How to Shop for Stuff

Mission for this Harwich Spirits Shoppe cat is to find the best and cheapest video cam for Da Gizz… (Though understand that the shopping techniques discussed below are appropriate for everything from aquariums to xylophones.) Take it from a cat who used to get paid to help others buy… step by step, here’s how it’s done:

  1. Know what you want and need for features… Meet the first train wreck in the buying process. Most people only think they know what they want, and fewer still understand what they need. Want that new GM Volt? Fine. Folks can hop up and down until they’re green, test drive it until they get a tickle up and down their leg, and then face having to replace the battery five years from now for untold thousands. You may want something because it’s hip, but what do you need? In Bruce’s case, he needs a quality 3rd-generation digital video recorder that has image stabilization, at least an hour recording time, and preferably will not go much beyond the $100 mark. “Want” should always follow “need”!
  2. Get a clue using the Web… Why more people don’t do this, I’ll never know. Google! Looking for headphones with a mic??? Without the quotes, make a series of googles on “headphones mic review”; “headphones mic comparison”; “headphones mic rate”. Write down the names that keep coming up… It doesn’t take long to see that the Plantronics .Audio 655 DSP bears consideration. Back to Da Gizz… Three names jumped out: Vivitar, Flip, and Kodak…
  3. Get a better clue using Amazon… Now we’re in the hunt. Look up each brand and model on Amazon.com. There are a number of things to be on the watch for:
  • How many “Customer Reviews” are there, and what kind of ratings lurk. Don’t just read the good ones, read the not-so-good as well. What do people like and dislike? It only takes a few minutes to find patterns that may appeal or turn you off. It’s crucial to look for a ton of reviews with a reasonable rating. The more and better, the better. In Bruce’s case, the Vivitar is toast.
  • Take a long look at the “What Do Customers Ultimately Buy After Viewing This Item?” section… As for Da Gizz, all systems are “Go!” for the Kodak. (Reviews say that the Flip is good, but not as good as the Eastman.)
  • Be sure to look for different models of the same product… In the case of the Kodak, there are two that are virtually identical – the Zi8 and the ZX3…
  1. Bounce your ideas off your like-minded friends… Odds are that your friends have a clue; listen to them.
  2. Hit Twitter, FaceBook, etc… See above.
  3. Wait for the sales… Why look, we’re on the verge of “Black Friday”.
  4. Buy from the reputable and then look back… Buying from someone who isn’t selling out of the trunk of a car just makes sense, but what’s that business about looking back? “Looking back” just refers to researching the product after you receive it. What did you do right and what did you do wrong? Did you forget a feature? What about shipping? Was the purchase a good experience? Learn as you go…

And there you go… How to buy stuff…

Two cats blogging by the virtual mall…

P.S. Happy Thanksgiving!

P.P.S. Contest!!!


Wine Glossaries

* Nat Decants: A thorough glossary from Natalie MacLean, noted wine writer, speaker, and judge.
* eRobertParker.com: “The Independent Consumer’s Guide to Fine Wines”
* GLOSSARY of Wine-Tasting Terminology (Version 1.4 – Jan. 1995): A thorough collection of definitions from Anthony Hawkins.

Beer Glossaries

* ratebeer: Now that’s a straightforward name!
* beer-pages: Roger Protz and Tom Cannavan say that “it’s all about beer”.
* alphaDictionary.com: A fine collection of Beer dictionaries.

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