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The Mighty Amazon

Updated on January 23, 2012

The Mighty Amazon

Have you ever moved into a new neighborhood and before you even had the chance to get settled, you began receiving coupons from stores in the area? Have you ever wondered what this was all about? Neighborhood stores want to get to you, before you have a chance to get to their competition. They know darn well that people are creatures of habit.

If Store "A", which is five miles away, can get to you before you have a chance to visit store "B", which is only a mile away, they know that 96% of the time you will bypass store "B" to go shop at store "A' even though it is further away. Shopping locally is not the only time that this habit is forming. I have found that this habit extends into on-line shopping.

I have to admit that I am guilty of this act and am one of those creatures of habit. I found out recently however that habits can quickly be broken and good outstanding customers can be lost, sometimes forever! In today's struggling economic times, I feel that the best thing a store can do to retain my business and keep me faithful is to give me great customer service. I have had to adjust to the employees who really don't want to be there or the ones which don't feel the need to acknowledge me. What I will not put up with however is being treated rudely or being made to feel like I don't matter whatsoever in the slightest to their business.

In 1995 I got rid of my monochrome screened 8088 computer and upgrading up to a lightning speed 486. I purchased and loaded Windows 95 and from that moment on my shopping world was never the same! Little did I know that the same year that I was upgrading to a better computer a man by the name of Jeff Bezos had taken a leap of faith, quit his job working as a New York investment banker and opened a virtual bookstore on the web.

Amazon .com hit the World Wide Web in 1995 just in time to be viewed with the new version of Windows. I had heard about the site from many sources but I simply could not comprehend why anyone would buy a book on-line, pay shipping charges and wait days to receive it. I found it much more convenient to drive to my local book store, avoid shipping and bring it home that day. I went to the site and joined, since that was the thing to do in those days, but I knew that the chances of me ever using the site would be slim to none.

The following year in 1996 a small company would make its debut on the net by the name of eBay. Story was told that the master mind behind the site, Mr. Pierre Omidyar had created the site for his wife. Apparently she was an avid garage sale shopper and in order to keep her at home more often and to give her first dibs at the merchandise he created e-bay for her enjoyment. The story turned out to be false but it got people flocking to the site like crazy for those one of a kind garage sale deals. The real story was Pierre simply got lucky when he decided to test out a website by selling a broken printer. When he found a collector to buy the printer he knew he had stumbled onto something and eBay was born. By the time the truth got around however, no one really cared because eBay was already a hit.

I became a member of eBay when there was very little to the site. With just a few categories to choose from and very simple to navigate. Shipping packages would normally run around $3.10 and members where honest, so delivery confirmation was not needed. In those start up days, listing an item was fairly close to free, money orders where the form of payment since pay pal did not exists and if you ever had a problem, a live representative was just a phone call away.

I’ve had my eBay account for fourteen years and have spent many on-line hours as both a buyer and a seller. I have seen the site go through many changes and experience many growing pains. Recently I decided to use the auction site as a seller. I placed my auction, and at the end of the five days, my one of a kind item sold for $100 which was much less then I was expecting.Thirty dollars from my winnings came right off the top to cover ebay listing fees, pay pal fees, Shipping charges, delivery confirmation and shipping insurance!

The minute I shipped the package I began to have issues with the buyer. I knew that he was trying to rip me off, but there was nothing I could do.I had faith in pay pals motto “the most trusted way to pay and get paid".The buyer pulled funds while the package was in transit. No matter how hard I tried I was unable to contact a live person for pay pal or eBay. I was trapped in the endless automated loop.I think I can safely say that after a month of trying, I am never going to see my money or the item again.

In the mists of this nightmare my Kindle which I had received as a birthday present suddenly died for no apparent reason. I was devastated because I love my kindle! I had to deal with losing one item; I did not want to deal with losing another. I jumped on line to find a phone number, and deal with for the first time since becoming a member fifteen years ago.

Imagine my surprise when I instantly found the help page on their website, asked to be called by a representative and received the call in less than one minute! The girl on the other end was cheerful as could be, and treated me as if I was a long lost friend whom she hadn't heard from in years! I didn't have to give her any information; they had everything they needed on file. She e-mailed me a shipping label to send back the broken kindle and my new one would arrive in three days. No questions asked! I was utterly blown away by Amazons customer service! I have since talked to people who have used Amazon for years and claim that customer service issues are always resolved within 24 hours or less from the moment their complaint was made.

I am astonished at how two different companies; starting out at the same time can head in such different opposite directions. One has learned to offer wonderful, caring service while embracing there customer base, and the other has turned their back on both the customer and the seller. Shopping habits take time to break, but from this point on I can assure you that I will deliberately be doing all my shopping on one site instead of the other. If I ever feel the need to sell something I will simply use Craigslist, where I won’t incur shipping charges or listing fees.

Amazon is not just books anymore. They literally have everything under the sun including free books and MP3's. Go to Amazon and search for the most obscure item you can think of and chances are you’re going to find it! If by some odd chance you order it, and have problems with the item or the seller, I can assure you that there will be a "real" Representative which will listen to your issues, and take the time to solve your problems. Sorry to say it eBay, but store "B" just got all my business! This is how fast a shopping habit can be broken for good, and forever!


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