About once a week, I get email from Sam’s Club listing “this week’s top sellers.” I am constantly flabbergasted to see this item appear right up at the top of the list at least three out of every four weeks:
Posted in Say What??
Vampires, werewolves, witches, voodoo priestesses — I’ve never been intrigued by the whole “urban fantasy” fad, which in my opinion mostly consists of hackneyed horror movie clichés marinated in estrogen. I’m reminded of the Simpsons episode where Lisa’s fantasy novel is cookie-cut by a committee until it is nothing more than a copy of everybody else’s.
So when I saw the following catalog page in the monthly Science Fiction Book Club mailer, I had to wonder:
I mean, come on. Really?
Put some effort into your product, guys, or just stop offering it.
While Googling for a hard drive upgrade for an older laptop, I encountered an site called ePartsGiant who was selling 80GB 7200RPM Travelstars for half the price of the competition. They were advertised as new, in-box, with a 30-day warranty. Intrigued, I investigated to see if there were similar bargains in larger drive sizes. I found the original drive listed under two different prices, both marked new, in-box. I also found a 100GB 7200RPM Travelstar listed under the same two prices, both marked new, in-box. Strange.
Since I’ve found shipping to be cheaper and quicker from nearby vendors, I clicked on the “about us” link to see where these fellows were located. The page was blank, except for the title and a vaguely disturbing indication of English illiteracy (“A Giant Store for Hard Drives, Memory, Power Supply, Processor & System Board” and “Term of Service.”) The “contact us” page indicated an unconvincing address in New York.
Warily, I tried their checkout screens. The left margin contained logos for “PayPal Verified” and PayPal payment services… but there was apparently no way to pay with PayPal. You entered your credit card information, or you didn’t play. Now I was growing dubious.