February 28, 2007

The Ipod Quandary

When it’s possible, I enjoy listening to my ipod at work, usually on shuffle simply because I enjoy the variety. It’s amazing sometimes how shuffle has the ability to find, and repeat, some of the most forgettable songs in your collection. But every occasionally, the goddess of shuffle will serve up a tune really appeals to you at that moment and it makes you stop working long enough to enjoy the song for a minute or two.

And it is at precisely those moments that the crisis de jour will arise and force you to remove the headphones. Said crisis will continue to occupy the rest of the work day and never again allow you to return to the solace of the ipod.

So while I enjoy the ipod at work, I am forced to pray for crap in the playlist.

Posted by Clancy at 4:46 PM | TrackBack

February 12, 2007

Has Amazon Jumped the Shark?

I buy a lot of stuff online. Last Christmas, every single thing I bought was bought online. (Full disclosure: Only one item came from Amazon, and that was from a 3rd party retailer in Amazon, not Amazon directly.)

Anyway – Last Wednesday I ordered some video editing software (for my new computer, bought online) so I can edit video shot on my nifty hard-drive camcorder (also bought online) and create something to send my grandmother (who I keep promising it coming) and Amazon still has the item listed as ‘Shipping Soon’.

So this morning I send an inquiry to Amazon with my order number a simple ‘WTF?’ in the body. Their site told me I could wait up to 24 hours for a response. Surprisingly, the response came in about 3 hours. And the respondent told me that if I want it shipped faster, I should chose something other than ‘Super Saver Shipping.’ (There are three Amazon warehouses within 150 miles of my home – exactly how long can shipping take?)

I responded by pointing out that the problem is not with the shipping. The product isn’t on a truck yet – and that’s the problem. The shipper hasn’t even been granted an opportunity to screw this up yet.

So I went back to Amazon and walked through buying something else. This time I really paid attention when I selected the shipping and low and behold I saw this line: “(Note that your order will take an additional 3-5 days to ship.)” If you read that line as literal as its written, you’ll notice that it clearly states that it will “take an additional 3-5 days to ship.” Hmmm…

We’ve all read storied about how fast and efficient Amazon’s warehouses are – so much so they are case studies in business school how to build a proper retail distribution system.

So whaddayabet that Amazon actually had to write code into their order tracking/picking system to automatically delay the picking of an order by 5 days when a customer selects ‘Super Saver Shipping’ all in an effort to get the extra $4 from the customer for “normal” shipping that’s really the same shipping “super saver” was before the ‘delay’ code went into effect?

Smooth move Jeff. Real smart. I hope that $4 offsets the customers like me who will just shop elsewhere. There is too much competition on the ‘net for this stuff…

(Newegg does the same thing, but they only delay it a day or two. And I factor the additional wait in when shopping there…)

Postscript: Order shipped 2/13 (too late in the day to catch that day’s sort) the fifth business day after the order was placed and received on 2/15. The kicker? It shipped from the Amazon warehouse 10.4 miles from my house.

To their credit, Amazon did credit me $5 for complaining (on the second complaint).

So – bottom line, use super saver shipping if and only if an 8 – 10 day wait is acceptable.

Posted by Clancy at 2:37 PM | TrackBack