It's been a great ride.
Since the dawn of the Internet age, consumers have been able to log on and buy just about anything without having to pay a sales tax.
As long as you didn't need the item right away, it was a nice way to save a few bucks.
But those days appear to be numbered.
Amazon.com, the largest online retailer in North America, announced last week it will now collect Pennsylvania's 6 percent sales tax on orders placed from the Keystone State.
The move puts the Internet giant in compliance with a 2011 state Department of Revenue requirement that online businesses collect the tax if they have a physical presence in Pennsylvania.
Just our luck, Amazon operates a fulfillment center in York County and five others across the state, including two in Cumberland County, one in Luzerne County and two in Lehigh County.
While the new sales tax is likely to anger more than a few shoppers, it's a boon for Pennsylvania's brick-and-mortar businesses, which have always had to collect and remit the sales tax to the state.
"It's about time," said Melissa Grove, owner of Sweet Melissa's Dream in downtown York. "My customers and I both have to pay sales tax. Why shouldn't Amazon?"
The Revenue Department estimated it will lose $380 million in sales tax this year because of people buying online.
That's money Pennsylvania can certainly use in these tough economic times, as public education and social services have seen their state funding cut over the past few years.
Would you rather see property taxes increase to make up the difference -- or a new sales tax that you can choose not to pay (by not buying an item)?
If you really want to save those few dollars, you probably can find another online retailer that offers the same item but doesn't collect the state sales tax.
But better do your homework and make sure they don't have a physical presence in Pennsylvania. The state seems intent on collecting what it's owed, and Amazon isn't likely to be the last company to change its policies.
In fact, you wouldn't be off the hook completely just by finding a tax-free online connection.
Technically -- well, legally -- Pennsylvania consumers are required to report and remit a 6 percent "use tax" when the seller isn't required to collect the sales tax.
That's not new; it's been the law for some 60 years -- a law most people have ignored.
And the state wants that money, too.
The Department of Revenue added a new line on this year's PA-40 income tax, requiring people to tally their Internet purchases and report the 6 percent use tax.
Knowing people might not know exactly how much they spent online, the department provided a table, based on income, for filers to estimate what they owe. For instance, someone who makes $50,001 to $75,000 probably spent about $383 online during the year and owes $23.
It's voluntary for now, but a Revenue Department spokeswoman said last year officials are exploring ways to expand enforcement through new technology.
Yes, it looks like the party's winding down.