It is time for me to restock some of my spices so I went to my two favorite spice websites, Penzeys and The Spice House, armed with my shopping list. The first thing I noticed on Penzeys site is they now offer free shipping on orders over $30, and $7.95 shipping on orders less than that. The Spice House charges a two dollar handling fee per order and then ships by weight. My typical order's shipping cost would be approximately $9.
As is my habit, I compared the two and I was surprised to see how much "free shipping" costs. The price differences between the two locations for essentially similar products in similar sized packages was staggering to say the least.
While Penzeys has always been a bit more expensive, I was shocked to see how much more they are now. I why won't bore you with the details of the shopping list, but there were 14 items. In no case were Penzeys prices equal to or lower than The Spice House. The smallest price difference was $.86 more (4 ounces of minced onions) and the biggest was a whopping $6.76 extra for 4 ounces of whole nutmegs.
The upshot of all of this is that the order at Penzeys costs nearly $25 more than the same items at The Spice House, even factoring in the $9 shipping cost. There are a couple blends from Penzeys that I really like, and when it is time to reorder I'll suck it up and pay the premium, but for most of my spice by needs The Spice House will get the majority of my dollars.