Amazon Prime: What holiday shoppers need to know

Published: Friday, December 08, 2017 @ 11:09 AM

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Amazon

While Amazon is not doing drone deliveries as part of the package just yet, Amazon Prime is an alluring online service for shoppers. It's tough to compare it to other companies, because who else offers a single package that includes free shipping, videos, music, Kindle reading and photo storage?

Still, the multitude of features and perks doesn't mean the yearly outlay will pay off for every shopper. Here's a quick-hit list of the benefits of investing in a Prime account, along with areas to consider carefully if you’re thinking of joining Prime.

Cost: For $99 a year, consumers receive free two-day shipping for eligible purchases, unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Prime Video and book-borrowing privileges from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library for $99 a year. Those who only shop heavily a few months a year might want to consider the same benefits for $10.99 a month, which adds about $32 to the annual price if you keep it for 12 months.

>> Read more trending news

 Cost-benefit ratio: If you typically have a total order required for free standard shipping from Amazon, or constantly need (or want) items within two days, the savings in shipping and time-opportunity cost can quickly offset your investment. A free trial membership available through the Amazon website will also give you an idea of how many of the items you need or like that qualify for Prime and how often you might use the service. Just be careful to cancel the membership after the free trial period if you don’t want it, since a credit card is required.
 
More Amazon Prime shipping benefits: To truly maximize the shipping benefits of a Prime membership, you must live in one of the more than 7,000 cities and towns that receive free same-day or one-day shipping on more than a million qualifying items (and orders over $35). To see if you qualify, check out your zip code on the Amazon website.

Tapping those shipping benefits is a matter of looking for the Prime FREE Same-Day or Prime FREE One-Day logo when you're shopping on the site, or using that filter in search. At check-out, make sure to choose the same-day or one-day option.

You also have to order in the morning, typically before noon, to receive items by 9 p.m. that day or order in the afternoon for qualified free one-day shipping to arrive the next day by 9 p.m.

Prime Early Access: Bargain hunters and those who genuinely enjoy online shopping will revel in the Amazon Prime member benefit of a 30-minute early access to Lightning Deals on Amazon.com.
 
Sharing benefits with household members: If you're a happy shopping family, Prime membership costs can be divided. Prime members can allow others adults in their Amazon Household to share Prime benefits at no extra cost by linking their regular Amazon account to the Household service and agreeing to share payments. Shared benefits include shipping, video, vault for photo storage, other digital benefits and exclusive offers.
 
More must-know facts about Amazon Prime benefits and features:

  • Large items sold or fulfilled by Amazon don't qualify for free two-day shipping though large item shipping is still free.
  • If you're expecting the two-day delivery on time, you must carefully note both the order cut-off time on each item's detail page and the proper shipping selection at checkout.
  • Saturdays and Sundays are not considered business days in calculating free two-day shipping for Prime. The shipping methods apply to business days only, not weekends or holidays.
  • Orders that cost more than $1,300 may require a signature for delivery.
 
This Christmas: An Amazon Prime membership makes a great gift for a family or couple just getting started with establishing a household, or who could really use the entertainment options along with the speedy shipping.

To purchase other gifts for guaranteed Christmas delivery from Amazon via Prime, be aware that gift orders on Amazon.com must be completed online by Dec. 18 to be shipped with free standard shipping and by Dec. 22 for the free Prime two-day shipping. The select cities that offer free one-day shipping for Prime orders require orders complete by 9:30 a.m. local time on Dec. 24.
 
Oh, and about those drones. Amazon does have a separate Prime Air delivery service in the works. It would deliver packages up to five pounds in under 30 minutes using small drones. As of Dec. 7, 2017, Amazon said it would start offering Prime Air as an option "when and where we have the regulatory support needed to safely realize our vision. We’re excited about this technology and one day using it to deliver packages to customers around the world."

Amazon raises monthly Prime membership rate

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 3:09 PM

Amazon Announces Cities Still In Consideration For Second Headquarters

The monthly membership fee for Amazon Prime rose Friday from $10.99 to $12.99.

Company officials said the annual membership will remain at $99 dollars.

>> Read more trending news

Monthly customers do not get access to Amazon Video, which costs $8.99 a month.

The last Prime subscription hike came in 2014, when Amazon increased its yearly membership from $79 to $99.

>> Related: Amazon announces final 20 cities in the running for second headquarters

The e-commerce company did not give a reason for the price increase.

9 best- worst-paying jobs at Amazon

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 2:01 PM

Amazon Announces Cities Still In Consideration For Second Headquarters

Amazon is the talk of the town for metro areas across North America, since the company just announced it has whittled the list of cities that could be home to its second headquarters down to 20.

The cities, which include New York, Nashville, Tennessee, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, are vying for the massive $5 billion project, known as HQ2, that could bring about 50,000 highly paid tech and corporate jobs to one community. 

>> Read more trending news 

Since the public contest began in September with 238 cities competing, the Amazon team has shared few details about how the finalist cities would be chosen. Amazon did announce, however, that the top cities would be able to provide an initial 500,000 square feet of space − in an urban or suburban area − with access to major highways, airports, public transit and “a robust technology workforce,” according to the Baltimore Sun.

Related: Amazon announces final 20 cities in the running for second headquarters

“Thank you to all 238 communities that submitted proposals,” Holly Sullivan, an executive with Amazon Public Policy, said in a statement. “Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough – all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity. Through this process we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation.”

Related: 5 things to know about Amazon

With the possibility of HQ2 coming to metropoles scattered across the U.S., thousands of eager job seekers are already contemplating their next career move, and hoping that move is headed toward Amazon.

Pulling from Amazon’s current job listings in web services, corporate, Amazon Alexa and other device teams, these are some of the highest- and lowest-paying positions at Amazon.

Pay estimates are provided by Paysa.com, an online career and hiring site that uses artificial intelligence and real-world salary insights. The following salaries are estimates, which include salary and benefits.

Best-paying Amazon jobs:

Principal Business Development Manager - Average: $529,000

This position requires 10+ years experience at the director level of working in security intelligence software for technology companies. The role would be involved in the strategic business development plan for the company and work with existing security intelligence products, field organizations and business development.

Principal Software Development Engineer - Average: $414,000

The principal engineer will be the technical lead for the Amazon Devices team. The engineer will also design and select appropriate imaging and sensing systems. The position requires at least a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science, five years of experience leading junior engineers and 10 years of software engineering experience.

Prinicipal Technical Program Manager - Average: $290,000

The principal technical program manager will lead the technical strategy and program management of Elastic Block Storage-specific services and products that will revolutionize industries across the globe. The position requires 10 years of experience in system software/hardware product development, including technical program leadership of computer system, storage devices, etc.

Global Leader of Sales Strategy - Average: $233,000

This role will focus on developing and driving strategy, analytics and data management to optimize the rapid growth of Amazon’s cloud business. A bachelor’s degree is required as well as 15+ years of experience in both enterprise technology sales and sales operation.

Worst-paying Amazon jobs:

Healthcare & Life Sciences Solutions Architect - Average: $73,000 

This position is slated for an experienced IT consultant with technical expertise in a specialty area and ability to travel internationally as needed to support customers. The individual will assist in sales of infrastructure engagements and coach Amazon Web Services field sales, presales, training and support teams. At least 15 years of relevant experience in information technology is required for this position.

Inside Sales Representative - Average: $69,000

The inside sales representative creates the first impression for prospective customers through business development activities, follow-ups on their inquiries and from the company’s marketing programs. Experience with technology sales is required.

Head of Media - Amazon Channels - Average: $56,000

This role is responsible for leading, managing and growing a team of media professionals, as well as managing media agencies and other partners in order to achieve the company’s marketing and media objectives. The person should have at least eight years of experience in media strategy.

Head of Social Media - Average: $54,000

Amazon seeks an experienced, strategic and highly creative individual to lead its global social media marketing efforts. The perfect candidate will have more than 10 years of experience in social media marketing.

Content Writer - Average: $47,000

The ideal candidate will have experience in results-driven technical content writing. Requirements include knowledge of search engine optimization and experience managing multiple content management systems.

Mary B's frozen biscuits recalled due to listeria concerns

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 3:06 AM

Mary B's frozen biscuits. (Credit: FDA.gov)
FDA.gov
Mary B's frozen biscuits. (Credit: FDA.gov)(FDA.gov)

Be sure to check your freezer because there’s a new recall on frozen biscuits that were sold in nearly two dozen states.

>> Biscuits recalled over listeria concern

Hom/Ade Foods is recalling Mary B’s brand biscuits due to listeria concerns. The biscuits were sold in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

>> Read more trending news 

Company officials said the problem was discovered in a product sampling conducted by an outside company that manufactured the product.

Listeria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, elderly people and others with weakened immune systems.

The Mary B’s products affected are frozen bagged biscuits. All have “Best If Used By" dates before Sept. 23, 2018, and with the letter “M” immediately after the date.

Mary B's recall. (Credit: FDA.gov)(FDA.gov)

UPC codes affected by the recall:

  • 2059300007 MARY B’S JUMBO BUTTERMILK BISCUITS 35OZ 10 / 3.5OZ
  • 2059300015 MARY B’S BUTTERMILK BISCUITS 26.4OZ 12 / 2.2OZ
  • 2059300018 MARY B’S SOUTHERNMADE BISCUITS 26.4OZ 12 / 2.2OZ
  • 2059300020 MARY B’S BUTTERMILK VALUE PACK BISCUITS 44OZ 20 / 2.2OZ
  • 2059300021 MARY B’S SOUTHERNMADE VALUE PACK BISCUITS 44OZ 20 / 2.2OZ
  • 2059300022 MARY B’s BUTTERMILK TEA BISCUITS 24OZ 24 / 1OZ
  • 2059300023 MARY B’S BUTTERTASTE VALUE PACK BISCUITS 44OZ 20 / 2.2OZ
  • 2059300028 MARY B’S THIN BUTTERMILK BISCUITS 28.6OZ 22 / 1.3OZ
  • 2059300033 MARY B’S BUTTERMILK FAMILY PACK BISCUITS 60OZ 30 / 2OZ
  • 2059300034 MARY B’S SOUTHERNMADE FAMILY PACK BISCUITS 60OZ 30 / 2OZ
  • 2059300035 MARY B’S BUTTERTASTE FAMILY PACK BISCUITS 60OZ 30 / 2OZ
  • 2059383000 MARY B’S BUTTERMILK 0 TRANS FAT 220CT BULK BISCUITS 220 / 2.2OZ
  • 2059383004 MARY B’S BUTTERMILK BISCUITS 220CT BULK BISCUITS 220 / 2.2OZ
  • 2059387000 MARY B’S MADE WITH WHOLE GRAIN 220CT BULK BISCUITS 220 / 2.2OZ
  • 3059320583 MARY B’S 3.5 OZ JUMBO BUTTERMILK 144CT BULK BISCUITS 144 / 3.5OZ

Customers are urged to return affected products to the store for a full refund.

Read more here.

The Biggest Product Recalls in US History

Walmart to raise starting wages, expand benefits: 6 things to know

Published: Thursday, January 11, 2018 @ 12:04 PM
Updated: Thursday, January 11, 2018 @ 2:04 PM

Walmart Announces They Will Raise Wages

Walmart officials on Thursday announced plans to increase starting wages for hundreds of thousands of the company’s employees, affecting the wallets of more than a million people across the country.

>> Read more trending news

In a news release Thursday morning, Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon characterized the wage increases and other announced benefits as “building on investments we’ve been making in associates, in their wages and skills development.”

“It’s our people who make the difference and we appreciate how they work hard to make every day easier for busy families,” he said.

>> Related: Sam's Club abruptly closes locations across the country

The announcement came on the same day that dozens of Sam’s Club locations announced they were closing for good and just days after company officials said they planned to expand Walmart’s “Mobile Express Scan & Go” app to 100 more locations. The app allows users to pay for their Walmart purchases in-store from their phones without the need to go through a checkout line manned by a cashier. The expansion has led to speculation that Walmart, the country’s largest employer, might replace some of its workforce with technology.

“(The app) means no waiting in line at the register, but presumably also means that cashiers will lose their jobs,” the Arkansas Times reported

It was not immediately clear how many jobs would be affected.

Here are six things to know about the planned changes:

1. The starting wage rate for all hourly associates in America will rise to $11, $3.75 over the federal minimum wage of $7.25 and $2 over Walmart’s previous starting wage of $9. The wage change will apply to all hourly associates in the U.S. who work in Walmart stores, Sam’s Clubs locations, eCommerce, logistics and Home Office, according to company officials.

2. The pay bump will take effect starting during the Feb. 17 pay cycle. Walmart officials said its employees will determine which associates qualify for the cash bonuses before February, “and payments will be paid as quickly as practical thereafter.”

3. Some associates will also be eligible for cash bonuses of up to $1,000, depending on how long they’ve been with Walmart. Officials said the $1,000 bonus would go to those with 20 or more years of Walmart employment.

4. The company plans to expand on its maternity and parental leave policy. Full-time hourly associates will be eligible for 10 weeks of paid maternity leave. Both hourly and salaried employees will also get six weeks of paid parental leave.

5. Walmart will create a benefit to help associates with adoption expenses. The company will provide full-time hourly and salaried associates who are adopting children with $5,000 per child to help cover expenses like adoption agency fees, legal costs and translation fees.

6. McMillon credited the recently approved tax reform bill for the changes. Company officials said they are still reviewing their options for additional investments.

“We are early in the stages of assessing the opportunities tax reform creates for us to invest in our customers and associates and to further strengthen our business, all of which should benefit our shareholders,” McMillon said Thursday. “Tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S.”