There is a limit to Amazon’s free Prime shipping. It’s called Add-On items: stuff that Amazon will sell, but is too insignificant to ship alone. As you might have guessed, Add-On items will be added on to any regular Amazon order of over $25, to help minimize Amazon’s shipping costs and also get you to buy more stuff.
But as it turns out, Amazon’s system isn’t foolproof. HowToGeek discovered a bug (feature?!) in Alexa’s Voice Ordering system that lets you buy any add-on item without needing to tack it onto a bigger order. But as it turns out, that’s not the only way to get around the $25 minimum.
HowToGeek’s system relies on having an Amazon Echo, or anything that allows the use of Amazon Alex’s Voice Purchasing feature. You have to set it up from within the Alexa app on your smartphone, but once that’s done, you should be able to order “Alexa, order [Add-On Item].” Either through a feature or a bug, this lets you circumvent the Add-On item restriction.
Ordering by voice is a dubious hassle at best, but if it lets you get around the add-on item restriction, it can be good for small things. I tested it with a single lonely Ethernet cable, and the workaround seems to work just fine.
Another, somewhat sneakier plot is to meet the $25 minimum using a pre-order item, or one that’s out of stock. Assuming your add-on item is in stock, just add it to a cart containing something that’s either a pre-order or temporarily out of stock. Wait until the add-on ships on its own — which, assuming you have Prime, will be the next day — and then cancel the order for the more expensive item. It’s not exactly the most ethical life hack, but I’m assuming that Amazon’s swollen coffers won’t hurt too much.