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Xmas 2006 - Moral Dilemna - Spend Locally or at Amazon


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I have a real crisis with this every year and this year is going to be no different. Should I spend my money locally or seek a better deal elsewhere?

 

I have picked on one particular business as an example and as they have had the Post Office shove their magazine unsolicited through my door. I am going to compare them with Amazon as I remember mention of 15,000 packages from Amazon were processed through the Lerwick sorting office last year.

 

Fuji FinePix A500

Local £99.99 (free xd card and case)

Amazon £88.75

 

Fuji FinePix A600

Local £119.99 (free 2 xd cards and case)

Amazon £89.78

 

Fuji FinePix S6500fd

Local £299.99 (free xd card and case)

Amazon £238.85

 

Fuji FinePix F10

Local 149.99

Amazon £138.21

 

Fuji FinePix S5600

Local £199.99 (free £55 accessory kit)

Amazon £139

 

The Amazon prices quoted are for the camera and carriage only and don't include any "free" items, but items that are free are without cost (and often without value!).

 

If I was on a good wage I would probably not give it a second thought. I would be off down the street waving wads of cash at everyone of the local businesses, but I don't. I need to spend my money effectively. I need to get the best value. If any of these cameras were made in sweat shops by underpaid people in the Far East it makes no difference whether I buy them locally or from Amazon!

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In the above example, the first thing i would question is the size of the XD cards. If they are appropriately large then the local deals would mostly come out tops in my book.

 

And another factor oft forgot in our reserved culture, it pays to negotiate (haggle!). Not much chance of haggling with Amazon.

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A couple of years ago I was in the market for a new tv. I found a local shop which sold the one I wanted but they were about £150 dearer than south (£650 compared to £500), nevertheless I decided to go local as, if there was any problem with the tv it would be dealt with quickly locally with the minimum of hassle.

 

Of course, just before the garuantee ran out (luckily), my tv died. I phoned up the local shop to report the fault only to be told to bring the tv in myself. I then found out that the 'local' repair service they quoted on their garuantee involved them shipping my tv to Orkney! And furthermore I would have to do without a telly for the 3 weeks (minimum) it would take to fix.

 

Needless to say, I phoned their head office south to complain (can you guess who it is yet?) and got some arses kicked. The next day a truck turned up to pick up my telly and drop off another 28" widescreen job to keep me going while mine underwent surgery. (in Orkney)

 

The moral of the story? Don't assume that the aftersales service will be any better for being local. :wink:

 

P.S How do you spell garuantee?

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It used to be that the argument was what if the item went wrong. I have indirect experience of both sides of the coin.

 

Local company - "We are not responsible contact the manufacturer". Ironically a camera!

 

Amazon - "Just send it back, would you like a refund or a replacement".

 

There was of course the value of local expertise, but this usually boiled down to talking to a spotty youth in one of the major high street retailers when I was on the mainland who knew less than I. This was opposed to incisive reviews on independent websites and user feedback.

 

There is certainly a lot in the vote for how you want the world to be Fjool.

 

As far as the prices of XD cards are concenred, or more accurately memory in general. I have spotted a 2gb Kingston USB key on Amazon for under £20. Memory prices continue to fall and would expect that the "free" offers are of less value than might be being suggested.

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My first dealing with Amazon happened when a local book store told me they could not even order the book I wanted until they got an updated disc for their catalogue (or something like that). So I went home, checked on the Amazon website, found and ordered the book and saved some money off the full retail price which the bookshop would have charged me.

 

That said book buying is about more than price.....the feel of the book, print quality and paper quality all matter and Amazon cannot replicate that. And I do not look in a local shop and then buy from Amazon.

 

Much the same for cameras.........having the beast in your hand so you can find out that your fingers are too big for the buttons is again something Amazon cannot offer. And if the camera goes wrong there is the chance to take your complaint to someone face to face.....and if that fails then walking up and down outside the shop with some sort of sign would be sure to produce a result. :D

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On a much smaller scale. I ventured into town to buy Pirates of the Carribean 2 on DVD this weekend.

Now I know that the 2-disc version is going for less than a tenner in bricks and mortar stores down south. I also know that I could get it for £11.99 online (perhaps less?)... if my little darlings could force themselves to be a bit more patient! However, it seemed like a perfect afternoon for a family flick and I was feeling soft so off I went.

 

First stop, Somerfield... £17.99

Co-Op must be cheaper I thought... £18.99

Ok, I have nothing lose by nipping over to the Sony centre... I stopped looking for it on the shelf when I saw 'The Break up' stickered at £19.99.

So it was back to Somerfield and a bad taste in my mouth as it went through the till.

 

Does anyone really pay £19.99 for a DVD? Especially with Blu-Ray/HDDVD now working their way in slowly? Now I understand that most high st shops will not and cannot compete with online prices. I was happy to pay a few quid extra for the convenience of getting the disc straight away and would have felt slightly warmer inside for supporting local business. However, those prices are so ridiculously inflated that the shops are almost laughing in customers faces.

I realise that in buying it my comments here are a little hypocritical but I opted for the 'Dad points' at the time and it has certainly taught me a lesson. All my media purchases will be done online from now i'm afraid.

 

Oh, what makes this infinately worse is that POTC2 wasn't that good either :(

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Indeed that is true. Though only to the point that that is how long you can take a case to 'court'.

 

This is a good guide from the government re: consumer rights:

 

http://www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/general/index.shtml

 

The DTI factsheet ends up reading like you can just go back with your goods and get a replacement. Most electrical items nowadays don't have a product life much beyond a couple of years anyhow. It's also a long drawn out process taking firms through the small claims court etc. etc.

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On a much smaller scale. I ventured into town to buy Pirates of the Carribean 2 on DVD this weekend.

Now I know that the 2-disc version is going for less than a tenner in bricks and mortar stores down south. I also know that I could get it for £11.99 online (perhaps less?)... if my little darlings could force themselves to be a bit more patient! However, it seemed like a perfect afternoon for a family flick and I was feeling soft so off I went.

 

First stop, Somerfield... £17.99

Co-Op must be cheaper I thought... £18.99

Ok, I have nothing lose by nipping over to the Sony centre... I stopped looking for it on the shelf when I saw 'The Break up' stickered at £19.99.

So it was back to Somerfield and a bad taste in my mouth as it went through the till.

 

Does anyone really pay £19.99 for a DVD? Especially with Blu-Ray/HDDVD now working their way in slowly? Now I understand that most high st shops will not and cannot compete with online prices. I was happy to pay a few quid extra for the convenience of getting the disc straight away and would have felt slightly warmer inside for supporting local business. However, those prices are so ridiculously inflated that the shops are almost laughing in customers faces.

I realise that in buying it my comments here are a little hypocritical but I opted for the 'Dad points' at the time and it has certainly taught me a lesson. All my media purchases will be done online from now i'm afraid.

 

Oh, what makes this infinately worse is that POTC2 wasn't that good either :(

 

£9.50 out of Asda last weekend 8)

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£9.50 out of Asda last weekend 8)

 

 

Thank you, that makes me feel better :P

However, you still wasted £9.50 on it... HA!

 

 

ASDA can obviously keep their prices low due to the enormous buying power that Wallmart has so I don't expect anyone else, let alone a Shetland Retailer, to compete with that.

I'd still question whether a price tag of £18.99 is covering costs and maintaining an expected profit or actually just greed within the concept of a captive market?

It's weird because I haven't found much else that is over-priced compared to down South.

 

Funnily enough, I ordered the new Reservoir dogs 15th Anniversary DVD for £8 from CD-WOW on Thursday and it arrived yesterday.... from Hong Kong! Now that's service.

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