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Here’s Why Amazon Doesn’t Sell These 13 Things

Amazon has changed the way we shop—you can get anything on the site, right? Actually, the retail giant has to draw the line on some products. Here are the items you'll have to find elsewhere.

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Pets

Thankfully, you cannot expect to purchase the family pet on Amazon. Pets, livestock, and marine mammals are strictly prohibited from being sold on the site and with good reason—primarily being that none of these should be kept in a warehouse awaiting an order. If you’re prepared to adopt an animal, one option is to search Petco’s listing of adoptable pets in your area. And, of course, rescuing an animal from a local shelter will do a world of good for both your family and its newest member. There’s so much to sift through on Amazon, but these are the items you should always buy from the site.

Coquitlam BC Canada - October 31, 2016 : Man scratching lottery ticket. The British Columbia Lottery Corporation has provided government sanctioned lottery games in British Columbia since 1985.Icatnews/Shutterstock

Lottery tickets

Most of us wouldn’t turn down an opportunity to strike it rich, but you’re still going to have to wait in line if you want to score a lottery ticket. On Amazon’s list of prohibited items are lottery tickets (and coin-operated slot machines, in the event you want to start up a hometown Vegas-style operation). Rules and regulations about selling lotto tickets vary by state and merchants must apply to become a retailer of lottery tickets. For example, the California Lottery asks that potential sellers have more than 200 customers daily, be able to accommodate official Lottery equipment, and be in a retail setting like a grocery or gas station, among others.

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Guns

In Amazon’s guidelines, the site states, “Amazon prohibits the listing or sale of firearm ammunition and ammunition components for assault weapons, black powder guns, handguns, muzzleloaders, pistols, shotguns, and rifles.” However, they do permit BB, air, pellet, and Airsoft ammunition. The reason Amazon stays out of the lethal gun business is that state and local laws vary around the country, and it would be tough for the site to comply. On the flip side, you’ll want to check out these hidden gems sold on Amazon you’re sure to love.

Macro View of the cigarettes and tobacco stack. The tobacco plant is part of the genus nicotiana and of the solanaceae (nightshade) family. Close up with copy paste space, in the gray backgroundFakaury/Shutterstock

Tobacco

You can find a variety of accessories for a smoking habit, like ashtrays, pipes, and cigarette paper, on Amazon, but don’t expect to find any actual tobacco products. E-cigarettes, regardless of whether or not they contain nicotine, are also a no-no on the site. It would simply be tedious for the company to verify the age of buyers ordering tobacco products online. In 2015,  JAMA Pediatrics released a report revealing the ease with which minors could buy e-cigarettes online (76.5 percent of purchase attempts were successful). By taking themselves out of the equation, Amazon can make sure they aren’t violating any federal, state, or local laws.

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Contact lenses

No matter whether you’re looking for contact lenses that are purely cosmetic or those that are corrective, you can’t buy them on Amazon. They’re on the prohibited list because “they do not meet the checklist requirements”—though which requirements those are isn’t clear. You’ll have to mosey on over to a place like CVS to pick up a new pair.

Wine glasses in a row and corks on wooden table against grey backgroundAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Wine

Now here’s where it gets a little tricky: There are some pre-approved sellers who can hawk vino on Amazon, but they have to comply with federal, state, and local laws. For instance, not all states allow the shipping of wine—Kentucky, for example. Amazon Prime Now customers can still get one- or two-hour delivery on wine if a store that serves their area sells it. Verifying that a customer is 21 or older is tricky, so the site wants to limit the practice to sellers who have been pre-approved. Want wine delivered to you? You can always try Winc.

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Gas

Sorry, partner, you can’t stock up on fuel through Amazon. This falls under their “hazardous and dangerous items” umbrella. Shipping gasoline is a truly bad idea. According to the United States Postal Service site, gasoline isn’t mailable under any circumstances. However, they will ship things like camp-stove fuel in limited quantities (Amazon also sells it). You can get great prices on gas at Costco, however, and this is exactly how they keep it so cheap.

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Cars

If you know about the online car seller Carvana, you would probably just assume that you could pick up a new set of wheels on Amazon as well. Not so. They prohibit the sale of motor vehicles that require registration—basically any vehicle you can drive on the road. If you do want to buy a car online, here’s what you really need to know.

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Fireworks

This is a no-brainer considering how many states ban the sale of consumer fireworks altogether. Additionally, Amazon won’t sell you the milder types like sparklers or party snappers. Your best bet? To use some good old-fashioned air-compressed party poppers for any celebrations. We bet you didn’t know that there are actually plenty of things you can get for free on Amazon.

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Confederate flags

After the Charleston Church Massacre that killed nine black parishioners in 2015, Amazon joined other retailers in banning Confederate flag merchandise from being sold on their sites and in their stores. While Amazon didn’t comment on the ban, flag makers Valley Forge stopped producing the Confederate flag and shared their hope for the future with NBC News: “We hope that this decision will show our support for those affected by the recent events in Charleston and, in some small way, help to foster racial unity and tolerance in our country.”

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Real estate—yet


Currently, you can’t purchase real estate on Amazon, but according to The Real Deal, there are rumblings that the e-commerce giant might buy up real estate site Redfin as a way to enter the marketplace. “Really both companies would be better together than they would be apart,” said housing and consumer finance analyst Jack Micenko with Susquehanna Financial Group in a 2019 report. But with so many regulations on buying and selling property that vary from city to city and state to state, it may not be in Amazon’s best interest to head into realtor territory. You may not be able to get real estate, but you can get plenty of very, very bizarre things on Amazon.

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Goat’s milk infant formula

Several years ago there was an uptick in interest surrounding goat’s milk infant formula, with some celebrity moms singing its praises. However, Amazon isn’t buying what they’re selling. Or, rather, they aren’t selling what many of these well-intentioned parents believed to be best for their kids. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, goat’s milk isn’t recommended for infants because it doesn’t contain enough iron; folate; vitamins B6, C, or D; thiamin; niacin; or pantothenic acid. However, sites like Organic Start do carry it if you still want to get your hands on some.

Close-up Of A Burglar With Gloves Picking LockAndrey_Popov/Shutterstock

Theft devices

Criminals will have to look someplace else for crime-committing gadgetry. Amazon prohibits the sale of lock-picking devices, card skimmers, code grabbers, digital decoders, and more. The site doesn’t like the liability implications—and what retailer would want to be associated with hawking items that benefit thieves? Even if you can’t get these 13 things, there are still plenty of things you can buy on Amazon that you’ll use every day.

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