24 November 2012

Breaking Bookstore Etiquette?

While browsing at a local bookstore, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that a book scheduled for release in a couple days (according to multiple online stores) was already on the shelf.  I promptly grabbed a pristine copy and went to the check-out.  After the customary greetings, I asked:

"Are prices here the same as on your website?"

The obvious disappointment and sheer... depression (?) in response to my query made me pause.

"No.  Not necessarily."

I smiled in thanks and returned the book to the shelf, but wow... awkward.  Their reaction made we wonder if I'd committed a social faux pas of some sort. 

Sure, I suppose online book sales cut in to bookstore sales/margins, but this was their own company's website.  Heck, I just went online, ordered the book, and am having it delivered to that very same store for free shipping... oops.

I hope they don't recognize me when I pick it up.  

18 November 2012

On this Day: Twenty Minutes on the Road

Miscellaneous observations during 15-20 minutes on the road in the Land of Tim Hortons:
  1. A compact cutting in front of public bus.  Putting aside the risk to everyone on the bus, that's what... 1 800 kg versus 15 000 kg, or thereabouts?
  2. Automobile on left lane traveling 40 kph in 50 kph zone, and still moseying through a red light.  Heck, even cars traveling ahead of this one easily stopped for the light.
  3. Multiple drivers using one hand to talk on their mobiles.

14 November 2012

LG Nexus 4 and Google Play Store

My current mobile (HTC S620 Excalibur) is a little over six years old, and has served its purpose satisfactorily.  Unfortunately, some of the buttons on the key pad are getting sticky, and the battery is losing its charge.  As a consequence, I've been looking around for a new smart phone. I've actually been looking around for a long while now, but any mobiles that both caught my interest and met my criteria were way too expensive with no contract.

Anywhoo,  although I'm by no means an 'early adopter' of new gadgets and technologies, when the LG Nexus 4 was announced, its price point and early previews were such that I fairly quickly decided this would be my next mobile and that I'd purchase one as soon as it was released.  Which brings me to today's irritation with Google and Google Play on-line store.

Irritation #1:  Google didn't announce what time on the 13th November the Nexus 4 would be available for sale.  Midnight?  Nine am? PST or EST? This lack of information told me Google doesn't think my time is valuable, and they couldn't care less if they waste it.

Irritation #2:  Either Google is incompetent at selling physical items and running on-line stores, or Google purposely 'under-stocked' the Nexus 4 so they could generate 'sold-out in 20 minutes' headlines and drive up demand.  I find it difficult to think Google incompetent.  Though Irritation #3 may suggest otherwise....

Irritation #3:  The fact that I managed to get past the 'input credit card information/billing-shipping address stage' of checkout, on three different occasions, only each time to end up with an error message and the purchase failing to complete, was extremely aggravating.  I can understand a site slowing down and such due to high traffic (though I thought Google would have been better prepared), but once the item is in the shopping cart, and you've entered all the information requested, and then you get an error!?  Frustrating.

Irritation #4:  Despite providing my e-mail address to be notified when the Nexus 4 was available, to date I never received any such e-mail.  What was the point of signing up?  Maybe they used the number of people who signed up as a way to gauge demand... but apparently not (see #2).  On the other-hand, from my point-of-view, as the Nexus 4 was never truly available, perhaps I should have waited for a notification e-mail and, if I had, I wouldn't have wasted my time.  So... shame on me?

Irritation #5:  This last is not really Google's fault, but I had to mention it here.  The fact that while the Nexus 4 was sold-out on the Play Store, units were quickly being advertised on-line (at a significant mark-up) on sites like E-bay -- this bothered me.  I don't begrudge anyone trying to make a quick profit legally.  If someone is willing to pay those inflated prices more power to them.  I just hope that in turn no one begrudges the fact that I sincerely hope the number of people who are willing to pay inflated prices (instead of waiting for Google to re-stock, or moving on to a different mobile) are few and far between.

Whew.  This post turned out longer than I thought it would be.  So... what now?  For myself it's now a simple matter of waiting to see which occurs first:  whether Google can make available for purchase (by me!) a Nexus 4, or another mobile is released that meets my criteria and price.