Glad to have you here but remember, you could be spending your time more wisely. Family, friends, maybe even your job if you are really pushed for something to do. David also writes the Building Our Home Blog as well as the wildly popular Dave’s Mindscape

Thursday, December 10, 2015

On-line Shopping is the Future

I am not a shopper

I don’t like shopping.

If I am window shopping it is because I need a new window.

I once needed, (Yes! Needed!), a new TV so I made a list of all the electronic retailers in the area as well as a list of all the features I wanted in a TV.
I walked into the first store on the list and said, “I will take that one and give me a VCR too”. It was a while ago.

Really not a shopper

This year my youngest daughter sent me a gift list linked to an on-line retailer called Amazon.ca

I thought, “this will be easy”. No trudging through the malls. No putting up with sales people offering free samples from kiosks. (My skin is already soft and pimple free)

I clicked on the link she sent and nothing happened. Really nothing. My mouse froze, arrow keys did nothing and even Ctrl-Alt-Del did not work.

Taking this as a sign not to shop on-line today, I powered off the machine and re-started. Windows 10 did some updates. 
I went to the mall for a coffee at Timmies.

The next day I decided to load a few bucks into my PayPal account to purchase stuff on-line.
I also thought I had better address some Christmas cards to mail that afternoon.

I had just sat down with my cards and a pen and address list when my youngest son texted me to say he was in hospital after falling off his bike.

I took this as a sign to not shop on-line today.

I drove into town and had a small black coffee and a cheese croissant at Timmies while filling out some of the cards and waiting for my son to get his arm put into a cast. (He blames the complete lack of snow for his accident as he would not be riding in the snow. One more strike against global warming).

While at the Post Office outlet mailing the cards, I picked up yet another parcel my daughter had Amazon ship to me. Seems to be working Ok for her.

The next day I tried to log in to Amazon.ca and they had to reset my password because who remembers that stuff from 3 years ago?

Clicking on the links in my daughter's list opened different windows, only one of which I was logged in to.
Being a savvy (but reluctant) shopper I wanted the items in the same shopping cart so as to get the free shipping.

Thinking I could just search for the item in the window I was logged in to was wrong. 
The search brought me to the same item (for a much cheaper price) on the Amazon.com site saying “Ships from the US”. Having experienced Customs Canada’s heavy handed charges I realized it would still be cheaper to pay more in Canada and have it shipped from Canada.

I finally got the items, from the Canadian site, in the same shopping cart, with a small shipping charge (which was much cheaper than Customs charges), over to the check-out area and found that Amazon does not accept PayPal
And the credit card information Amazon had on me had expired after 3 years. 

I took this as another sign.

I may or may not have completed the order but I am sure there will be something under the tree this year.

It just might be Tim’s cards.

I’m off to the mall but if you want to try out this on-line shopping foolishness...

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Commercial TV

Who knew Commercial TV was good for your health?

I now regret all those years cursing the incessant interruption of our spellbinding programs by stupid commercials when in fact those same interruptions may have been more beneficial to our health than all the medical remedies and exercise devices they may have advertised.

Research has shown that you should not sit for a prolonged period of time. The researchers suggest that even if you stand for two minutes out of every 40 or 50 minutes, good stuff will happen to your body as opposed to the bad stuff (I would link to the story about the study but forget where it is so I substituted my own medical jargon) that happens when you don’t avail yourself of the commercial break to go for a pee which is the result of the last commercial break when you got a drink.

Little did we know commercials were actually improving the quality of our lives

It didn’t even matter which commercial was on. Watch them once and the next 10 times they played during Hockey Night in Canada, don’t watch them. Or, miss them the first time but don’t worry, they will play again. And again and again.

Even the incredible volume accompanying commercials, was beneficial. Sure, if you actually sat through an ad, the abrasive sound you didn’t think your TV capable of, would assault your ears like salt in a paper cut, making you vow to never purchase from that advertiser again.

That sound was of value

As long as it blared, you could be in the bathroom. 
You could make drinks in the kitchen. 
Open a bag of chips and pour out bowls for yourself and your guests. No hurry. You weren’t missing a thing.
And it was healthy, except for the chips part. Chips make you fat und pimply.
And you had until the ominous cessation of commercial cacophony to get back to broadcast bliss.

Streaming services

You may be tempted to “cut the cord”. Loose yourself, or at least your wallet, from the thrall of your cable or satellite provider. 
Streaming services such as Netflix, Crave and Shomi, promise hours of commercial free programming for a reasonable price. Per month. Forever.

But who doesn’t remember sitting through a movie on their VCR, ready to burst, not hitting pause because they didn’t want to interrupt the flow of the program and not wanting to bother the others viewing the show. 
Imagine hours on end of streaming TV where the only break is when Netflix says “The next episode starts in 14 seconds”. Or when the season ends.
It takes more than 14 seconds to choose the flavour of chips you want.

Don’t cut the cord

Yes it is expensive, and yes a more advanced civilization would probably use much of our television content to punish those who commit crimes, but, for the good of your health, keep the commercial in commercial TV.

and now for a word from our sponsor...

General Delivery

General Delivery - from the 1830 - 40's Americanism, although there is the international term Poste restante.

In the old days you could send a letter or parcel to a post office near where someone would be traveling and they could pick it up. No need for a home address.

Before greed and bean counters took over, regular postal service would deliver letters and the occasional small parcel right to your door.

This had its pros and cons

Pros: You didn't have to leave your house to get junk mail, or as I call it, kindling for the wood stove.
You local mailman might know you, so even if the address on the letter was not quite right, the letter would still be delivered to you.
Also if they peeked in your windows and saw you lying unconscious on the floor they could go for help.
Cons: Your local mailman knew all your magazines came in plain brown wrappers.
He would trespass on your property, peek in your windows and shove junk mail through the mail slot.

Well, Canada Post being forward thinking and ever mindful of the bottom line thought that it was costing a heck of a lot of money to have people bring the mail to every home so in addition to having P.O. boxes that you could pay for, they would just start leaving your mail in community mailboxes, or super mailboxes as they were commonly called, at the end of your road. Or in some other neighbourhood entirely.
Not that handy for the elderly or handicapped or anyone actually but more cost effective.

But now people can be in touch with whomever, wherever in seconds thanks to the Internet.
No need to buy a pricey card and apply extra postage.
But you can buy cards and postage if you really want.
No more trundling down to a postal outlet with cards, letters or packages. A quick e card, photo or even a video and it is there almost as soon as you hit send.
And drop shipping to the recipient's home, P.O. Box or community mailbox from an on-line retailer is just a credit card and a mouse click away. Just order on-line and you never have to see the inside of a postal outlet ever again.
Unless someone sends you a parcel.

Do not worry that the post office is going to go the way of the Pony Express (they'd deliver your stuff on a horse, how cool was that?).
In an effort to firmly establish them self as a major player in the 21st Century, Canada Post is running an advertising campaign on TV about a service, 
FlexDelivery™, whereby you can have your post delivered to any one of their post offices for you to pick up.

Sounds a lot like general delivery to me.

And if a western poster reminiscent of the Pony Express is more your thing -

Western Riders, U.S.A. Poster
Western Riders, U.S.A. Poster by dequilla
See additional Posters & Art online at Zazzle