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The Fabric Game

Do you ever buy an item online and proceed to checkout, only to find that if you just added $5 to your cart, you’d get free shipping? Then you realize that if shipping costs $7, of course(!) it makes sense to scrounge around for a low priced item. It’s a fun game, right? But by doing so, you find so many things(!) and end up doubling your total – which you knew very well would happen.

On the up-side, you’ve easily earned that free shipping.

This happened to us (edit: me) as I spent a ridiculous amount of time on, with the goal being to purchase 1 yard of white vinyl for our $2 chair. We agreed that we liked the charm in the “patina” metal legs, so we nixed any ideas of painting the black frame. Rather, we’d keep it clean and simple, giving it a white seat (we got this one) with a refinished, dark wood back.

But after learning upon checkout that I could get free shipping with a $25 purchase (my own fault, after finding a promo code on Retail Me Not), I decided to browse punchy fabrics for new pillow covers; in the end, we landed on this one. After all, since we want to feel things like light and airy with our living room tweaks, we know ourselves well enough to know that we’ll want a little kick in the room. (We’re thinking the standouts will be fun, fresh art and playful textiles.)

And when that still didn’t come close to the $25 minimum, I asked Scott if we should just move forward with upholstering our lovely chair, you know, for down the road. It’s been years since we picked it up on Craigslist, and man, it needs work. So, I added 4 yards of a thick, grey canvas to the basket.

The total? $35. Shipping’s on them, but we know they really won the game.

Of course now we’re not completely sold on the grey we’ve chosen – it’s super strong, but the soft cotton is just waiting for the first wine spill – so we have a few more samples on the way (like this rhino canvas or this self-healing velvet, perfect for kitty claws). Ah, well.

You play this game too, right?

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  • Do I EVER play that game! “Free shipping” is my kryptonite. I love the Ikat!ReplyCancel

  • Of course! I basically won’t order anything online unless I can get free shipping. It’s ridiculous.

    I love your “lovely chair”!!ReplyCancel

  • Kim8.2.12 - 10:05 AM

    Shopping on Amazon, I’m always $5 short of free shipping with items I need, but then end up spending $20-30 more with things I’ve always wanted but never got around to buying… I just can’t bring myself to pay for shipping though when I can just spend a liiitttle bit more for something I can actually hold.ReplyCancel

  • Kalli8.2.12 - 1:35 PM

    Oh God, I fall into that Amazon trap too, every time. Offering free shipping is a huge sway for me – I’ve spent thousands at one of the jewelry supply companies I order from, in large part because they offer free shipping on absolutely ANY ORDER, even if your order is for a single 10 cent bead.

    The strange thing is, every time I do a sale in my Etsy shop where I offer free shipping (as long as people input a code upon checkout), hardly any customers bother to use the code, most of them ignore it and go ahead and pay for shipping. That showed me that for every careful shopper out there who comparison shops and hunts for coupon codes, there are 2-3 who don’t bother to read anything you tell them, even though it’s to their benefit.ReplyCancel

  • Great choices! I totally do that, too. Very clever, marketing department. But I like to think we all win then. But that’s one really great thing about Overstock. I can buy anything and ship it for 3 bucks. I think more companies should adopt this way of thinking. :)ReplyCancel

  • Jimmy8.2.12 - 10:10 PM

    We joined Amazon Prime a while back, which gets you free shipping on most items. We got a free membership through the Amazon Mom program for new parents, and when it expired we just kept it going. We shop online way too much to worry about shipping. It definitely works out in our favor.ReplyCancel

  • Tosha8.6.12 - 5:29 PM

    This is so funny! This was basically me all weekend! I just ordered a bunch of fabric from too! That free shipping thing totally gets me every time. Love your fabric choices!ReplyCancel

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We’re Kim + Scott, Chicago based content creators behind the Home + Lifestyle brand Yellow Brick Home.

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