25 Jul 2003 SyntaxPolice   » (Journeyer)

Buying online gives me the willies

This entry is somewhat off-topic :)

I don't like buying things. When I go into a store, I get what I need and leave. I'm sure many of you are like that. When I buy stuff online, I usually buy it from the manufacturer, for better or worse, because at least I've heard of them for heaven's sake.

I decided I'd buy an orinoco wireless card (see my last entry), but could only find them on these "Computer parts mall" type stores, none of which I've heard of. So I actually started reading online reviews of the stores themselves and found one that didn't have too many complaints.

I will need to buy a new PDA soon, but there are too many choices, I can't digest all the information available to me. Even if I limit myself to handspring phone-type machines (I have one now), I still can't ever get through picking a model, narrowing the field, finding good prices from a reputable store, figuring out what the linux support is like, etc. I usually give up. When its something that I really need, I usually just end up picking something rather arbitrarily after digging through way too much information. <hr>

This all reminds me of an email exchange I had with a person (lets assume they were male for the sake of this story) who was selling a used food processor. I emailed him to ask what the model number was so I could check out online reviews. Amazon's reviews were the worst I had ever seen in my life. The average was 2 out of 5, several people said they wished they could give it negative stars. One person even complained that the machine cought fire! Another said that it smelled like burning. So anyway, the guy was asking $15 (original price $35) or best offer. It wasn't worth that much to me, so I decided to make him a really low offer in case he couldn't sell it, I decided I'd be polite about it, but only offer him $5.

Owch, it got truly terrible reviews on Amazon including catching fire
for someone!  If you don't get any better offers I'd give you $5 or
maybe a little more for it.  But good luck with the rest of your stuff

All the best.



I thought that was pretty polite, probably could have been better. I always sign my emails with "peace". Here's his reply, which to my satisfaction, I did manage to _not_ reply to:


if u don't know how to handle fire, u might catch fire too - does that mean there is something wrong with u? anyways, thanks for ur offer... if i someday need ur $5, i will surely let u know.

peace, ???

I guess he's got a point there. In some deep, philosophical sense, any of us could catch fire at any time. Why reject a food processor just because it has that fire-catching property of all beings inherently possess?

yours in fire,


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