Buying from Costco.com? Don’t.

I’m more than a little annoyed today. I’ve been planning on purchasing a new flatscreen to replace the at least 10 year old tube tv for a while and was waiting for the right one to come along. My wife and I finally decided to get one over the labor day weekend and take advantage of some of the deals being offered on TV’s. We spent about 1/2 a day visiting a few stores and about 3 hours online researching the TV we wanted and finally found the one we liked and one that had all the features we wanted. There were 3 stores that had the TV we wanted, all around the same price. Amazon, BestBuy and Costco.com.

I am a Costco member. I pay a yearly subscription fee to be a Costco member, and so we decided to buy our TV from Costco. I’d assumed that they would have a certain reputation for treating their paying members well. I placed the order on Saturday and have been waiting eagerly for the TV to ship.

When I checked the order status this morning (the following Thursday) I saw that the oder had been cancelled. No, I had not received any sort of notification or email about the cancellation. I did end up receiving one later this afternoon.

Customer service informed me that they had run out of stock. I’m flabbergasted. No where during the sales process was I informed that the purchase was contingent on there being enough stock to fulfill the order. If I had known that, I would never have purchased the TV from Costco to begin with; Instead I would have gone with Amazon where I am a Prime Member. Alas, Now i’m screwed. I don’t have a TV, and the deals that were available over the weekend are no longer available.

If I had known that the sale was not confirmed I would never have bought it from Costco. I would have bought it from Amazon, where I’ve never had this issue before.

I’m sorry to say Costco, you really let me down and have totally left me hanging. Not cool.

I don’t know about others, but when I shop online and buy something and get a confirmation email, I expect you to have enough stock to fulfill that order. YOU NEED TO HAVE A REAL TIME INVENTORY SYSTEM that checks to see if your out of stock. It is the basics on online commerce.

Two co-workers asked me about buying a TV from Costco today and my advice to them. DON’T. You can’t trust that you will get it. Get one from Amazon instead. I know, I wish I had.

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Update 1 – 6, Sept 2012 AM:
First customer rep I spoke to said that she was was very sorry for the situation and that they would not want to leave me hanging like that and that they would try to substitute the purchase with something else. they had a newer model that was a little more that they might be able to substitute it with.

Update 2 – 6, Sept 2012 PM:
Second rep I talked to said that she saw the notes from the first rep but wont be able to do that. Offered me an additional $100 off if I wanted to purchase a more expensive larger TV that was $600 bucks more than the one I originally wanted.  :-(  . Basically No TV for me I guess.

Really good example of a really bad User Experience – Courtesy of Outlook for Mac 2011

I received a calendar sharing request from a colleague at work today. In a moment of utter brilliance (not) the Microsoft User Experience team decided that it would be fun to send the recipient of the request to a help URL to learn how to give calendar permissions to someone else.

Really Microsoft???? Is this the best you could do?

Here’s a little User Experience tip for you (for when you push out the next product update) a nice action in the email it self saying “Allow [Name of requester] permission to see my calendar” and “Do not allow [Name of requester] to see my calendar“  would be greatly appreciated.

Here’s the screenshot of the said offense:

Screenshot of the message

Screenshot of the message (click to view full size)

YouTube is changing the way we learn

Do you know how to make cheese? Do you know how to hang dry wall? Do you know how to move a pool table? How about your favorite curry?

I didn’t but Now I do. Not only do I know how to do these things, but I know multiple ways of doing each of these things and the pro’s and con’s of each method. I’ve also been empowered to take the best of each technique and come up with my own. All thanks for YouTube.

When ever I needed to do something that I did not know, I turned to the Internet. I read tutorials about the topic in question, and in the recent past watched online video tutorials and learned everything about it. I am never happy with just reading one article or just watching one tutorial. I usually read multiple articles and watch multiple video’s on the same thing by different people. This allows me to learn from many teachers. Learn each ones techniques, and come up with my own best of all worlds way of doing it.

I was doing this without really realizing what I was doing until I came across one particular video of cheese being made in a remote location in Europe (I think) http://youtu.be/I4LNS7F_-DM. This was during my quest to learn how to make the perfect cheese. While watching the lady made cheese the way she was taught and using a method that was probably handed down from generation to generation. There may be a easier/better way to make this cheese but that knowledge is not easily accessible to her, but because I have access to a resource such as YouTube, I can learn from multiple people and find the best way to make this cheese. Thats when I realized how empowered resources like YouTube has made me. How it has changed the way we learn and how accessible it has made knowledge to us. Video is a much more effective learning medium than a plain text article (like this blog post :) )

It is the same way with skilled trades. The traditional way is to apprentice with a master of the trade. Learn his/her ways and carry out the tradition. There is “one way” that you learn to do something and you continue doing it that way even if there is a better way of doing it because that is all you know; Unless your experiment on your own. This is now changing rapidly.

I would love to hear how you have noticed you life changed by online resources of this nature.

[Photography] – Through the eye of a lens

I haven’t really done much in the photography space in a while. I must apologize to my readers. This blog has not been updated in a very long time. I got attacked by some pretty nasty viruses and it took me a while to get up and running again.

Its a relief to finally come to my blog and not see the google warning that my site was blocked for spreading viruses!!!

Long story short, I’m back and have a whole bunch of stuff in the pipeline for you’ll.

A little while ago I started experimenting with shooting through lenses, here’s one of my very first attempts at this. Here I am shooting thought the front of a Sigma lens to focus on some cork in the background.

What do you’ll think?

Focusing though a lend

Focusing though a lens