About a year ago, I saw an listing on a deal site for a Zappos VIP membership. A Zappos VIP membership, which was itself free, gives you a litany of perks but the best is free next business day shipping on all of your orders for life. It seems seems like a ridiculous deal (Amazon Prime offers two day shipping at $79 a year and Amazon owns Zappos), so I signed up. Non-VIPs get two day shipping, so they are still pretty fast.
Fast forward a few months, after the deal ended, and it appears I took advantage of a special offer because the signup page  now has a waiting list sign up form.
Updated Dec 10, 2012: Zappos is currently giving away  free VIP memberships as a thank you to Facebook fans. This gives you free overnight shipping and expedited returns.
Here’s the interesting part, if you go to vip.zappos.com  and start shopping, you are given the ability to create a vip.zappos.com account upon checkout. Add something to your cart, checkout, and click the “Register and Checkout” button. On this next page you are given the ability to create an account for the “special” VIP site, the same type of account you’d get for joining the waiting list I mentioned earlier. I’m not quite sure why the regular sign up page has a waiting list but here’s a way to get a VIP account for anyone.
In addition to the tangible benefit of next business day shipping, VIP members can earn badges and points for writing reviews and buying products. There is a special VIP only  section with contest and giveaways – but ultimately the best perk is the next business day shipping. Since discovering Zappos, I haven’t purchased a pair of shoes anywhere else. I order what I think I like and return anything I’m not 100% in love with. I don’t know how they make money off me but I’ve probably ordered a dozen shoes and kept three (in some cases, I ordered two sizes of the same shoe).
I knew about the company before Amazon acquired them but I never purchased anything, but I imagine it doesn’t get that much better than this in terms of customer service. So if you’ve been wanting to get into the VIP section, this is your ticket in. No waiting required. 🙂