Online shopping deadlines near, Free Shipping Day arrives
You don't need to panic yet if you haven't finished -- or started -- online shopping for any holiday presents. But you should have "Panic now!" on your calendar in the next day or two.
At Amazon, the nation's largest online retailer, Sunday the 19th is your last day to order and get free "super saver shipping" with delivery promised by the 25th.
(My own experience suggests that's always been a conservative estimate. Most recently, when I ordered some printer ink cartridges on Dec. 6, they arrived on the 10th.)
Other retailers allow chronic procrastinators even more time. At the Apple Store, you have until the 20th to get free shipping by Christmas in most categories -- but in a few, such as custom-order Mac Mini and Mac Pro desktop computers, the clock ran out yesterday. Other built-to-order Macs must be ordered today.
At Best Buy, your order turns into a pumpkin, as far as standard shipping goes, after 11 a.m. Eastern on Tuesday the 21st.
If you've bought a gift locally and need to get it in the mail, the Postal Service lists Monday as your last day to send it by first-class mail, Tuesday if you use Priority Mail. But if that present is going to a soldier overseas, you have until tomorrow to ship it at best -- and that's only if you ante up for express delivery.
There's another reason to get your online purchases over with today: 1,721 merchants list an offer of free shipping with delivery by Christmas on the Free Shipping Day site, more than double the 735 stores that participated in this campaign last year. The FSD site also offers a useful list of the deadlines of dozens of merchants, although it has yet to be updated to reflect Amazon's extension.
What's your online shipping experience been this year? Any retailers you now avoid because they didn't meet their pledges? How close do you plan to cut things? (Please, no snarky -- if earned -- comments from my editors about my deadline habits.)
(Revised at 9:36 a.m. with a link to our holiday gift guide)
| December 17, 2010; 9:08 AM ET
Categories: Shopping, Tips
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