Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

Should you get your satellite navigator from a specialist shop?

Buying from a specialised shop often means that you pay a little more for the same product than you would from a supermarket. After all, the supermarket operates on the basis of “pile ’em high, sell ’em cheap” which is an excellent way to go for standard items like beans and whatnot.

However, move into a specialised area like sat nav and you sometimes need that little bit of expertise even when you’re sure that you know what you’re doing.

For example, we bought a TomTom on Christmas Eve in El Corte Ingles. That’s a fairly upmarket department store and therefore there are specialised departments for such things so it’s effectively in-between the supermarkets and the specialised stores. In practice, they were quite happily selling units that had a fault. Fair enough, they obviously can’t go around opening all the boxes and testing them but any that were returned went straight back on the shelf to be sold again. Stupid, eh?

So, we returned that one and bought the next model “up” in a supermarket for ‚€20 more. Unfortunately, although the shop was close to the French border they are piled high with models that can’t be used in both Spain and France as it’s the one model from the range that doesn’t use a memory card (which isn’t obvious as they cover up the relevant information on the box with their security label). So, we’ve to return to Spain this week to see about getting a refund for that too.

Perhaps we’ll get one third time around!

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Travelling at Christmas? Then watch the prices rise in front of your eyes!

If you’re travelling over the Christmas period and haven’t booked yet, then don’t hang around when you see a decent price as it’ll not be there for long.

Just about all the discount airlines operate load balancing software which means that as the plane fills up the prices rise automatically. Actually, it’s as the plane appears to be filling up that this happens so you shouldn’t constantly check the prices of a particular flight directly with the airline as this will have the effect of making the price rise.

Hotels aren’t so bad but the cheaper hotels and the cheaper rooms within a particular hotel tend to be booked first so the longer you leave it, the higher the price you’ll have to pay.

Buses usually don’t do this but those aimed at tourists tend to. For example, a route I priced recently has risen from the normal EUR 38 to EUR 134 this morning.

The one area where you’re usually OK is with trains but even if they don’t raise the prices (and many franchised lines will) they’ll fill up over the peak holiday seasons.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Leaving 1and1 and establishing a fallback hosting site

For the second time in a month 1and1 took it upon themselves to take all my sites hosted with them offline.

Each time it cost me over $100 in lost income so I’m in the process of moving everything to a much cheaper and, so far, more reliable hosting service. One thing I’ve also decided to do is to put a few things in place to make it easier to switch to a backup service at short notice. As it was, I was able to move OurInns over to what will shortly become our main hosting service (EUKHost) but I’ll be starting to build that capability into the hosting setup of the remaining domains too over the next couple of weeks.

One thing that stopped me moving everything over is that I use 1and1 as the registrar for a number of the domains. On the whole, using your registrar as your host is simpler but usually isn’t a good move and I ended up in that situation for various historical reasons and I’ve been thinking of a bit of a tidyup for a while now.

The other thing that held me back from establishing a true contingency hosting site is simply that I’ve an awful lot of information online courtesy of the listings sites. The transfer that’s going on whilst I write this is over 200MB for instance and that’s not including the databases associated with that information. Quite a scary amount of information, isn’t it?

Step one of my move is “simply” moving the data which will probably take me the rest of the week to get through as I need to setup the databases on the new hosting site which always takes a little while to do.

Step two will be going through the domain registrations and rationalising them somewhat. One thing I’m considering is a move to iPowerWeb for the registrations which at $6.50/year is less than the $9.99/year that I’m currently paying but also comes with whois privacy which would be handy.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

What is it about 4pm Saturdays that makes electronic stores crazy places?

We thought we’d do some research on the Santa list today so it was off to Media Markt which is a fairly large general electronics cum electricals store in Girona.

Quite nice prices on a couple of items but some others that we were looking for were out of stock and we ended up just picking up a couple of DVDs. Then it was into the cattle pen that they refer to as the tills (the layout needs work!). No matter how many people they have on, it always takes ages to get out once you’ve bought something as they’ve just too much sales floor space in proportion to the number of checkouts.

By the time we’d reached the car, J & J wanted to see the DVDs which was just as well as one of them turned out to be devoid of the contents (quite how, I don’t know as it was a sealed package). That is about the worst possible nightmare you could imagine as it means going to customer service, or rather joining the queue for customer service.

Naturally, the number of customer service people is far below what is required of a store of that size so it was an hour (yes, a whole hour) of queuing just to get a DVD swapped.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Shopping at Tobi

The vast majority of the online catalogue shopping sites just plonk on one photo of each item of clothing. Even the better ones will only put a couple of photos of each item online.

Tobi is different. In addition to having several views of each item they go a lot further and include a whole series of combinations under The Brand Book which goes a long way to providing you with a consistent look and that’s before you even consider the editorial section which contains a whole mine of information. The blog will keep you up to date with the latest fashion trends too.

Naturally backing all this up is a massive catalogue of all the best clothing. Take for example the Nudie range. There you’ll find all the styles of Nudie jeans. If Nudie isn’t your thing, what about Seven for all Mankind?

Not enough for you? How about an online stylist to help you choose the clothes? That’s on offer too. In fact, I suspect there’s a whole lot more on offer that I’ve not discovered yet because this is a site designed to give you a very complete and enjoyable shopping experience along with providing an excellent range of clothing.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.
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