Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Amazon Sent Me The Wrong Book. And Used.

Normally, I'm complaining about mid-sized bookselling operations  with too much work and not enough management or dim-witted individuals selling off their personal assets.
Today, my problem comes from the great Amazon USA Mothership itself: Amazon.com.

This is kind of bizarre.

I ordered this guy from Amazon.

Comparative Politics: A Global Introduction

  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Higher Education; 3rd edition (January 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071101810
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071101813
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 7.9 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds

Here's a picture of what I ordered. Notice the white cover:


I got a book, nicely packaged in one of Amazon's BK1 model book fold mailers.
I've attached a picture of the 'From' label, so Amazon management can see which warehouse made this mistake.


Now, here's a picture of what I received.



For the record, here's the catalog entry:

Comparative Politics: A Global Introduction

  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages; 3 edition (May 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0073526312
  • ISBN-13: 978-0073526317
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 7.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds

Let's take a closer look at the sticker on back:

Notice that the ISBN number on the sticker matches what I ordered. The problem, however, is that I didn't want a sticker with the ISBN of what I ordered on it. I wanted the actual book.
If you peel the sticker off... well, it's a different ISBN than what's on the sticker. Also, if you check the copyright page of the book.. it's the purple version, not the white one.

What's more perplexing than this, however, is that the book is clearly not new. The top corners next to the spine have visible bumping; this thing has been dropped. A bunch of times.
The other corners have wear suggestive of substantial handling. There isn't any highlighting, but it leads me to wonder how Amazon got this guy mixed in with the new book inventory.
Also, why would Amazon buy books with bar codes on top of their real bar codes?
I know that Amazon has in-house stickers used to help with order automation, but how did this mix-up actually happen?
I know Amazon has sellers using its 'Fulfillment By Amazon' service. Perhaps one of those guys sent his book in with this bar code, then the automation took over and this book got lumped in with the new stuff?
Is some poor Amazon seller now missing his book?

If anyone working at Amazon has any info as to whether or not this is possible, please let me know. I'd be fascinated to know, and would be glad to preserve your anonymity.

Bad Bookseller Jeff Bezos, No Cookie!

and, in a new feature, here is the Cookie recipe that Jeff Bezos, CEO, would have gotten if he hadn't been a Bad Bookseller:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

This buyer clearly only eats at Denny's; No Cookie Needed

For today's Bad Bookseller installment, we take you to an amateur Amazon seller who goes by the name ChefLizzyRose.
Here is her feedback:
3.7 stars over the past 12 months (11 ratings, 73% positive)

Sellers with 11 feedback and 73% positive aren't a good thing, but the feedback stat, in and of itself, doesn't make for a worthwhile blog entry.
However, some of the feedback and responses are amusing.

Here is the most recent feedback:

1 out of 5: "Ordered item, but order was canceled because item was "out of stock." When I checked back on the Amazon site, though, the item in question was still listed for sale. Seller does not seem to keep track of what he or she is selling on Amazon."
Date: February 19, 2011     Rated by Buyer: Kenji H.

Seller Response: "By immediately letting you know the item was out of stock constitutes keeping track of what is being sold. Amazon site takes up to 15 minutes to update when something is changed. Again, I apologize for the inconvenience. Have a wonderful day."     Date: February 27, 2011

My remarks: 
If you really had been keeping up with with what was sold, you would not have had a stock-out to begin with.
If Lizzy had a walk-in store and advertised shelf stock on Amazon, she might have an argument. The 12-month feedback count of 11 pretty much tells you that we're not dealing with a full-fledged business, though. Feedback gets left for maybe 1 transaction in 10, so we're talking about an enterprise that only has to track 3 sales per week.

Here is another negative, with a response that speaks to the seller's business sense:

2 out of 5: "Never received item, mis-represented as a canister when she told me after the fact, they were packets."
Date: August 21, 2010     Rated by Buyer: CityGirl
Seller Response: "Refunded both of this persons items. So not only are they a cheat they are a liar too. Sellers beware. Amazon has does nothing to protect us sellers."     Date: September 3, 2010

My remarks:
What is the cheating here? The buyer ordered an item, did not receive it and received a refund.
Did you think that paying them the refund money binds them into some kind of contract that keeps them from leaving you a neg?
If just accepting a return and refunding the money bought you good feedback, then no one would have any negs.
If the buyer defrauded you somehow, you need to explain yourself. Otherwise you wind up looking like a ninny.

Here is the good one:

1 out of 5: "First of all I never got either of my products. I find out that the picture is of a canister and she sent the box which is misleading. No tracking. Nothing. She did refund one of my items but not the other. Horrible..."
Date: August 3, 2010     Rated by Buyer: CityGirl
Seller Response: "This buyer clearly only eats at Denny's and is able to order from only the menu with pictures. My products always have a description that is accurate. This buyer has also been reported to Amazon. Sellers beware!"     Date: August 3, 2010

My remarks:
Really? You're complaining that a customer needs to have pictures in order to know what they're ordering?
Amazon lets you upload dozens of pictures and illustrations of your product. Amazon lets you make new catalog pages; you can make a catalog page with whatever title you need, write a 10-paragraph description of the product and upload beautiful full-color photos of any aspect of the thing.
Bad seller!
No Cookie for you, ChefLizzyRose!

PS- If you ever wind up reading this post, could you please post a comment explaining what the fraud was in relation to the August 21 feedback above? I tried to figure it out, but it was making my brain want to explode.