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Is it possible to outsmart Amazon this holiday season?

The Verge’s Lauren Goode discusses with Recode’s Jason Del Rey and Kara Swisher on Too Embarrassed to Ask.

Asa Mathat

If you’re paying $99 a year for Amazon Prime, you may want to go there when you do your holiday shopping. But there are a couple things to keep in mind, Recode’s Jason Del Rey says.

“Amazon is super-aggressive on pricing around the most popular products,” Del Rey said on the latest episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask. “So they give the perception that they have the best prices around, and oftentimes they do. But when you get into the ‘longer-tail products,’ so maybe not as popular, not bestsellers, they often find time to make a profit margin there.”

In other words: Shop around! Though even when you can find a cheaper price, you may discover that the savings are not worth it to make the leap — which is all by design.

“I think it’s the brilliance of Prime, the psychological lock-in that some people feel,” Del Rey said. “‘I’m already spending $99 a year, let me feel like I’m getting my money’s worth.’ An extra 99 cents here or there may not be enough to move away from them.”

On the new podcast, he also talked with Recode’s Kara Swisher and The Verge’s Lauren Goode about why he expects an increase to the Prime membership cost “in the next two years,” and why drone delivery is still a ways off. Later in the show, the trio chatted about what to do if you haven’t been able to snag an NES Classic and why Apple Pay and Android Pay are probably safer than credit cards when you’re buying in-store.

Have questions about online holiday shopping that we didn’t get to in this episode? Or have another tech topic on your mind? You can tweet any questions, comments and complaints to @Recode with the hashtag #TooEmbarrassed. You can also email your questions to, in case Twitter isn’t your thing.

Be sure to follow @LaurenGoode, @KaraSwisher and @Recode to be alerted when we're looking for questions about a specific topic.

You can listen to Too Embarrassed to Ask in the audio player above, or subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.

If you like this show, you should also check out our other podcasts:

  • Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher is a weekly show featuring in-depth interviews with the movers and shakers in tech and media every Monday. You can subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.
  • Recode Media with Peter Kafka features no-nonsense conversations with the smartest and most interesting people in the media world, with new episodes every Thursday. Use these links to subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.
  • And finally, Recode Replay has all the audio from our live events, such as the Code Conference, Code Media and the Code Commerce Series. Subscribe today on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.

If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on iTunes — and if you don’t, just tweet-strafe Kara and Lauren. Tune in next Friday for another episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask!

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