So i opened up the main link, looked over it, and added it to my shopping cart. Luckily when i checked my cart a little later i noticed that three of the items said "Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping," while Mortal Kombat said "Shipped from Beach Audio."
Well crap, i thought, i guess i can't get free shipping for that one. But in that case i might as well go check the new and used copies and get a better price than that. So i did another search, just to make sure i hadn't screwed something up the first time. Opened up the first link in the list (after making sure there weren't any other PS3 versions listed) and double-checked the page. Sure enough, when i checked a little more closely it said "In Stock. Ships from and sold by Beach Audio."
So i went ahead and clicked on the "26 new from $24.99 link," and looked at the list, actually at the"Featured Merchants" list, which was the first of two lists. The first item was for $27.99 It also said "Seller Information: amazon.com." and "this item ships for free with Super Saver Shipping." The _second_ item in the list was the $32.84 version from Beach Audio.
So the main link when you search for that item not only doesn't take you to the cheapest new copy, it's giving preference to other companies over themselves! I might find that to be altruistic on their part if not for the fact that they almost got me to spend $4.85 more (plus shipping!) on the exact same thing i could have gotten directly from them. Yeah, i'm supposed to be responsible and do research on my purchases, but part of the reason i usually choose Amazon is because i've already done the research on them and know what to expect, and am willing to forgo shopping around for a slightly cheaper price in order to get that known quality. Well, i know what to expect from them except in terms of which version of an item the main link is going to take me to i guess. It would almost be nice if they made a second "direct from Amazon" website where i could be sure that the first choice was always from Amazon if possible =P
So a warning to everyone else who shops at Amazon and prefers to buy directly from Amazon. If the first listing isn't from Amazon, be sure to check the full new and used listings, you might find you can get it from them for a cheaper price than the "real" listing!
(1): For those who recall me complaining about Amazon on other occasions, there are certain things i dislike about them, in regards to patents, DRM, a few aspects about their music store, etc. However taken just as a company that ships a large variety of things to people at reasonable prices they're great. The conflict between my dislike of some of their business practices and my attraction to their affordability and practicality does cause me some internal angst.