e-Commerce


MEMORANDUM

To: Amazon.com

re: Communication breakdown

This is pretty straightforward: Once upon a time I ordered something from Amazon. The seller sent the item. The item arrived. All is good in the world. Right?

Okay, so, big deal, right? But it’s a few months later and this order still registers as shipped, but not delivered. Here’s the good news: It was delivered. All is good in the world. Right?

It seemed worth telling the seller. Indeed, I know what happened. At the end of the day, the product was delivered on time by a guy driving a twenty year old Ford Taurus, bearing credentials from a courier I hadn’t encountered before. Big deal, right? The item I ordered is here: It is the right product; it is undamaged; it is on time; I am satisfied. All is good in the world. Right?

All I want to do is communicate directly with the seller, to advise them to close the book on this one. What I do not understand is why that is so difficult. I’m sorry, but what I need to tell them does not fit any of your pre-selected suggestions. You do not have an easily identified pathway to allow this communication.

So, you know. Whatever. Maybe the only way to let the seller know is to explain in a bad review. It seems a lot easier to simply drop a line to say, “Hey, by the way, I got this; you can log it as delivered.”

But that’s just not the Amazon way, is it?

No, really. The product purchased arrived on time and in good condition. For the sake of a bureaucratic omission somewhere in the chain of custody, this is not logged in the Amazon delivery record. I would like to advise the seller that this is taken care of, but there are far too many hoops to jump through just to find out I’m in the wrong place. It’s actually quite astounding what effort you have put into making certain nobody can actually communicate with anybody else.

Look, whenever I grumble about Amazon, someone I know reminds that the company is constantly rated for the highest customer satisfaction in this or that exactly meaningless survey. Those surveys would probably count more if they were capable of accounting for this kind of dissatisfaction: Amazon is so hostile to consumers that we cannot even help satisfactory sellers make certain their book is up to date.

For whatever reason, we seem to take this out on politicians. Go figure.

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Ecchiriffic


Sekirei, from season one opening credits

To the one, it seems easy enough: If the series has an ecchi tag associated with it, one is best advised to simply avoid it. In truth, it is not so much a prudish rejection of sexual stimuli in animated motion media, but, rather, a critique disdaining the waste of prudery. The tropes are myriad and obvious, with the result that it really does seem childish to a creepy degree. Say what we will about the (ahem!) “premature nosebleed”, but it does kind of work as a catch-all symbol within the frame.Because premature ejaculation is always worth a laugh .... (Sekirei, ep. 1)

More problematic, of course, is the blatancy of the stimuli. It is almost hilarious when baseball and anime overlap off-screen, because those who will discuss in earnest the physics of a left-handed pitcher’s throwing motion in relation to the placement of the heart within the human body apparently find no reason to wonder how this or that best fighter in the Universe managed to pull off that maneuver without slicing off one of her myth-cupped breasts.

The nature of ecchi, though, is to not be so explicit as, say, hentai or open pornography. But the artists do seem to revel in what they do present. And it is, of course, one thing to chuckle at the outsized breasts popping into open air, and the goofy sound effect that goes with it, but somebody had to draw that.

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Stop reading now


Just start with this:

There is irony here.Seriously, nerd-men. Are your weenies so teeny that you have to get threatened when women’s sci-fi/fantasy is successful? Are you going to give the girls noogies out on the playground after lunch? There are plenty of legitimate reasons to hate Twilight; cooties is not one of them.

Seriously, that’s quite a tantrum Paul Constant pitched last month in response to an article posted at MovieLine. Now, in the first place, the title, “7 Threatened Fanboy Responses to New Moon“, should have been all the warning anybody needed to steer clear.

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Where he lays his head is home


Wow. Okay, so I’ve had this one sitting around for a while. Ted Wilson reviews The Manchester Village Motor Inn“:

Ted Wilson Reviews the WorldIf you ever need a place to stay while your lawyer and the bank are figuring some things out, I don’t recommend the Manchester Village Motor Inn. For one thing, they make you witness a robbery when checking in. The robber is armed, will seize your wallet and refer to you as “bitch-face.” This is an incredibly traumatic way to begin one’s stay. Then you have to call 911 yourself and even check in a few guests before the police arrive because the desk clerk is in tears and afraid to get off the floor even though the gunman is clearly long gone.

See, the thing is that I have this folder on my desktop called “Today”, and, well, yeah. November 24. I’m sure there’s something older in there if I look.

And I’m sure there’s wisdom in there. If I look.

Review: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian


Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (*½)

Confusion actually led me to this film. I had intended to take my daughter to see Up, but the listing I followed to the cinema apparently had yet to be updated. Once we were inside, looking up at the board, I couldn’t simply take her hand and say, “Too bad, we’re going home.”

Especially after she saw that Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian was playing. Score one for soulless target marketing.

The script, penned by Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon (Reno 911!) was, to say the least, lackluster: slipshod story construction, shallow character development, and cheap comic gags abound. If anything characterizes Hollywood’s low aim, it is these enterprise or “franchise” films. Night at the Museum is all about merchandising and brand recognition. Actual content is an afterthought. Still, though, the prospect of good money pushes these projects forward; after all, they got three films out of Problem Child and Look Who’s Talking alike. Both projects were throughly abysmal, and leaves one wondering how bad the third Museum film can possibly be. With any luck, bad enough to be shelved.

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Review: Robert Julian’s “Postcards From Palm Springs” (Part 1)


Julian-Postcards From Palm SpringsA friend recently returned from Palm Springs and handed me a copy of Robert Julian’s self-published memoir Postcards From Palm Springs. The jacket summary informs that the recollection of a writer/actor’s adventures in Palm Springs “does for this California desert community what Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil did for Savannah”. While I enjoyed Berendt’s tale of murder, strangeness, and antiques, I’m not sure this is a compliment to Palm Springs. It would be more appropriate to say “does to this California desert community …”.

Postcards is not without its charm. Indeed, for someone who enjoys a casual yarn about the melodrama of the resort, Hollywood, or homosexual social sets, the book delivers—or, at least, seems to. I must confess that at this moment I’m only approaching the halfway mark.
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