How My ThredUP Shipping Mistake Cost Me Money

How My ThredUP Shipping Mistake Cost Me Money
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How My ThredUP Shipping Mistake Cost Me Money

A little while back I told you that I made the mistake of trying Stitch Fix instead of ThredUP. Since then, I’ve used ThredUp a few times. Overall, I’ve been really happy with the results. However, I’ve made a couple of dumb mistakes that cost me money. In particular, I made some errors that led to increased shipping prices.

What I Love About ThredUp So Far

I enjoy shopping for secondhand clothes. While I prefer to do this in person, mostly seeking out durable vintage items, I’m also happy to have found a place where I can get secondhand basics online. ThredUP has been great for that. I hit this stage of my life where I had outgrown almost my entire wardrobe (somewhat literally but mostly figuratively.) So bulk shopping at ThredUP made a lot of sense for me.

Things I like:

  • Easy to filter searches to find clothes that I like at prices I’m willing to pay
  • Good images and description so I have a solid sense of what I’m purchasing
  • A simple return policy that I made use of multiple times at no added cost
  • Lots of ways to earn “rewards” that help reduce costs on future shopping

Make No Mistake About ThredUp Gamification

Almost all apps and many websites use some form of gamification these days. Basically, this means that they make their online experience feel game-like with lots of little features. Like buttons, getting rewards for doing certain tasks, giving you “gold stars” or ways to “level up” … all of these things help you want to stay on the site. They encourage you to return to the site. If you aren’t familiar with this, read up on gamification and Internet addiction. It appeals directly to the dopamine in our brains and keeps us returning to those sites again and again.

Remember I said that one of the things I like is earning “rewards” that held reduce ThredUP costs. I do like it. However, I also know this is gamification. Overall, I’m pretty good at not getting excessively sucked in. For example, I don’t buy extra items just to get “rewards” points. But I’m happy that when I do my regular shopping, I get those rewards. Then I use them. For example, I cashed in my bonus rewards to get free shipping on an order

The Bingo Card Gamification Totally Sucked Me In

I’ve got a human brain, though. It’s definitely not immune to gamification. For example, you get points on the site for checking the ThredUp app a certain number of times per month. I do that. My tactic is to browse and add things to my favorites list but not buy anything.

However, when ThredUP came out with their August BINGO game, I totally fell for it. Basically, you get a Bingo card in the app. Each time you complete a task on the card, you get that square marked out. You earn one entry per “Bingo” (five items filled in in one row.) And if you complete the full card, then you get twelve entries.

What are the entries for you ask? 12 people will each win $500 to use on the site. And I totally fell for it. I went through each of those Bingo entry options and started using them. Some were simple – visit the app, sign up for email notifications, things that don’t cost any money.

Shipping Is Where I Made My Mistake

The biggest mistake I made on this Bingo card, though, was when I did order things. There were a variety of options to earn entries by making a purchase with a discount card. For example, one entry might be “buy a skirt” and use coupon code “XYZ” to get 40% off of your purchase.

I made those purchases. Arguably, that’s already a gamification mistake. I’m buying things I might not have bought otherwise in order to get that entry. Nevertheless, I tried to choose wisely. But then, each item has a shipping cost. And here’s where I made my mistake.

ThredUP has two shipping options. You can do “ship now.” In that case, you pay for shipping on each package. Alternatively, you can use “Buy and Bundle.” All your items ship together at a later date. Then shipping is free. I had used this option in the past, so it’s not as though I didn’t know about it.

However, for some reason, using each individual coupon code for those single items, I forgot to use Buy and Bundle. So I paid shipping costs on each and every item I purchased for that Bingo card. It was just a dumb money mistake. It was a waste of my money. And I kind of regret it.

Do I Regret Playing the ThredUP Bingo Game?

Yes and no. I feel foolish having gotten sucked into the gamification aspect of it. I don’t like buying clothes that I don’t need, although I feel okay about the fact that I will wear and enjoy them. I’m trying to save money. I had already replaced much of my wardrobe in the way that I wanted. So this isn’t ideal but I’ll call it a wash.

I’m super annoyed with myself for making the “Buy and Bundle” error. It cost me unnecessary money. Plus, half the reason I ship secondhand is because I care about sustainability and the environment. Obviously it’s better to ship one package than many. I regret that for sure.

I do know that playing this game has encouraged me to keep coming back to the app again and again. Which inevitably makes me want to buy things. Which is the whole point of gamification. (And this applies to all apps, not just ThredUp.) So I think when all is said and done, I should probably delete this app for awhile.

I don’t regret playing the Bingo game in the sense that it really taught / reminded me of some super important shopping and frugality lessons. And who knows, maybe I’ll win the $500. That would certainly ease the regret a bit right?

Shop smart.

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