The reason "two days" doesn't always mean two days.

By Meghan Overdeep
March 29, 2018

Let's face it: Amazon Prime's free two-day shipping is a godsend. Simply place an order, and two days later, voila, there it is.

Or is it?

One intrepid Lifehacker reporter recently found out the hard way that Amazon's two-day shipping doesn't guarantee that your item will be on your doorstep in two days.

After getting the runaround from a handful of Amazon customer service representatives while trying to understand why his package was being delivered in five days instead of two, he finally got an answer: "Amazon Prime's two-day shipping doesn't kick in until the item is actually shipped from a fulfillment center," a forthcoming rep informed him via chat.

A-ha! That explains it! Items appear as "in stock" online even if they're not available anywhere nearby. Naturally, it can take a few days for your item to make it to the fulfillment center nearest you, and it's at that point that the two-day countdown begins.

To be fair, Amazon is usually pretty realistic about when you can expect your delivery. If you pay attention to the estimated delivery date during purchasing, you might notice that certain sellers take longer than two days. Shop around a bit until you find one with a delivery date that works for you, and if you need it ASAP consider forking over the extra money for an expedited option.