Shopping online used to be easy. You could browse a site like Amazon, find something that looked good and was well-reviewed, then search for the best price. Usually via MySimon or PriceGrabber.
Now things are stupid. Every company is partnered with everyone else. You run into lame crap like the softball bat thing I ran into a while back. Well, I’ve hit a similar incident in shopping for my mom.
She wants a decent set of computer speakers for music and such, so I found a 3-piece set that looked nice and appears fairly capable. Yesterday, I found it on Amazon for about $85. I pop over to one of those price comparison sites, and see some things that appear to be cheaper, but then of course you have to consider shipping. Amazon has free shipping. Upon closer inspection though, I didn’t get free shipping on the product I was looking at, because it was offered by Amazon “Featured Merchant” J&R Music World. I go back today and find the price dropped to around $80. How did that happen? Oh, now it’s offered by Amazon partner Office Depot. Still no free shipping.
Out of curiosity, I went over to Office Depot’s site and found the listing there. Luckily (for my sanity) it was the same price. After digging through some of those price comparison sites, I found it even cheaper elsewhere (because of free shipping). Where did I find it? An online store called Computers4SURE. What’s so special about that store? It’s f’n owned by Office Depot. Look at the page there, and you’ll see it’s exactly the same as Office Depot’s page, but has a little “Free Shipping” icon on it.
Well, computers4SURE here I come.