent is not to do this…or so it would seem. In practice, there’s a good chance that the intent is to buy then cancel the subscription, and hey aren’t we all so smart for figuring out a loophole.

I had something similiar in life insurance. Policies available, but only through conversion from a term policy. It’s not available retail. So…we buy a term policy and immediately do a conversion. Thus avoiding the ‘not for retail’ intent apparently. But I called two life insurance companies on this to confirm what their thoughts were on doing this. Both said go ahead, it’s expected and allowed in the rules, so therefore it’s allowed and accepted.


This reminds me of a question on a behavioral survey that a company would ask an applicant to take.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking A SINGLE free trial and then deciding the product does not suit your needs.

I think there is something wrong with continually using free trial after free trial after free trial to get the product for an extended time and not paying for it.

Agreeing to a multideal purchase that includes a discount is more like the latter than the former, if your intention was to immediately cancel after the initial purchase.