Amazon shows a 43% price difference in the same item shipped to the same address, but to a different account

Originally published at:



Maybe it’s actually the “Internet Archive is Awesome” discount, and if so that’s some old-school internetting going on.

When I click your link, I see the price as $12.37, and I have no prime of any kind. And that’s a whopping two cents off the price at Staples.


18,65€ or $20.88 in France:frowning_face:

Edit: or 11,34€ depending on the packaging… wtf?

1 Like

I need to get more sharpies…, was that not the point of the post?


The first thing to note is that the customer didn’t buy the markers from Amazon, he bought them from “The Mega Deals” who use Amazon as a storefront. Amazon has no control over the pricing of independent sellers. Second, because many products are sold on Amazon by different resellers, they each constantly adjust their prices to try to sell more. Some use automated tools that adjust their price to track other sellers (these automated systems sometimes get caught in undercutting cycles where a price will drop very quickly and very low for a short period of time before one of the sellers runs out of stock or adjusts their pricing or algorithm). You can see the price history of this item on
This shows a range of $0.98 to $15.77 over the past year.


This isn’t a mystery, the answer is obvious if you look at the screenshot.

The cheaper sharpies were sold by a third party, and presumably their last inventory.

What’s listed now is “ships from and sold by amazon”.

So, the cheaper sharpies were from a third party. They’ve sold out, and now the price of the item from Amazon is current.

Mystery solved.

Now, as to how this is displayed, and the fact that even active, regular users like Mr. Kahle and @doctorow, who have Business Prime accounts can miss these tiny visual cues, is another matter altogether. Online shopping shouldn’t really be a hunt-the-small-print process IMHO.


The idea of paying a yearly fee to get discounts never appealed to me for some reason. It’s like buying coupons in bulk or something.


It’s just a math problem. Either you use it enough to profit from the discount + fee, or you don’t. Same with credit card rewards - you either use them enough to offset the yearly fee, or you don’t.


Theoretically this is desirable. Amazon is price hunting for you so you don’t have to check a dozen sites to find the best price. The cheap ones sold out so the price Amazon shows went up, but that’s just the market in action.


No, but you can list the results in order of price, though.

I do it mainly for the free shipping, which if you do a modest amount of business with them you will get your money’s worth in no time. And the shows on Amazon prime are a bonus.



This is why I use the browser extension Honey. It tracks Amazon prices over time so you can see if you’re getting the best deal. By checkout, you know if you are buying at the right time, or that the “lowest price ever” claims are just BS.


Though it sucks they canceled The Tick. :frowning:


They also have fluctuating prices. A few years ago I saw an item for a really good price on my phone. When I pulled it up on my computer later, it was at a higher price. Went back to my phone, and now it was at the higher price. I kept refreshing on both devices until magically appeared at the lower price, then I bought it.

@orenwolf and @Doug_Wheeler cracked the case already. The interesting thing is that some sellers who use algorithmic repricers don’t set a floor. This means a competitor could manually set his own price at or below wholesale, and trick the competitor’s repricer into undercutting him. And voila, he buys out their stock. You can pretty much do it with Amazon itself, too. Much like Cornelius Vanderbilt, Amazon is willing to sell at a loss indefinitely in order to dominate a listing.

1 Like

I know…

SPOON :frowning:


They did? Boo. Their only original show that I’ve watched.

1 Like

I hear good things about Good Omens.

1 Like

Yeah: I thought the trailer looked awful, though. I suspect it will be good, but I do have to prepare myself for it being nothing like the the movie I directed in my head.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.