If you haven't heard, one of the world's biggest retailers is in a public relations slump. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is in damage-control mode, following a bruising New York Times article in which former employees described working conditions there as seriously unpleasant. Think things like working past midnight and mass firings.
Plus, just a few weeks ago, Amazon's Prime Day 20th anniversary sale was touted as having its best deals of the year, even better than Black Friday. But Amazon got a heap of bad press for it. (Read about Amazon's #PrimeDayFail here.)
Still, PR troubles aside, Amazon is on a financial roll. It just surpassed Wal-Mart as the world's most valuable retailer, worth $250 billion. One reason for that huge number is simple. People love Amazon, especially with perks like free two-day delivery. In some cities, Prime members even get free same-day delivery.
For just $99 a year, Prime membership can be shared by up to two adults in the same house, and means shipping is free on everything you order. Buy a waffle maker for $20, and it'll be there in a couple of days with free shipping. Order a 300-pound refrigerator, and shipping is free. Order a $125,000 Picasso painting and, you guessed it, shipping is free. Although, for that one, Amazon will tell you that you have to be home to sign for it.
However, free delivery isn't Prime's only perk. Far from it. Keep reading for some of our favorite Prime perks that don't get as much press.
If you watch streaming TV shows like "House Of Cards" on Netflix or Jerry Seinfeld's "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" on Crackle, you know there are great shows online that you can't see anywhere else. Amazon has a few of those on its streaming service, Prime Instant Video.
Instant Video isn't a warehouse for old shows. There are a lot of top-notch shows, including Amazon originals you can't watch anywhere else.
Those include the multiple Emmy nominated "Transparent" with Jeffrey Tambor, and the new romantic comedy "Catastrophe." Recently, Amazon snapped up the co-hosts of the BBC's long-running, hugely popular car show "Top Gear." Read more about the "Top Gear" guys' upcoming Amazon show.
Plus, Instant Video airs reruns of shows that are still on the air, like HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm," PBS's "Downton Abbey" and CBS's "Under the Dome." It streams older shows too, like HBO's "The Wire." It has hundreds of streaming movies, like "The Wolf of Wall Street," "Star Trek Into Darkness" and many others.
Free TV and movies are nice, but so is free music. There are so many streaming music sites now that you have to pay for. But not Prime Music for Prime members.
It has more than one million songs for free. Songs like Jill Scott's new "Closure" or entire albums like The Eagles' classic "Hotel California" are free to stream, or download to play later. Plus, you can have Amazon play songs like a radio station does. With Prime Stations, music is grouped into genres like "50 Great '80s Rock Songs," and it plays for hours.
Bonus: Amazon's streaming TV shows and music are not only free; they're commercial-free.
It wasn't all that long ago when Amazon did nothing but sell books, then music and a few other things. These days, Amazon sells everything. It's a resource for busy people, people who can't get around the way they used to or, we've all had these days, people who just don't feel like shopping.
Amazon remembers its roots, and rewards its members with free books. A new one each month, actually.
If you own a Kindle, Prime members can borrow an eBook once a month. It's like a library, but with no due dates or heavy books to lug around. Plus, for Prime members with Kindles, Amazon will give you one free book from their "Editors' Picks."
Here's a really good perk. If you've got lots of photos and videos on your laptop, smartphone and tablet, you know it's nerve-wracking. What if you lose them? For Prime members, Amazon offers unlimited storage for photos in its secure Cloud Drive. Yes, unlimited. It also gives members 5GB of cloud storage for music and videos.
Amazon has a really unusual and potentially fantastic perk. It's not totally free, but for just $5.99 per box, you can get a box with up to 45 pounds of groceries delivered to your front door.
First, go to Amazon Pantry, order and pay for groceries and household items. For now, its selection is pretty thin, and some items are prohibitively expensive. But, here's the perk, Prime members get access to a wider array of products than non-members.
Amazon also has a subscription service for parents, grandparents and caregivers. For $99 a year, its Amazon Mom is essentially Amazon Prime, with a few extras, such as diapers.
They're expensive and, as you know, with a new baby you'll need a never-ending supply of them. Amazon Mom parents get a discount up to 20% off regular prices for diapers, with a monthly subscription. That subscription means diapers will show up at your door when you need them.
Plus, if there's a baby on the way, you can put together a wish list of all the supplies you'll need. Add those products to Amazon Mom's Baby Registry, and many of them will be discounted 15%, until the baby arrives.