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April 24, 2009

Computer Shopping in Triplicate

I recently bought various computer components from three different companies and I thought it was pretty remarkable that each one still has a long way to go to polish off their ordering process.

Amazon.com
Initial shipping estimate of April 21, actually shipped April 15 and 16. Interestingly one package had a tracking note of "Arrival, Location: ---" and subsequently "Delivered at 1:42am" which actually meant it had been dropped off at a depot of some sort.

Newegg.ca
An email subject of "SO Confirmation", it turns out SO is Sales Order. Website order status indicates "You may view your tracking information by clicking the applicable Order Number above." But there is no such link and I could find no way to find tracking information from the online order status. You can get to the tracking island from an email link, the page however contains inaccurate information, "Shipped from La Puente, CA", while the UPS tracking shows it was picked up in Edison, NJ. An extraneous bit of information: "No Memo in SO#67525222". Newegg invoices include a line item called "Handling" or "Handling and Fee" which turns out to be just taxes. Newegg.ca ships from the US but bundles the customs handling and brokerage. My VISA was blocked on putting in my order on Newegg, they thought it was a suspicious transaction. The Newegg website automatically handled that and I was able to get the order rolling again via automated mechanisms within a few minutes. My credit charge states "Newegg.com", it's pretty clear Newegg.ca is more of a front for Newegg.com than a separate store.

NCIX.com
The website provides no package tracking information. By far the most voluminous number of emails generated from a single transaction, nine. An email containing the text " You will be receiving a copy of this page by e-mail shortly." The order arrived in two separate boxes, neither contained a packing list and one contained the original shipping labels of the supplier to NCIX, this could easily confuse subsequent shippers.

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April 23, 2009

Online Shipping

Quite some time ago Canada Post created an online shipping solution. You fill out the label, package specifications, choose a service, pay online and print a label with 'postage' or in this case a barcode. You then stick the label to the package and drop it in a regular mailbox or at any depot. Very handy. The only problem I've come across is that the to and from addresses are extremely constrained. First Name, Last Name, Street #, Street, Street Direction, Apt #, etc. Both first and last name are required and there is no additional field for a secondary line. I find that this makes it impossible to send packages to corporations as I have no idea how to properly format it into the first and last name fields, nor add any secondary lines like care of information.

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