Shopping online can be wonderful, but we also have to be careful. Is that low price too good to be true? How fast will they ship? Is my information secure? While we tend to stick to sites we trust and are established, the former founder of Diapers.com launched Jet, a new shopping site designed to be a cross between Amazon and Costco/Sam’s Club. I take a look at this new site and whether you should consider it for your anime and manga (and other) purchases.
Jet is a bit different from most shopping sites.
Firstly, like most shopping clubs, there is a membership fee; in Jet’s case, it’s $49.99 a year. New members can get a free three-month trial. However, they guarantee you’ll save at least $49.99 in the year. If you don’t, they’ll refund the difference. They also offer a free three-month trial. More importantly, the fee does not auto-renew. This means you do not have to pay another $50 for another year’s membership until you are ready to place another order. UPDATE: Jet now is free to shop at!
Most of Jet’s original prices are based on Amazon’s current price. They offer a discount off of the base price, which can vary from a few cents to several dollars.
And the more you buy of an item, the more you save. For instance, on a package of Pringles, Jet offered a single can to me for $.14 off of their price of $1.24. If I bought 2, the savings increased to $1.30, making two cans for $1.18 or $.59 each. The savings increased all the way up to 10 cans where I could get them for $.50 a can. Anyone who has shopped for Pringles lately knows it’s getting harder to get them for $1.00 a can, and $.75 would definitely be a stock-up price. (Ironically, sometimes the savings was better when only buying two of an item versus buying 3+.)
Many items are marked as “smart buys”. When you add one of these items to your cart, savings on other items go up. So a product with a $1 discount may go up to $1.5-2 by adding a smart buy item(s) to your cart. They may also offer you discounts on related items. So if you put one volume of a manga series in your cart, Jet will start discounting the other volumes in the series or even a whole bunch of other manga titles. In addition, you can save more based on your payment method (up to 1.5% additional savings by using a Visa debit card).
Shipping is free on $35, but this is calculated before savings. So you may have $35 worth of product, but only have to pay around $20 to get the items shipped to your home. If your total is under $35, then shipping is a flat $5.99. Sorry, Alaska and Hawaii, you’re excluded.
Some items (mostly grocery) are fulfilled by Jet, but many items are sent out from third-party vendors. Sound scary? The third-party vendors include major sites like Walmart, Buy/Rakuten, Deep Discount, Newegg, and Barnes & Noble. You can see the vendor chosen when you check out. Many food, grocery, and household products offer 2 day delivery. Other items have a 3-5 day estimated delivery time.
Firstly, little to no preorder items are listed. (Although I did spot a couple of things show up during the beta trial). So if you’re the type of shopper who preorders everything and/or wants things arriving on release date, Jet is probably not for you.
Secondly, products listed are pretty random and can appear/disappear. For instance, as of this writing, only four volumes of The Seven Deadly Sins are listed despite eight being in print; one day when I checked, there were six volumes on Jet. I imagine this is based on their supplier’s stock. I have not seen any of Tokyo Ghoul, and Assassination Classroom volumes three and four are currently delisted despite having been available before. Some items have been added, like several volumes of The Devil is a Part-Timer. At least for the manga and graphic novels I looked at, the newer the title, the less likely it is to be available.
On the bright side, Jet has some items I never would expect them to have. For instance, they have the various Sailor Moon Pullip premium dolls which retail for around $140. Other anime-related merchandise includes jewelry, plushies, and figures; less common items like beach towels and playing cards were also available.
Overall, this site isn’t nearly a “one-stop shop” like Amazon, but it holds promise. Jet says more items will be added, with “millions more products next week alone”. They also suggest emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with items you’d like to see on there.
Since I mentioned jewelry, I’ll first compare some Sailor Moon jewelry between three sites: Amazon, Jet, and Right Stuf. Note that your savings could increase or decrease depending on what you order and how much you order, and prices could currently be higher or lower.
Now, let’s compare some manga and add Walmart into the mix.
As you can see, their pricing is in line with other sites, sometimes higher, sometimes lower. Unfortunately, a big hit like Tokyo Ghoul is currently unavailable. Note that the discount you see may be higher or lower. Depending on what you order, your savings should keep increasing. This means that Jet’s prices may drop even lower, making the savings much more evident.
However, for the best deals, this isn’t a site for one-click shopping. You want to compare. For instance, I looked at marshmallows. The Krafft brand marshmallows only offered a nominal discount, but the Campfire brand’s discount on two packages made it almost buy 1 get 1 free. I got them for $1.18 a bag compared to Walmart’s price of $2.98. The Krafft brand marshmallows would have cost me about $2 a bag. In addition, many extreme couponers will likely have a stocked up on many products and have gotten them cheaper. (I, for instance, never pay more than $.50 a tube of toothpaste anymore.) However, couponing is a lot of work, and you don’t get the products shipped to your door. It does seem like a lot of people are ordering diapers, so you may want to check those out if you have young children.
No matter what the product, you should always compare! Use tools like Google and Camel Camel Camel to ensure you’re getting the most for your money.
The items that were fulfilled by third parties each have their own type of packaging. A box of receipt tape was shipped in its original box. A roll of tape was sent in a significantly larger box with bubble fillers. Books and DVDs were shipped on those cardboard envelopes. Jet themselves seem to ship in very large boxes; I had mixes and marshmallows in a large box. Everything arrived fine, but it seemed like a waste of resources to ship stuff in such a large box. One box contained oats and chips, and one container of oats arrived severely smushed. Some people on other forums have had items damaged or received items that didn’t match the description, but Jet CS seemed to work with them. I did read about someone who said bleach arrived in the same box as food, so I hope the shipping team learns that this is a bad idea.
Returns and Customer Service
One factor to consider when you do any shopping (online or offline) is the store’s return policy and customer service.
So what’s Jet’s return policy? They offers free 30 day returns. You can choose to waive the free return shipping to save a nominal amount on an item. Certain items like food and gift cards are excluded from returns, but this is standard across most/all sites due to health or safety reasons. They have a phone number and email address in order to contact them. I have not yet had to contact CS, but I’ve read other forums, and the CS seems to be very good about correcting problems. Many complaints seem to stem from price mistakes being canceled and products being backordered or out-of-stock.
So far, I have placed fourth orders with Jet. Among the items I ordered were anime and manga.
The first order was placed on Tuesday, July 21. While my items were shipped separately, the first part arrived on Friday, July 25. Everything had been delivered by Monday or Tuesday, making everything arrive within the 3-5 business day window. The same happened with the second order, with things ordered on a Wednesday, and the last items arriving on Monday. For my third order, it was on schedule, but there was a delay between UPS and USPS, so it took from August 5 to August 14, 7 business days, to arrive. Most items were sent via FedEx, although some items were shipped UPS or USPS. My fourth order took about a week or so,. The post office in my area seems to be running a bit slow right now, so that probably affected my third and fourth orders’ delivery times.
So here are the prices I ended up getting on some manga and anime. Note that your discounts may go higher or lower depending on how much you buy, and my price includes my 1.5% bonus discount from using a Visa debit.
For manga, I consider 35% to be a pretty good discount, 40% to be my recommended discount (since that’s Right Stuf’s studio sale price), up to 45% really good, and 45% or more to be a great, fantastic discount. Bottom-barrel used prices hover around $4 shipped, and eBook copies usually are around $4-5. I like to get my movies for around 60% off.
Naruto 67: $5.26 – 47% off
Naruto 70: $5.26 – 47% off
Naruto 69: $5.21 – 48% off
Naruto 66: $4.78 – 52% off
Hetalia: Paint It, White DVD: $8.31 – 58% off
Hetalia Axis Powers DVD: $13.24 – 62% off
For comparison, Spell of Desire 5 went as low as $5.12 on Amazon and Walmart. UQ Holder 5’s lowest price on Amazon was $8.24, but Walmart had it for $5.75. Both sites had Noragami 5 for $5.75. Older title Mistress Fortune was $5.34 during Right Stuf’s Viz/Shojo Beat sale after GotAnime, and the lowest used copy is $3.48 shipped (library copy listed with significant wear) or $4 shipped for a very good copy. For Hetalia: Paint, It White, I paid slightly more than Right Stuf’s 12+ Days of Christmas price of $7.99, but I got the first series for slightly less ($13.24 vs $13.99). Spirited Away is Amazon’s #1 selling anime title (and is at the lowest price ever at $19.54), and I got it for 23% off their price.
As you can see, if you look around, you can score some incredible deals.
That being said, I have encountered some glitches. One day, for instance, I kept getting into a logged-in/logged-out loop, and they eventually pulled it offline due to “high traffic”. This was very frustrating, no doubt about it. Hopefully, these issues will stop as Jet irons out all their bugs.
The Membership Fee Of course, some people will wonder if I really did save much considering the fee to shop at Jet is $49.99. I do currently have a free year trial (which I posted about, so hopefully you took advantage of the promo!), so any savings I have is not exactly comparable to someone who paid almost $50. The first thing is to consider is whether you’re the type of person to shop at a Costco or Sam’s Club. While both stores offer additional benefits (gas, cashback through their credit cards), the base fact remains: you pay to shop there. At Jet, you can’t shop without a membership, but I actually consider Jet’s fee closer to programs like Barnes & Noble’s Membership ($25/yr), F.Y.E.’s Backstage Pass ($12/mon), or Right Stuf’s Got Anime ($12/yr). Although you can shop at all of these stores without joining their bonus program, you are paying to save more. Since most of Jet’s base prices are Amazon’s, it’s almost like paying to save more off of Amazon’s prices. Jet also carries a lot more types of products than Barnes & Noble, F.Y.E., or Right Stuf, but they do not have the full inventory these stores offer or have coupons for additional savings. But as of right now, I do plan on renewing. The good discounts combined with the wide range of products make this an additional site for me to compare prices at. I saw many titles offered to be at 50% off or more. It may not be my number 1 destination yet, but I look forward to Jet growing larger. Hopefully, Barnes & Noble will help Jet fill in their book gaps.
UPDATE: There’s no membership fee anymore! Just sign up and order like most sites!
Here’s the short of it:
The good: Prices are very competitive.
And while $50 does not include free unlimited shipping like Amazon Prime or Walmart’s upcoming ShippingPass, the fee is comparable to Sam’s Club, Costco, or BJ’s Warehouse. The fact that $35 shipping requirement is calculated before your savings means you don’t necessarily have to spend $35 each shopping trip in order to get your order shipped free.
The bad: Products you want are not always listed, and the search is kind of wonky. It’s also not a site for quick shopping. It’s also going through a few bumps, as it is a brand new site.
Good or bad: Larger orders are recommended for max savings. It’s not a site just to pick up one book or one box of cereal.
At the very least, more shopping sites are always welcome, especially competitively priced ones.
Note that someone created a Greasemonkey/Tapermonkey script to improve the shopping experience; go here to install it.
In addition to the free trial, new customers may be able to use coupon code SAVELOTS or TENBUCKSNOW to save $10 off $35.
So, have any of you tried Jet? Are you going to try it?
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