… HALF, Eddie! …
Ok, for a while I was a really big buyer at half.com, lately I’ve become a seller and only a seller. Why? ‘cos everyone else on half.com is a seller too, it seems. And I’m not talking about the normal “I’ve got stuff I don’t want” seller. It’s more the, “I’m a retailer and if I mark the price down a few cents, people will think they’re getting a deal!” sellers.
Normally, I’m an amazon.com bitch all the way, no apologies for it, but I do like to see what half.com has just in case I can save a buck or two. In this case I’m looking for two homebuyers books. Amazon: $32.14, Half.com: $31.50. 64 cents difference, to have my books shipped media mail, from two different shippers with no way of knowing when they’ll arrive for certain. Sorry, not gonna happen. When I sell things on half.com, it’s ‘cos I honestly don’t want them, I don’t want to throw them away (I have this thing about not throwing out ideas and art), and I figure someone else wouldn’t mind having a slightly knocked off copy of one of my favorites for less than 1/2 what I paid. So I lose a little money buying envelopes that fit VHS videos and CDs, but if it makes someone else happy, it seems worth it.
Along the same line, I can completely understand when brick & mortar store complain that online merchants are beating them out of business. However, when a merchant has both online AND physical stores, it would behoove them to maintain a price lock between the two. I was originally looking for Home Buying for Dummies. So I go to Super Crown (now Books A Million) online and see the price at around $15.39, I think this is good since it lists at $22 and there’s a Books A Million on the way home, so I call them. Not only do they not have the book. They tell me it’ll cost $19.99 to special order it. Now yes, its still less than the list price, however, 4 bucks for the “convenience” of picking it up at my local store? Yeah, I know, shipping costs and all that, but still, I’m more likely to purchase more than one book online and save on shipping than I am at a local store.
Maybe they’re just trying to encourage the same behavior as banks that now offer you the online type of accounts that charge you exorbitant fees if you actually show your face *inside* the bank for any reason. When the ghostly voice whispered, “If you build it, they will come,” I don’t think it was talking about a website. Ok, grumpy old man mode off.