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    • I am on record on Cake as saying I've had toooooo mmaaannnnyyyy shipping problems with Amazon, especially when they went to an Uber-style model of independent deliverers in their own cars. Packages were lost, mis-delivered, delayed. Argh.

      And then... They bought 100,000 freakin' vans, hired and trained uniformed drivers, wrote great tracking software and voila: I think they have revolutionized distribution like no other company has been able to do.

      Example: I bought camera gear from B&H and paid $17 for next-day shipping. Dunno why not Amazon, because next day was free. Habit, I guess.

      Of course my $17 FedEX-powered overnight didn't arrive, so I tried to track the shipping today, on the 24th, and FedEX says it will be delivered yesterday. WTF?

    • Yikes @Chris!

      My Amazon shipments have been good for the most part.

      The one shipment that got messed up they fixed immediately. It was a UPS shipment, and the day that it was due to be delivered I received a notification that it had been delivered but the address was not mine - it was a business address in the next town. I called Amazon and they immediately re-shipped the item to me, overnight, no charge. The misdirected shipment actually showed on my doorstep a month later. I called Amazon again for instructions on how to return the item since if I returned it normally they would issue a credit and that would have meant no payment at all for the item that I had received after the re-ship. They handled the return by having me leave it at my door for UPS to pick up. All good.

      Is there any way to reach a person at FedEx? Or can B&H get involved?

    • I tend to agree that no one ships as quickly, as accurately, or as easily as Amazon, for goods sold BY Amazon, and not a third party vendor on Amazon's site. They are also easy to return purchases to as well. Folks can say lots of things about Mr Bezos, but he revolutionized the shop from home mail order style market.

      Now Amazon even delivers on Saturday and Sunday, wow! And for Prime members, the cost is usually nada.

      I receive a fair number of boxes from B&H also, and I have a very high opinion of them as a vendor and shipper, but sometimes, well, stuff happens, right?

      My biggest complaint with B&H is not their fault at all, but their vendors who are still not delivering items to B&H in a timely manner. Some of this delay has almost certainly been Covid related, but I am still waiting on a promised long lens from Olymus and a long RF lens from Canon.

      I have been impressed that a large number of small independent start up vendors do a very very good job of accepting orders, and promptly shipping their goods, such that I receive them in just a few days between ordering and receiving.

      Lume Cube is one that has impressed me, and another is G-Tech, that makes heated hand warmers. I ordered my Li battery heated hand warmer in the middle of the frozen disaster in Texas last month despite the warning that their facility was without electric power and might be slightly delayed, but I wanted it for chasing short eared owls. To my surprise, my purchases showed up in less than 7 days despite their warnings about power outages - Now that's first class service I think!

      When I have a failure with delivery, with either Fed Ex or UPS, I drive over to the local FedEx or UPS trucking delivery site, both of which have a human powered office for shipping packages. Sometimes you just gotta get past their robots, and talk to a real human......

      It is amazing the array of items one can have delivered to your doorstep today

    • One of the biggest concerns in our area has been people stealing packages off people's front porches. Have you or any one else for that matter have issues with that? I don't think we've had it happen to us, but a friend from church was telling us it's a concern in our area.

    • I tried getting ahold of FedEX and B&H for awhile but thought it wouldn't do much good. The next afternoon, my package showed up via two plain-clothes guys in an unmarked white delivery van. B&H eventually sent an automated email saying they apologize, but the shippers are overwhelmed with volume right now.

      You gotta hand it to Bezos, what if he hadn't bought his ginormous fleet of delivery vans and hired some insane number of drivers? I notice in our area that even though they bought 100,000 vans from Mercedes, many of the vans with Amazon drivers are rentals from Hertz or somebody.

      In other news, I just got this abrupt message from UPS. Not exactly friendly wording Amazon would have used:

    • Yeah, on the social network NextDoor, I see a lot of alerts for porch pirates. Our house is removed from the street and our ripped neighbor is always out on his driveway with his shirt off, even to read the paper, so I don't think anyone would dare.

    • I have heard of porch pirates in our area, mostly through the NextDoor App, thankfully we have not had any issues.

      I am very surprised by the number of people that have cameras in our neighborhood and have no problem with posting videos on NextDoor of the all the going ons in the neighborhood...A LOT of disagreements between neighbors posted for all to see. Best handled face to face in a respectful manner IMHO.

    • On the other hand, I ordered this yesterday afternoon from Amazon and it arrived today, Saturday, at 11:15 am. Amazing.

    • I ordered something from Amazon for my sister sometime last year and she received it the same day I placed the order. If I remember correctly she had it within 2 or 3 hours.

    • It's amazing how they keep track of order history. The below was my first ever Amazon order.. many thousands of dollars more spent till these days, and keep using their store and services, quite exhaustively for anything, from motorcycle tires and specialty motor oils, to electronics, to clothing and sardines from Spain! In all these years I can count on one hand's fingers any problem I may have had receiving my orders. And usually that was from some third party, easily resolved with a simple cancellation for refund. Now, about that "Prime" delivery van driver making U turns in mine and neighbor's driveway, a while back once or twice, leaving tire marks on the fresh power washed cement, am not so sure I'd applaud... Thankfully it's only been a one time occurrence so far.

    • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values copyright 1974 - wow, that was a while ago, there are even several guide books to follow that book through time and space now. I loved that book!

      I ordered Mary Doria Russell's "The Sparrow" from Amazon, in 1997, and it is on the shelf behind me right now. I could not find any earlier orders of mine in Amazon's digital archive, but I would have sworn I was ordering in 1995 or so, but memories are funny things.

      The world has changed a lot in the last 25 years.

    • Amazon warehouses items based on historical demand. So if you order something other people in your area have recently ordered, there is a good chance the item will be close by.

    • Of course, I grok the concept of AI computer managed inventory based on surrounding local ordering, but one of the things most amazing is that I can find some of the most obscure, small, inexpensive devices and products that would seem to have limited demand, and very limited profitablility for Amazon - meaning that I fairly often search for very specific parts or products that trully cannot be being sold to large numbers of my local citizenry, or are so inexpensive they are almost trivial sales. Parts, tool, chemicals, that one could never have found in local store shelves at all anywhere in my commmunity, and in lot sizes from very small to vast in size. And without spending days searching for the items too. MY Time matters, just like Mr Bezos says.

      Just take a look at the number and types of nail files on Amazon, its almost endless..... Or tooth picks. Hard to find huge profits in tooth picks I would wager. After 7 very long pages of 100s of various wood, plastic, and metal, including titanium, tooth picks I quit looking, even though Amazon offered me still more pages of tooth picks..... I even briefly thought about ordering a titanium pocket tooth pick, you never know when you might need one....🥺

      I replaced over a dozen 8 foot long, decades old, T12 flourescent light tubes in my barn with 8 foot long LED tubes from China ( of course ) via Amazon - they work splendidly, are much brighter, use less electricity, start immediately in very cold weather unlike many flourescent out of door fixtures, should last longer, and cost less, and helped me get rid of the flourescent bulbs and their potential contamination in my barn if one broke. And they fit in my previous flourescent fixtures too, so the fixtures did not have to be replaced at a significant cost and a major labor savings! Try disconnecting, taking down, and then putting back up and rewiring back up, a dozen 8 foot long fixtures on 12 foot high ceilings by your self, standing on a step ladder......They arrived in just a few days, since, an 8 foot long bundle, 2 feet in diameter, and a bit delicate at that, did not ship as quickly via UPS, but via a freight truck.

      Now, I live less than 80 miles from an Amazon super center in Indianapolis that is a couple city blocks in size, so there's that.......

      All of these almost endless choices for sale, and an endless library of choices of books in my hands. No wonder I'm a fan.

      I am amazed at how foolish I was for never buying Amazon stock all those years they were never profitable while I was purchasing from them right along. Peter Lynch told me own what you use, many years ago..... 🤔

    • So I knew Jeff in the early days and one of the things that always amazed me is what he was willing to do to get attention and customer satisfaction.

      He was so very late to the online bookstore market — having been beaten by well-established startups like books.com and 100 other online bookstores (AT&T was profiling some of them in their TV ads in 1993, three years before Amazon launched). Books.com had 250,000 titles, more than the biggest Barnes & Noble superstores (160,000). Essentially, every book in print.

      So what did Jeff do? He put the entire Books In Print CD online even though 75% of them couldn't be had. He was willing to take the order, try to get the book, and then tell the customer he did his best.

      That one move made him Yahoo's Cool Site Of The Day (a big deal back then) 3 days after their launch.

      And they he and a board member managed to raise ungodly amounts of money to survive the crash of 2,000. Amazing.

      Warren Buffett said they were a miracle and he doesn't invest in miracles.

    • So, in my foolish reticence to invest in Amazon, I, at least, did a poorly rendered emulation of Warren Buffett. Well, that's encouraging, then, I would hope😃 Or maybe a demonstration of senescence😟

      Back 25 years ago, I would make a ~180 mile round trip, at least two or three times a month, just to get to a large bookstore, like Barnes&Noble, to see what was new and worth reading. Kinda like when I was 8 years old and took my wagon to the public library once a week. It's an old habit of mine, from way back.

      When Amazon debuted, I was amazed, particularly as the number of very old, used, out of print books I could find. I think I told the story of listening to Robert Ballard speak about his marine explorations at the local university, and mention several books he read when he was a teenager, that contributed to his career in underwater exploration. I was able to find those books easily on Amazon, published in the mid 1950s for a few pennies each. A couple had been sitting in the Kansas City Mo Public Library and sold for lack of public usage.

      I became a sold customer immediately, and cut my driving to bookstores in a major way. For two reasons - one even I, a non trained web user, could find things quickly and easily - and - once ordered, goods reliably, and quickly, showed up on my door step, exactly as described. No bait and switch, no unexplained delays, or failures to deliver as promised. The positive stimulus response arc conditioned me quickly to view Amazon in a favorable light.

      I know of many other vendors that I purchase from, that are not as expeditious, nor as consistent, nor as reliable in the quality of their goods that I am, forced to purchase from, from time to time, but it is always with just a dash more anxiety than when I can get the goods from Amazon. Being your customer's lesser favored vendor is not the best long term viability plan, I would submit.

    • I used to own four bookstores in Silicon Valley, Computer Literacy, one was the biggest computer bookstore in the world with 20,000 titles, academic books no one had.

      Each year a college student from Michigan would fly out to our store in San Jose and spend a couple days shopping for books. He'd rent a U-Haul that he parked in the parking lot and would drive it back to Michigan with his haul of books.

      His father Carl was a professor of computer science at the University of Michigan and a pioneer in computer science and artificial intelligence. His mother was a computer science instructor.

      His name was Larry and eventually he moved to our area to attend Stanford and major in computer science. He and a friend there developed some search engine tech that they tried to sell for a million dollar$ to established search engine companies like Excite and Yahoo — big, hot companies. They didn't bite and a friend of mine who worked at Excite told me why: search was not supposed to be great because it wasn't profitable; it was supposed to keep you on their portal where they could display good ads.

      Discouraged, Larry and his friend Sergey tried to start their own search engine company but Yahoo and Excite were right, the business model was tough. A few people, like Jeff Bezos invested in it on the premise that you should invest in what you use. Eventually, Larry and Sergey caved on their founding principles and started to run text-based ads on their search engine and since then they have managed to eke out a living.

      Their new campus near our houzz sure is beautiful.

    • You certainly got to know a lot of very interesting people ( I got the reference).

      I was in Palo Alto in the early 1960s, and just watched a lot of political demonstrations and marches against the bomb. 🥺

      I recognize that Amazon ascent has not been without its adverse effects on many smaller businesses, including retail book vendors, and small towns. I can remember similar statements about Wal-Mart too back in the day.

      I need to wander through my local bookstore this spring if it still exists. I haven't been downtown for amost a year.

      Are we really going to see another version of the roaring 20's before this is all over again?