I just now noticed that StewMac has 765 Amazon Prime listings. "Cool" I thought to myself "because their outrageous shipping costs make me reluctant to place more that one or two large orders a year."

Well, although it appears that shipping is free what they have done is add their normal shipping charge (starting at $9.99) to the single lot price so you are getting nothing free. Even worse if you buy two or more items you do not benefit from the bundled shipping price you would get from their website.

To be clear I think that StewMac is a valuable resource for guitar builders, modders and luthiers. However in this new age of reasonable shipping costs brought on largely by Amazon's free shipping policies StewMac seems to be firmly ensconced in the 20th Century.

I used to deal with mail suppliers for both my job and my hobbies back in the 1970s and 1990s, and it was like a lot of them felt that they were doing us a big favor by shipping parts to customers and charged accordingly. (There were some exceptions like Mouser which have always been very fair to the customer.)

In the first place if a seller is predominantly mail order the cost of labor to pull and package the orders should be factored into the unit prices... in most cases there is no justification for "handling charges." And shipping charges should not be considered a profit item — they should reflect actual costs whether that is computed on individual orders or on a collective basis.

My favorite sellers know the exact weight and physical dimensions of the orders I place and can accurately compute what their shipping charges will be from the various shippers rather than base it on dollar amount plus surcharges for oversize or overweight as StewMac does.

Small-time sellers on eBay, etc., are justified in using USPS flat rate priority shipping because it makes it very easy for them to know exactly how much it will cost to ship an item domestically.

So much for my rant of the day...

Steve A