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Posts tagged shopping

I’ve Got the Gadget Shopping Blues!
December 16, 2014 | 8:59 am

gadget shoppingI am gadget shopping this week! And wow, what a pain it is. All these years of computer-owning, and I still feel like every time I buy a new one, there is all this manual labor involved. How have they not found ways to make this easier yet? I have an Apple store gift card that has been earmarked for a new iPad Air. My iPad 2 is starting to show its age a little, and I had an opportunity to make a deal with my boss for it, so I seized the opportunity. I have been happy enough with the...

Why is Black Friday now Black Thursday Night? Blame Amazon
November 18, 2014 | 11:06 pm

black-friday-comic-2Tis the season. As we gear up for the Christmas shopping rush to begin, we face a dilemma that’s become a lot more prominent in recent years: many retailers are going to open for early Black Friday shopping on Thanksgiving evening. This has horrified a certain percentage of people who see it as another sign of the commercialized holiday’s insidious creep. If the slippery slope slide continues, before you know it we’re going to witness a sort of reverse Nightmare Before Christmas scenario in which Santa Claus decides he wants to take over Halloween. But what really seems to...

Why fear Firefly when you can go with the Flow?
June 19, 2014 | 2:37 pm

fireflyNo, not that Firefly. Various sites are referring to the Amazon Fire Phone’s “Firefly” image recognizer as a “built-in showrooming tool.” Which I suppose it is, when you get right down to it. But it’s not as if it’s that much harder for folks to install a “showrooming tool” of their own, such as QR Droid, or even Amazon’s own “Flow” showrooming tool, on the phones they already have. In fact, having just tried “Flow” out for the first time, I can safely say it basically is Firefly (or, at least, the subset of what Firefly does...

For Jeff Bezos, customer convenience is king
April 6, 2014 | 3:11 pm

Forbes has another profile of Jeff Bezos. Seems we’ve been seeing those a lot lately, what with that recent book on the man. This one looks particularly at Bezos’s intense focus on customer satisfaction. Actually, “satisfaction” doesn’t seem to go quite far enough, because “satisfaction” implies a middle-of-the-scale response. Bezos wants the customer wowed. He wants to make everything as convenient as possible, even to the point of shaving fractions of a second from page load times. That kind of obsession might be easy to make fun of, but give the man his due: he’s running a multi-billion dollar corporation that...

Christmas Eve in a bookstore: How it used to be
December 24, 2013 | 12:58 pm

100326VaughnCarrie Vaughn, author of the Kitty Norville werewolf novels, has posted to her blog an amusing tale of the Christmas Eves she used to work in a bookstore, right after college. She explains that she actually loved working Christmas Eve, in spite of the conventional wisdom about holiday-season retail, because last-minute bookstore shoppers were generally very easy to please, and in miraculously helping them find exactly what she needed, she got to “[feel] like Wonder Woman.” Because bookstores are, for the most part, staffed by intelligent, well-read people who want nothing more than to foist vast...

Lessons Learned During a Cross-Border Shopping Trip
August 6, 2013 | 5:07 pm

shoppingI've just gotten back from a little birthday getaway—we had a long weekend here and the Beloved took an extra day off to whisk me away for the big 3-6. And I realized that there is nothing better for clarifying the issues facing bricks-and-mortar retail right now than a little cross-border shopping. Lessons learned? 1. In the Brave New Internet World, it's Always Party Time! The Internet means you can celebrate anywhere. Isn't that fun? We were halfway to Buffalo, N.Y., when my phone bleeped with an email greeting from my dad, complete with an Amazon gift card appended to the message....

The Human Cost of Big-Box Online Shopping
July 31, 2013 | 7:32 pm

online shoppingA Facebook friend sent this oldish-but-goodie my way from Mother Jones, titled "I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave." Author Mac McClelland writes about a stint with a company she refers to as Amalgamated Product Giant Shipping Worldwide Inc., a massive fulfillment company that ships all manner of Web-ordered product. (If the online chatter can be believed, Amalgamated is actually the Amazon Warehouse in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley. —Ed.) MacClelland asks some good questions, the primary of which is this: humane labor costs money, while slave labor does not. How did you think they were swinging the free shipping? She begins with this explanatory anecdote: "We...

My Answers Expert Articles: Online Shopping, Blogging, Writing
June 22, 2013 | 6:40 am

faceshot_thumb[2]Yesterday I posted links to some of my articles as the “PC Expert” for Answers.com’s Experts program. Here are the other articles of possible relevance to TeleRead. I’ve written plenty of others as well, but they were not relevant enough to link here. These are about online shopping, gift-giving, and media services: Give Gifts Instantly with the Internet Using Amazon's Wish Lists to Make Shopping Easier Amazon Prime Offers Free Shipping, Streaming, and Reading How to Give or Get Free Stuff with Freecycle Five Free Streaming Music Services Six Web-Based Apps for Mobile Instant Messaging Here are a few pertaining specifically to blogging or writing: Where Did Blogging Come...

Amazon price-matching app causes concern for bricks and mortar
December 13, 2011 | 8:15 pm

Amazon has been running a promotion with a new smartphone-based price-checking tool that lets users scan the barcodes of items in stores and compare the prices to items Amazon sells to earn 5% store store credit per item for up to three items (excluding books). Amazon has been coming in for a bit of criticism for the promotion, given that it is trying to pull even more dollars away from brick and mortar retailers at the time of year when they make the greatest amount of sales. Author Richard Russo has a fairly long opinion piece on this in...

Black Friday e-reading deals: Nook, Apple
November 23, 2011 | 11:51 am

Black Friday is almost upon us, and it bids fair to be an e-reader kind of holiday season. There’s no word yet from Amazon on any discounts on its Kindle products (though it seems to be discounting just about everything else), but Barnes & Noble has announced a special deal on a “Limited Edition” of its Nook Simple Touch e-reader—in stores only, it’s knocking $20 off the price. This brings it down to $79—on par with Amazon’s lowest-tier ad-supported Kindle price. Amusingly, one of its listed benefits is No Annoying Ads Reading...

Apple’s new rules create a usability problem in ebook apps
July 25, 2011 | 11:05 am

If you're one of those people who loads up your iOS device with lots of apps, you've possibly already experienced the problem Martin Taylor is having this morning: When I try to download an ebook from the Kobo store using the Safari web browser on my iPad -- this is the new procedure users must follow now that Kobo's in-app store has been cut off from the iPhone and iPad -- the ebooks won't open in the Kobo reading app. Instead, what I was offered to open my Kobo ebook was a choice of Bluefire or OverDrive, two Adobe DRM-compliant reading...

Amazon tablet could be the Sears Catalog of the 21st century
July 14, 2011 | 11:21 am

While reading various articles today about the forthcoming Amazon tablet, it struck me that of all the giant media companies entering this space, only Amazon routinely and successfully sells physical goods across a vast array of product categories—not just consumer electronics or digital media, but houseware, printed books, clothing, tools, toys, lamps, those little pet sweaters, luggage, and so on. An Amazon tablet that ships pre-loaded with access to everything Amazon has to offer, including its no-brainer payment options like One-Click and Prime, means it can provide something no other competitor can: a portable, interactive, instant-gratification sales catalog, the 21st...