You can set your watch by it. Every time there’s a post about eBay that mentions “free shipping” somewhere in it and you get some clown who says one of the following two things:

“There’s no such thing as free shipping!”

or the hilariously moronic

“I went to the post office and asked for the free shipping….” [insert paraphrase of “they said there was no such thing” or “they had no idea what I was talking about”]

Every time I read one of these my reaction is basically, “OMG, shut up, shut up, shut up!”

If you say either of these, what you are saying, loud and clear is, I don’t understand how to run a business. Those statements prove that you’re only looking at the issue from the perspective of you, the seller. Which means you don’t care about your customers and don’t care to look at the issue from their standpoint. And if you don’t care about your customers, it’s going to show in your business, I don’t care how good you think you are at hiding it.

I suppose the point you’re trying to make when you say this is that, literally, even if you offer free shipping, you have to still pay for it when you visit the post office or other shipper so there’s no such thing as free shipping. Of course, by this logic, there’s no such things as sales, buy one get one free and other offers either because the poor seller still had to buy that merchandise at full price in all those cases.

Poor poor sellers! Free shipping is so mean to pick on them like this! The buyers don’t pay for shipping and the mean shippers still take the shipping money. What else is there for a seller to do but to sit and cry?

Uh… Self absorbed much?

The concept of “free shipping doesn’t exist” for sellers is hilarious because yes, it does, every time they buy something with free shipping. Free shipping does exist and it’s something for buyers. To ignore that is to build your business only around your wants and needs and ignore the needs of your buyers entirely.

Free shipping isn’t supposed to be something you, the seller, enjoy. It’s an optional service you offer your buyers. It’s a bonus, a special offer, an incentive to make them buy from you instead of the other guy. Just like any other offer including sales, BOGOs and giveaways it’s going to involve some extra cost for you. To bitch about it shows a utter lack of comprehension of how business works and is frankly insensitive to your customers and their needs.

Instead of graciously offering a bonus, you’re sitting around on blogs and forums complaining because if your buyer gets free shipping, you should get it too. This logic doesn’t hold water after two seconds of looking at it.

If you place an order with Amazon and they give you free shipping, do you run over to their corporate headquarters and pay them the shipping cost out of guilt? Of course you don’t, you say, “Sweet! Free shipping.” and move on with your life. By the same token, Amazon doesn’t email you with this sob story later about how you should really leave an extra nice review for them because they lost so much money providing you with your stupid free shipping. Amazon doesn’t have a passive aggressive note on their site about how expensive shipping really is and how they had to build that cost into their price, blah blah blah.

Picture Amazon doing this. It would be so petty, so childish, so totally unprofessional. But tons of online sellers do this constantly and don’t realize the damage they are doing to their brand.

I know I’m not going to stop people from making illogical complaints but the self-absorbed business can never survive. Focus on your customers and their needs instead of just, me me me and what you want. When you start to look at your business from a buyer’s perspective, you make it a better business all around.

Oh and to the people who insist on still writing this all the time? You have been called out for whining by the whine seller herself. You should be totally shamed.

Go ahead and tell me how wrong I am in the comments.