Originally Posted by ArcaneXor
Many vendors offer flat-rate shipping these days.
Yeah, but they build it into the sales price instead. Try comparing prices at Midwest or Rebel Brewer (neither of which does flat rate shipping) with Austin Home Brew or Northern Brewer (both of which do) and you'll see lower prices pretty much across the board at the first two. If you go ahead and create a cart with the same whole order with each and include shipping, you'll see that the TOTAL price with shipping ends up pretty similar. When I tried this, Midwest and Rebel Brewer actually came in a bit cheaper overall in spite of not having flat rate shipping, but if you had an order with tons of LME or something heavy I suppose it might go the other way and flat shipping would get you the better deal.
I'm not saying that flat rate shipping is better or worse, it's just a different business marketing strategy, and it pays as a shopper to think TOTAL cost instead. I just got my UPS delivery from HopsDirect today in Massachusetts (about as far from the West Coast as you can get) and the shipping for a package with 5 lbs. of hops was $10.74, and total cost was $57, or WAY less than a dollar/oz.overall. Nice!!!
PS Sorry, I know this is a bit of a thread-jack, but there is the other linked mega-thread going, so...