Tag Archives: amazon

How to make a million pounds

I have a plan to make my millions, and I’m going to let you all in on it because I’m both kind and stupid like that. It is foolproof, easy and will definitely work like a gazillion times over or something.

(I just checked and gazillion is definitely not a real number, just as I always assumed.)

Right, I’ve just been away from my computer for two minutes and now I’ve forgotten the plan. Hmm. OH WAIT, that’s the one. I knew something as mind-meltingly perfect as this could never evade my thought process for long.

Here is the plan:

  • Write some very short things.
  • Put them up for sale on Amazon’s Kindle thingy.
  • Charge the least you can charge.
  • ???
  • Profit!

It will definitely work so hard that I’ve already started making the plans on what I’m going to spend my money on. I will buy crack, and gamble it away, and more crack… and not pay off my debts. Basically it’ll be brilliant.

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Sales: fun, and not difficult to understand. Unless you’re Impulse.

It is the time of year that has become quite exciting over the last few years. The chilly weather sets in, the long nights take over and the feeling just hits you. That’s right kids – it’s digital distribution outlet sales time!

I’ve found myself getting increasingly excited* about the approach of this time of year, as it’s when the big online outlets for video games start to slash their prices. Now, in real shops, for real things, this might mean 25% off here, a half price there. When it comes to invisible products, like video games you don’t physically get to own, the sales are a smidge better. Like regular 75% off better, or 80%, or 90% – that kind of thing. To the point  where it’s rude not to buy these things you don’t actually get to own and will probably never even download, never mind play.

Anyway, this leads onto the vague point I had. See, the sales are great – Steam has set the precedent and all others are trying to follow suit. What this means is a fuckload of cheapities. But there are some out there that just don’t get it. I’m not going to attack Games For Windows Live, as that’s like clubbing a seal cub with learning difficulties.

No, this revolves around my need to pick up a new copy of Galactic Civilizations 2**. Keeping an eye on Impulse – the digital distribution service run by the people who make the game – I was drawn today to their one-day sale which is of the game. “Great!” I think, “I can get it for a reasonable price and the money will go straight to the developer!”

Well that didn’t last long. Off I went to a more standard retailer, offering old-fashioned things you get sent through the post and can hold/throw/burn as you see fit.

Guess what I opted for. THINK ABOUT IT, PEOPLE SELLING GAMES.

*When I say “excited” I don’t mean bouncing-off-the-walls giddy, I just mean “looking forward to”. I may be a sad nerd weirdo, but I’m not that bad.

**STOP JUDGING ME.

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An example of idiots on eBay

I love eBay – enough to write it in the stupid form they insist it’s written in. I love it like I the electronic, internet-based child I’ve never had (also this child carries out online auctions, I forgot to mention). It’s great for so many things – and one of them is for studying how twatty, idiotic and altogether rubbish people are.

As a result of picking up a few Amazon vouchers recently, I wondered if there was a market for them on the auction site. Obviously, seeing as they’re not human organs, prostitutes, drugs or anything else deemed illegal by the eBay overlords, there is.

Now Amazon vouchers are just that: vouchers. You get a voucher for £30, it’s worth £30. £50? It’s worth £50. Now this bit’s where it gets complex – £100 vouchers are worth one hundred pounds. Still with me? Okay then, let’s continue.

So why on earth are all of the current Amazon vouchers for sale, bar one or two, going for more than their face value? Someone is honestly offering to buy something worth £100 – and it is worth £100 – for more than one hundred pounds (remember how much I said they were worth? Just checking). Granted, this is pence over the hundred mark, and I haven’t seen anyone offering £5,000 for a £2 voucher, but… it’s just fucking stupid. It makes no sense. I don’t see why people would do it.

Yes, this has genuinely annoyed me. I’ve looked on Amazon and it doesn’t look like they charge any kind of premium for gift vouchers. It’s £100 for £100. I do not understand these idiots.

Anyway, back to being a curmudgeon. Oh wait – I never stopped.

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City Link are worse than super-cancer-AIDS

I’d written a fun little blog earlier today about the trials and tribulations of sitting in all day, waiting for a package to arrive. It was whimsical, humorous and finished with said package arriving. If I’d have remembered while writing that it was City Link delivering the package, I would not have bothered writing that pre-emptive blog.

No, City Link is a stain on humanity; a company that fails to do the one thing they actually set out to do. And when they fail to do that thing – “that thing” being delivering things – they make it as hard as possible to get them to re-do it, and re-do it right.

Amazon unexpectedly sent the new TV I ordered out early, as well as via next day delivery. What this meant was it was going to arrive when I wasn’t in, and would then be taken back to a depot I couldn’t get to very easily to wait for me to collect it. Did I mention it’s a TV? A fucking big one?

As such, I begged a little to be allowed to stay at home and wait for the package, and was allowed. Unfortunately this is still unauthorised absence and it doesn’t exactly reflect well on me. Taking a day off at short notice because your house has exploded/dad has set on fire: fine. Doing the same because you’re getting a telly delivered: not so fine.

The City Link delivery status was updated at 10:23pm last night saying the package had been collected and was on its way to my local depot. It was an eight hour drive from the collection to delivery depots, and they had all night to do it in. They then had ten whole cocking hours – from 7:30am to 5:30pm – to get the telly from the Bournemouth depot to my house. My house is a 15 minute drive from the depot, apparently.

Obviously by 5pm it hadn’t turned up and the status still hadn’t been updated from 10:23pm last night. So I gave them a ring (via No To 0870, of course).

“No, you’re not going to get that today.”

“For fu… why wasn’t I told?”

“It hasn’t been scanned here yet. We’ll deliver it tomorrow.”

“I’m not in tomorrow. Can I have it delivered Friday afternoon?”

“We don’t do afternoon deliveries.”

“I’m not in in the morning, you don’t guarantee delivery times, I need it in the afternoon. Sigh. Can you deliver it on Saturday then?”

“Umm… that’s an extra charge.”

“I’ve taken a day off work to sit refreshing a web page it turns out was lying to me all day. You’ve not provided a service you’re supposed to provide. AND I’ve been on hold for about half an hour.”

“I… umm…”

“I would like it delivered on Saturday. If you could, that would be GREAT.”

“I’ll put a note on your account to arrange Saturday delivery.”

“There we go.”

“If anything goes wrong, I’ll ring you. Bye.”

Why does that last line fill me with dread? He agreed to my demands a little too easily, then gave himself the easy get-out clause of ‘if anything goes wrong’. I don’t expect the TV to be delivered on Saturday.

City Link have messed up, as far as I remember, every single time I’ve had something delivered from them*. No other delivery company springs to mind when I think of inept, pointless companies that need to be burned. And Amazon needs to stop using them.

*Oddly, apart from the dozen or so times I’ve ordered from thedrinkshop.com. They never failed to get it right then. COLOUR ME CONFUSED. Maybe they only get booze orders right.

(NOTE: Searching ‘city link’ on Google image search is quite funny, as it returns lots of images of big-name footballers. Obviously ones linked to Man City. END NOTE.)

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The review scores confusion: SOLVED

Reviews are not a fine art, so I’m not going to introduce today’s entry with a claim otherwise. They’re sometimes eloquent, they sometimes are as ham-fisted as Hammy the Fist but they all serve one purpose. I like them, I like reading them and I like disagreeing with them more than agreeing with them. That’s pretty simple. Then someone has to go and put bloody scores on things.

It’s one to a hundred, or one to ten, or one to five in general – there are other, rogue, scoring systems but they’re far too off the rails for people to take notice. And it doesn’t seem like anyone in the world understands them. Myself included. And it leads to all manner of thrilling debate on whether or not a certain score means a certain thing. Even on Amazon, where I just read a reader review comment on something that stated “Why only four stars? Because nothing is perfect…”

So according to that person, the only reason something could ever get a five on Amazon is if it were literally perfect. If it were the best thing that had ever existed. I smell some bullshit in that logic. As such I will now re-educate on scoring systems so you all know what each number at the end of a review means:

1/10, 1-10%, 1/5: Not perfect

2/10, 11-20%, 1/5: Not perfect

3/10, 21-30%, 2/5: Not perfect

4/10, 31-40%, 2/5: Not perfect

5/10, 41-50%, 3/5: Not perfect

6/10, 51-60%, 3/5: Not perfect

7/10, 61-70%, 4/5: Not perfect

8/10, 71-80%, 4/5: Not perfect

9/10, 81-90%, 5/5: Not perfect

10/10, 91-100%, 5/5: Not perfect

Hope that clears it up for you.

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The fine, noble art of customer reviews

I love customer reviews. No, wait – I hate them. Oh, I something them I’m sure, I just can’t decide what. Regardless of my feeling(s) towards them, though, there’s no denying the fact that they’re a bag of useless shite. Sure, it’s good to be sorting through a bunch of identical items on Amazon only to see that one of them has half a star more than the other four dozen, but if you were to check the reviews of the lower-scoring items (potato hammocks, or whatever it is you’re buying) you would see they were ranked lower because some schmuck bought one when they wanted something else, like a hamster detonator or something. This, in their tiny mind, therefore means the item in question deserves one star out of five. This has the knock-on effect of bringing the overall score down, if only slightly, and can then mean the difference between a purchase and non-purchase.

Yes folks, I do indeed work for the Potato Hammock Advisory Board.

I don’t actually know why this irks me so, but it really does. Reading reviews of things only to see someone going against the grain just because they think the brand is shit, or the one they bought was broken (even though they got a working replacement)… it just annoys me. I’d make some comment about being a professional reviewer, but that would be amazingly cunty so I won’t. Instead I’ll just blame it on the fact that I fucking hate idiots and – having worked in a couple of shops – know exactly what these pricks complaining look, sound and smell like.

“I bought this phone and I don’t want it.”

“When did you buy it?”

“February 10th.”

“Okay, it’s the 12th so you’ve had it less than a week, so I can refund you. Can I have your receipt please?”

*hands receipt over*

“Umm… this receipt is two days old, yes. Two days and a year old. You cannot return the phone.”

“Why not?! This is ridiculous! WAH WAH WAH ENTITLED WAH RIGHTS WAH!”

Balls, my example actually seems to have drawn from the ‘why working in a shop was shit (but amazing at the same time)’ pile. I do apologise. I’ll do a proper entry on that one day. For now though: Don’t give them the opportunity to have some kind of critical evaluation of any product ever. They are fools and deserve no such privilege.

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I didn’t buy a wooden spoon today

Unfortunately with me writing one of these things here every day I am going to repeat subjects. I’m not ‘likely’ to, I’m not ‘probably’ going to – I just will. Case in point: right here. I’ve been browsing more kitchen utensils and equipment, just as before when I bought a wooden spoon, only this time I’m inspired on two fronts. One: I’m looking online at far more thrilling items, and two: it came about after reading this toastie-based article on the Grauniad. More toasties in the news, please.

As I live in a tiny little flatlet/bedsit that doesn’t have much room in its kitchen I have to rely on plug in hotplates. Think Charlie from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and you get the idea. Though to be honest I’m more like Frank. Anyway, they’re a bit shit, so I’m all like browsing for other ones and shit, just generally getting an idea of what the water’s like in the world of hotplate economics when I realise that the toaster/poacher linked in the Grauniad story isn’t the only mental thing out there.

I present to you, the mini oven/hotplate combo. Amazing. I want five. Well, just one, as that’s all you’d need. Plus there wouldn’t be room for more than one. And it does make me wonder what happens when there are spillages – do you just have the hinges and cracks inside the oven coated in boiled-over water and other such goo? Probably. A cheese-coated oven. YUM.

What about this for your kitchen? Well it’s listed in the kitchen appliance section, so I’m taking their word for it. The day I have a kitchen big enough for that is… well, it’s the day I have one of those, frankly. I can sit in comfort while I am cooked for, with beer in easy reaching distance.

Ah, one day I will be so lazy all of these appliances will make sense. One day…

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