I buy a lot of stuff from them. Books, batteries, Bose earphones, travel alarm, anchovies…it’s a brilliant operation — quick, simple, low-cost. But lately I’ve been backing off a bit. Yesterday I went into Builder’s Booksource in Berkeley and bought 2 books — Cracks in the Asphalt – Community Gardens in San Francisco, and Steal Like an Artist, which George, the owner showed me, plus 2 copies of Dwell Magazine (which I think sucks — going to write something about them soon).
I read a while back about people finding books in bookstores and ordering from Amazon on their phones right then. Hold up here! Is low cost the only criteria? How about supporting the bookstores so they can stay open and you can go in and browse and talk to book-loving personnel?
I’ve switched to ordering all my photo equipment from BH PhotoVideo in New York. To find an item like a Canon battery charger with fold-out (rather than cord) prongs, I talked to someone at BH, who directed me to the item I wanted right away. One time a guy there turned me onto a nice little card reader that he used himself. Their prices are about as good as Amazon. If you’re into photography and in Manhattan, go there — huge place — like 50 sales people at the digital counter — (take a number like for sandwiches at Whole Foods).
Thirdly, I’ve been buying tools lately at Jackson Hardware, an employee-owned super tool and hardware store in San Rafael, Calif. Yesterday I bought a Makita model 4350T jigsaw, and it cost me $25 more than at Amazon. But the sales guy walked me through Makitas, Bosch’s, Dewalts and how to work the controls on the Makita for 4 different cutting actions. I ended up buying this top of the line one for $199. (At my age, it’ll last me for the –ulp! — rest of my life.)
There’s a prevalent argument for buying everything from Amazon because they’re cheaper. I’m sayin that the almighty lowest cost ain’t all there is to it.