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Author: Subject: Recent changes at amazon.com
zwt
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[*] posted on 7-10-2016 at 08:27
Recent changes at amazon.com


I've noticed changes to the availability of some products I ordered from Amazon.com in the past year:

Non-Coated Ammonium Nitrate 34-0-0 Prill Form Fertilizer - 25 lb
Early this year, I purchased this, enough for many years at my current rate of consumption for chemistry purposes (though I also have a vegetable garden, a good cover for bulk fertilizer purchases), expecting ammonium nitrate to become less available in the future. At the time, it was available to anyone (it was also <$1/lb with free Prime shipping). Now, the prices are hidden (even when logged in to a Prime account), and the product can only be ordered by those with an Amazon Business account. I haven't investigated what is needed to create a "free business account", but this demonstrates a trend seen (I believe) in Europe or elsewhere, where chemical purchases are being limited to "businesses", though in this case, it appears Amazon is doing it themselves, rather than following a government-imposed regulation. Interestingly, other quantities are currently available without this restriction.

Traditions ROUND BALLS .490 DIA 50 CAL 177 GR 100PK
Notice how I've linked to an archive for this one. That's because Amazon has, apparently, erased anything suggesting they ever carried this product. I purchased this in June, as ammunition for a miniature cannon (perfectly legal and generally unrestricted, under the laws of my locale) I made as a gift for my father, though I also retained some for use in preparing lead-based chemicals. The fact that the product page and reviews page no longer exist (though they still show on google search) could be the result of a simple error, but taken with the first example, and in light of recent trends and events, I can't help but suspect it was removed intentionally. Generally, Amazon retains product pages even for items they no longer carry.

(These two purchases may look bad together, but they were made several months apart, with other orders in between. As described, I have legitimate chemistry and non-chemistry uses for each.)

Draw your own conclusions, but mine are stuck between "get what you can while you can" and "consider your online purchases very carefully."

(I know some people may be strongly anti-Amazon; please limit comments to those having something to do with amateur science, rather than Amazon in general. Also, as this seems a Legal and Societal Issue as much as an issue of Reagents and Apparatus Acquisition, I wasn't sure where to post it. Mods: Please move if appropriate.)
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Brom
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[*] posted on 7-10-2016 at 11:13


I just searched for ammonium nitrate on Amazon and found 50 pounds for $75 and every thing appeared normal to me. But it is only a matter of time till we can longer obtain this and many other products. Especially with a freedom hating government and an immigration system easily penetrated by terrorists and a generally bad attitude toward non "professional" chemistry.
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Jstuyfzand
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[*] posted on 7-10-2016 at 13:01


Decided to take a look and saw this:
https://www.amazon.com/Dirty-Gardener-Nitrogen-Fertilizer-46...

Stock up!
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Brom
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[*] posted on 7-10-2016 at 13:27


That is urea. Ammonium nitrate is still available though. And i agree that it would be wise to stock up while you can.
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[*] posted on 7-10-2016 at 13:32


Quote: Originally posted by Brom  
That is urea. Ammonium nitrate is still available though. And i agree that it would be wise to stock up while you can.


I know! I just thought 5 pounds of urea for a dollar would be of interest.
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zwt
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[*] posted on 7-10-2016 at 13:40


Quote: Originally posted by Jstuyfzand  
I just thought 5 pounds of urea for a dollar would be of interest.
It's $10 with shipping to anywhere in the US, still not bad, although urea (as fertilizer and diesel exhaust fluid) can still be found OTC and cheaper (in the US).

But yes, as of right now, they still sell many chemicals to anyone; this "business" restriction seems very new, and there's no telling how widespread it will become.
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Dr.Bob
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[*] posted on 7-10-2016 at 17:45


Amazon has a lot of rules and regs, some are straight from the government (like sales tax, not selling drugs, etc), some are inferred from gov regs (they regulate the sale of gold and currency, due to vague laws on money laundering), and many that Amazon has pulled from their corporate orifice. They don't allow people to sell science supplies now without approval, I was able to keep the things I had on their for a while, but I cannot add new items, if they are science and industry related. But I can sell many articles as other items, like filter flasks under beer making supplies. Really stupid. And their fees are rather onerous.

Ebay is better, but the listing process is harder, and they charge percentage fees on shipping, so heavy items lose a fortune. So keep in mind that when you buy through either you are paying almost 20% of the cost to them, not the seller. So if you can find other ways to buy items, do so. If you buy from SEOH on Amazon, or Bob at Ebay, then once you have one item and are happy, contact the seller directly, and see if they won't sell you future item directly for a lower cost.

Amazon, Ebay, and others can force you to sell the first item directly, but they cannot prohibit you from contacting the seller directly in the future. So look for the mailer, receipt, or packing slip, see if there is an email, phone, address, or web site and contact them directly. I would guess that Amazon does not make the ammonium nitrate, someone else does, and they might just sell you more. I think the law only limits purchases above 50 pounds(they change often and I may be wrong), so it should not be a problem. One of these days I need to get a sack of it-I think I can find some-and then split it up as a group buy. Not sure what the packing rules are on it, but I can check. I don't ship many chemicals if I can avoid it, but I can at least look into it.
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zed
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[*] posted on 8-10-2016 at 15:30



Sold a lot on Ebay in the past. Once upon a time it was OK. Gets worse for sellers all of the time. In fact every change ever made in the layout of their site, or their listing/ selling procedures has meant more work for me, and less profit.
They have managed to strangle much of their own success. Had the world by the balls, and managed to lose their grip. Had a monopoly that made their CEO look like a money making genius. When she went to HP, where business acumen really counts..... She blundered her way into ruining the company.

Amazon, you should understand, is a terrible business partner.... At least for the likes of you. They have invisible corporate partners, and secret agreements that stomp all over the little guy. Got a problem with their methods? They ripped you off? Threw you off? Wrongly accused you of malfeasance ? Too bad. Your complaint will be directed to a non-responsive robot, or a marginal english speaker in India. Might as well howl at the Moon.

Wanna sue? Buried in your selling agreement with them, is the caveat that disputes can only be resolved via mediation in Las Vegas Nevada.

Both organizations exhibit extreme forms of business-world paranoia, and it is a wonder that they survive. Amazon for one, seems to employ counter-intelligence/propaganda techniques to quell negative online comments. They are deaf to direct conversation or appeal, while they appear to employ "shills" that contradict and counterattack on-line Amazon criticizers.

Cult-like

[Edited on 8-10-2016 by zed]

[Edited on 9-10-2016 by zed]
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zwt
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[*] posted on 8-10-2016 at 16:41


Quote: Originally posted by zed  
[rant]

I expected this, and I didn't do enough to prevent it. My apologies to everyone.
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[*] posted on 9-10-2016 at 06:23


Quote: Originally posted by Dr.Bob  

Amazon, Ebay, and others can force you to sell the first item directly, but they cannot prohibit you from contacting the seller directly in the future. So look for the mailer, receipt, or packing slip, see if there is an email, phone, address, or web site and contact them directly. I would guess that Amazon does not make the ammonium nitrate, someone else does, and they might just sell you more.


In particular the source of the cheap uncoated ammonium nitrate is/was this place:

http://rocketcitychemicals.com/products/50-lb-un-coated-ammo...

50 pounds at $1.25 per pound, shipping included.

Contact them directly.

[Edited on 9-10-2016 by careysub]




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zwt
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[*] posted on 9-10-2016 at 07:59


Quote: Originally posted by careysub  
50 pounds at $1.25 per pound, shipping included.

Contact them directly.
Do you get a discount if you email them, or something? The link shows 50lbs at $1.50/lb, and 25lbs at ~$2.00/lb. The 50lbs is actually $0.05 more than what's still available at Amazon, but it's good to know of alternate suppliers for when the other quantities are inevitably restricted.

Quote: Originally posted by Dr.Bob  
If you buy from SEOH on Amazon, or Bob at Ebay, then once you have one item and are happy, contact the seller directly, and see if they won't sell you future item directly for a lower cost.
I've ordered from SEOH through Amazon. Checking the SEOH website shows prices equal to or greater than those shown on Amazon for the items I checked, for example, SEOH 5-Pack Glass Beakers is $15.49 at Amazon, $18.20 directly from SOEH (both including shipping). Buying directly is better for bulk orders: 6 of the beaker sets, with shipping, work out to $12.20 each directly from SEOH, while they'd still $15.49 each at Amazon.
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[*] posted on 9-10-2016 at 08:03


Quote: Originally posted by careysub  
In particular the source of the cheap uncoated ammonium nitrate is/was this place:

Tack on a sieve set (from Amazon? Fierce competition for used rusty sieves at auction IME.) to the cost.




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zed
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[*] posted on 9-10-2016 at 15:43


Hey, buy through Amazon if it pleases you. But, if you are planning to operate a business, by selling through Amazon. I must caution you. With no warning, and for no apparent reason, all of your listings, and your hard work........can be vacated. Leaving you with no means to market your expensive inventory. Further, Amazon can withhold funds that are due to you.....for long periods of time. Thereby bankrupting you.



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zwt
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[*] posted on 9-10-2016 at 18:05


I'm actually warning against individuals counting on Amazon as a reliable source of certain products pertinent to amateur experimentalism, effectively discouraging buying from them. If you read the first post to the end, you'd know that I know that some people don't like Amazon, with good reason.

There is reason and wisdom to your words, but they do not appear to be about Acquisition of Reagents and Apparatus for individuals pursuing amateur science, and it seems political and philosophical discourse, even if tangentially related to the topic at hand, is to be discouraged here.
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[*] posted on 10-10-2016 at 07:12


The difference is that many seller will negotiate if you contact them directly, but Amazon and Ebay make it very hard to negotiate. That does not mean that all vendors will, some only sell via Amazon/Ebay. But SEOH I think will do so if you are willing to buy a few things or in bulk. Sadly, for small orders, many vendors will only do Amazon/Ebay, as they have their process designed around them. It is quite variable, but I have often found seller willing to give me a better deal if I skip the intermediate, but again, most useful on larger orders. Another example for Amazon is betterworldbooks.com, they sell on many sites, but I have found great deals if I go straight to their website. Amazon has a flat S/h for each book, but if you buy directly, BWB will do real postage or discounts on multiple books.
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zed
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[*] posted on 10-10-2016 at 16:39


zwt,

A number of posters here, sell items on Amazon. This forum includes both buyers and sellers.

Just alerting those who might be harmed.
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[*] posted on 10-10-2016 at 17:07


My bad entirely. I didn't realize this thread was about selling stuff on amazon, and I was under the assumption that comments like those below were not appropriate here (accurate though they may be). Thank you for informing me otherwise. With your four-digit post count, I'm sure you know what you're doing.
These comments are sure to help anyone selling or planning to sell on Amazon:
Quote: Originally posted by zed  
Had the world by the balls, and managed to lose their grip. Had a monopoly that made their CEO look like a money making genius. When she went to HP, where business acumen really counts..... She blundered her way into ruining the company.
Quote: Originally posted by zed  
counter-intelligence/propaganda techniques
Quote: Originally posted by zed  
Cult-like
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zed
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[*] posted on 12-10-2016 at 12:35




You opened the topic, but you don't have any authority over those who post under it.

Conversations are allowed to meander a bit here. Usually, it works out well.

Sometimes the most mundane little posts..... Change direction, then blossom to produce totally unanticipated and awesome conversations. Other times, interesting topics are scuttled by weird digressions.

This can be frustrating, but it is "How it Goes".

To quote our Arab friends...."It is Permitted"

As for dealings with Amazon, perhaps I should merely have used Churchill's famous Russian quote, and left it at that:

"I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest."

[Edited on 12-10-2016 by zed]
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[*] posted on 12-10-2016 at 13:31


If Amazon worked for me, i'd use it.

Never have, but then i don't ship physical products.

The 'work for me' part would be a calculation of the Potential sales, the Costs, the Hidden Costs and i'd just calculate it from there.

Making money is all about Maths, not about personal feelings towards faceless monoliths.

Business, i.e. making money, has nothing to do with feelings.

[Edited on 12-10-2016 by aga]




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zwt
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[*] posted on 12-10-2016 at 14:14


Quote: Originally posted by zed  
You opened the topic, but you don't have any authority over those who post under it.

Conversations are allowed to meander a bit here. Usually, it works out well.
At no point did I try to claim "authority over those who post" under this topic (though please do quote me). I claimed responsibility for any discussion that resulted directly from my actions (in starting this topic). This very comment chain suggests you would not have posted a rant against Amazon if I hadn't started this topic. I haven't found the posting guidelines (link, please), but was under the impression that measures were taken recently by the management to reduce the amount of off-topic and unnecessarily inflammatory discussion. If you, with your much greater posting experience, truly believe your comments added to the topic at hand and the forum in general, and were more appropriate here than in a separate thread, I'm not going to claim otherwise. But should it be that posts resulting from my actions detract from the forum, I will of course take full responsibility.

In any event, you've <s>derailed this topic</s> caused this topic to "meander" (I'm learning!) quite masterfully. We've gone from Reagents and Apparatus Acquisition, to disbursement and Societal Issues, on to Forum Matters, and now seem to be headed for Detritus. Bravo, sir, bravo.

[Edited on 12-10-2016 by zwt]
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zwt
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[*] posted on 12-10-2016 at 14:50


Quote: Originally posted by aga  
Business, i.e. making money, has nothing to do with feelings.
Well said. If I'm using Amazon, it's because they're cheapest or most convenient; the lives of the management and any shady business practices that haven't directly affected me never factor into it. I'm not trying to make a political statement through what and how I buy and sell; I couldn't afford to do so even if I wanted to.
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[*] posted on 12-10-2016 at 15:39


"At no point did I try to claim "authority over those who post" under this topic (though please do quote me). I claimed responsibility for any discussion that resulted directly from my actions (in starting this topic)."

Umm.
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zwt
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[*] posted on 12-10-2016 at 16:27


I was taught that authority is not perfectly synonymous with responsibility, but I now see the term is occasionally used that way (perhaps it's an East Coast / West Coast thing). My intent may have been clearer if I had used "accountability" in place of "responsibility", in that quote.

I think I'm starting to see your point: by the customs of this website, I can't be held accountable if someone else uses a thread I start as an excuse to post an indisputably off-topic rant and start arguments. Is that about right? Similarly, it is common practice here to post off-topic rants, especially when the opening post implores against it, and the management/community doesn't mind if and when threads are ruined in this fashion. Good to know, and quite a relief: I was worried an off-topic comment chain like this was frowned upon, something to be done through U2U, if it must be done at all. Little did I know that such is actually encouraged!

[Edited on 13-10-2016 by zwt]
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[*] posted on 12-10-2016 at 18:10


I was just trying to show that often the seller have little to no control over how their products are listed, regulated, or even deleted. Amazon will make changes as they deem, and the seller has little power to change them, they can request help, or for changes, but often they are tough to get.
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zwt
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[*] posted on 12-10-2016 at 18:17


Dr.Bob: Your posts were enlightening and much more relevant to the topic at hand, in my opinion.

[Edited on 13-10-2016 by zwt]
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