Category Archives: Shopping

Talk About a No-Hassle Refund

When Caroline and I recently exchanged seasonal gifts we discovered that we’d given each other the same CD. So I set out to return one of them on Amazon, which involves going to the site, finding the order, and printing out a mailing label and then shipping it back for a refund net of shipping costs. Or at least, it usually does.

Not this time:


The economics of this boggle the mind. Meanwhile I have a nice CD to regift to someone.

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Baguettes of Memory

Ta-Nehisi Coates cold turkeys from Paris and French food:

What I remember about the baguettes in Paris is that they were cheap and I never had a desire to put anything on them. They are a meal onto themselves. And I also suspect they were laced with narcotics.

via How to Become a Foodie.

Was it Oscar Wilde who said “When good Americans die they go to Paris”?

And by the way, I don’t agree with him about Whole Foods baguettes. Now, their (really expensive) cheese, on the other hand …

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Sears Still Finding New Ways to Drive Customers Berserk

Jeff Lipshaw gets the Sears telemarketer treatment, over and over and over….


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You Would Think a Cell Phone Company Would Want to Blanket an Airport

Verizon, my current cell phone provider, has no signal at the American baggage claim area at MIA. No bars. No data. No phone. No texts. Nothing. Just a phone getting warm as it tries to punch out or pull in a signal.

This isn’t a one-off thing today — I’ve noticed this problem before, as have family members. There is great coverage at the Miami airport while you are on board the plane, and perfectly fine coverage when you are on the departures level. But baggage claim is the lowest level; it’s street level but in every other respect feels like a basement as there is lots of concrete between the person and the sky.

Anyway, being the helpful sort of cuss that I am, I phoned in the problem to Verizon when I got home. The guy took down the info, and said he’d send it off to the right department. Then he kindly explained that Verizon doesn’t promise coverage everywhere, which seemed an odd way to thank me for pointing out that they don’t serve a major part of a major airport, which you would think Verizon would want to do. I asked if anyone would get in touch with me to tell me if they were going to fix the problem. No, he said, that department doesn’t talk to customers.

I complimented him on Verizon’s great customer service, and asked if he would recommend AT&T. “That’s not what I’m saying,” he gamely replied.

You would think a cell phone company might want to cover the busy baggage area at a major airport, no?

As it happens, I am outside the 2-year period on my contract and, although I didn’t mention it, AT&T does have the HTC One…. Problem is, though, I used to have AT&T. I don’t recall if they have a signal in the bowels of MIA, but I do recall that they were, overall, worse at customer service than Verizon.

As for the HTC One, it doesn’t have a SD card, but otherwise, it sounds really good. Switching costs are high though, as I’d lose my unlimited data plan at Verizon…although keeping it would require buying new phones outright rather than taking subsidized ones…

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Sears Still Can’t Deliver

Tung Yin experiences Sears delivery. Sounds all too familiar.

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The Science Behind Making Me Feel Bad at Malls

I hate shopping in malls and giant department stores. One reason is that I always feel like they’ve dialed back on the oxygen.1 Another reason is that large shops are usually disorienting — no directional cues (e.g. windows to see the sun), no maps, little signage, less discernible logic.

How interesting to discover that there’s a science to making me feel that way: the Gruen transfer. And that Ikea are past masters at milking this disorientation. (We used to shop at Ikea in Neasden when we lived in London.)

Now if only I could figure out what Dadeland is doing to the air to make you want to buy something and get the heck out of there.

  1. I should perhaps note that I have no other symptoms of claustrophobia, and indeed enjoyed caving when younger. []
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