Use a Fake Baby to Save Money With Your Amazon Shopping

A blog about business and economics.
Dec. 16 2013 12:19 PM

How to Save Money on Amazon With a Fake Baby

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You need a real baby to pull this off. Amazon Mom discounts, not so much.

Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

Amazon has a program called Amazon Mom that's a pretty neat way to save some money on common household items. But here's the thing. It turns out you don't need to be a mom to sign up. You don't need to be a dad, either. You just need to be a liar. Enrolling in Amazon Mom requires you to offer up some information about your baby, but there's no verification involved whatsoever. You just type in some made-up stuff and suddenly your fake baby is getting you some sweet discounts.

Here's the deal. Suppose you're an Amazon Prime member. If you are, then you perhaps know about Subscribe & Save. With Subscribe & Save, you get a monthly delivery date, and you order various Subscribe & Save items to be scheduled for delivery to your house on a regular basis. That could be once a month, or once every two months, or once every three or four or five or six months. You just need a schedule. You save 5 percent on your Subscribe & Save items relative to the list price, due to the greater convenience for Amazon of scheduled deliveries and presumably due to their hope that you'll overpurchase. Even better, on any month where you have at least five Subscribe & Save items coming to your house, you get a 15 percent discount. So right now I'm on various schedules for delivery of dried pasta, Zevia sodas (delicious if you've never tried them), counter spray, paper towels, toilet paper, laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, artificial sweetener, Kashi bars, tea bags, hand soap, dish soap, and beans.

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That's enough stuff that there should be at least five items in every monthly bundle. Nice savings.

But if you join Amazon Mom, those savings get kicked up a notch to 20 percent. And there's no monthly fee and no extra commitment to buy stuff. You just need to tell Amazon some stuff about your baby—birthday and such—presumably so they can target you with baby-related offers. Except your baby can be fake. My baby, Tim Duncan Crawford, named after my wife's favorite basketball player and given her surname, was born on Dec. 14. Except he's just a lie I created to get cheaper soap.

Amazon is obviously aware that they've left this loophole wide open. I wonder if publicizing it will lead them to close it. But either way, if you're a Subscribe & Save user, you should sign yourself up with a fake baby. Even if you have a real baby, a fake one might be better if you don't want too many targeted deals.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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