I am a little late to the party: Amazon.com
Okay, I have always thought that I was pretty close to the cutting edge of technology, the internet and all the rest. Yes, I do not have an iPod, but that has more to do with the fact that I do not really listen to music much, not that I do not know how to use one. I bank online, I book flights and hotels online I get my news online . . . Hello! I am a blogger, for crying out loud! Of course, I buy stuff and sell stuff on the world wide web through sites like Ebay, Craigslist and shopping portals like Fatwallet and Ebates. I use internet tools such as Gmail, social sites, Google documents, Mapquest and more. I feel like I have a pretty good handle on this thing that one recent president called “the internets”.
Yet all this time, I have pretty much considered Amazon.com to be a place to buy books.
Over Christmas, I was given an Amazon.com gift card and while I was initially quite thankful for the gift, my first thought was, “Does Amazon sell anything that I want?” Obviously, I knew that Amazon sold books and I had heard a little bit about the “Kindle” device and as I typed in the url, I thought that I would at least take a look at a Kindle while I was there. I do not know if I had never been to Amazon.com before or if I had simply only looked at the book section, but as soon as the site loaded, I knew that I was going to have some fun spending that gift card. They carry electronics, clothing, video games, auto parts – Amazon even sells groceries.
I really only have time and money for one hobby: I love to hike. Since I live in Colorado, hiking is a great hobby to have. However, I have never gone on an overnight backpacking trip and it is my goal to take at least one overnight trip this summer. The problem is that there is a pretty significant upgrade in gear needed to go from my usual half-day or full-day trips to an overnight excursion. I have been spending a lot of time trying to figure out how to get decent gear for really low prices or even second-hand. The sporting goods stores in our area are have all kinds of great gear and shopping at those stores is fun . . . until one looks at the price tag.
I was surprised and overjoyed to find that Amazon carried all kinds of backpacking equipment and much of it was listed at too-good-to-be-true prices. I was able to purchase my main piece of equipment, a frame backpack, for approximately a third of the price that I would have had to pay in a sporting goods store. Amazon is going to be one of the first places I look when shopping in the future. Most of you probably know quite a bit about Amazon, I am a little embarrassed that I knew so little about this online store. However, if you are new to the site, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Not everything is new. Many of the items are “used” or “previously owned”. You might have no problem with second-hand items, but be sure that you know what you are purchasing.
- The biggest advantage of Amazon is that you can compare wide ranges of brands, prices and quality. There are no “brick and mortar” stores that have this kind of selection.
- I found the Amazon value to be high, but not every product/price is the best deal ever – you need to know what you are looking for and be familiar with the usual price range of that item. Amazon should be one of your shopping stops, but not your only shopping stop.
- Read the reviews, but take them with a grain of salt. The reviews hold a great deal of good information about certain products, but do not make assumptions based on a single reviewer, get a sense of the majority of reviews.
- Fill out your own review. If you purchase a product and like it or do not like it, help the rest of us out by posting your thoughts. Buying online can be treacherous sometimes, but honest reviews help us all to be discerning shoppers.
- Send me an Amazon gift card anytime. ;)
How about you? Any thoughts or experiences with Amazon.com?
Photo by kodomut