I try not to deal with multi-national tech giants if I can help it, but sometimes Amazon seems to be the obvious choice. Until it all goes wrong.
My boat, Seren, was built in the UK about the time UK industry was shifting to the metric system, but the design predates that and so do many of the components used. The propshaft for example is 1″ in diameter. I’ve replaced the propshaft bearings and was able to buy them locally with no trouble, but the couplings that join sections of the shaft together were loose and I couldn’t find replacements anywhere in the UK. Plenty of metric ones but none with a 1″ bore. Even Ebay couldn’t help.
Eventually I found them on Amazon UK, though they were listed by Amazon US where of course they still use inches.
I ordered them in December. Delivery was estimated at 3 weeks or so. I waited, then around the time they were due I got a delivery.
Not a box with two heavy couplings in, just a lightweight padded envelope. Which was split down one side and empty. The label (from Yodel) looked odd and said it was a reprint. Under it was another label, presumably the original, obviously cut from a carton. I’m guessing someone opened the box, or it was damaged in transit, so they put the items in a ‘Jiffy’ bag and sent them on. But the bag was nothing like strong enough for the items so they fell out.
After explaining all this to Amazon customer services they gave me a refund and suggested I re-order. They gave me a cock and bull story about how they couldn’t replace them because they, ie Amazon UK, didn’t stock them. So I reordered.
And followed the ‘Track your delivery’ page for three weeks until they too were declared lost.
This time I got very cross with customer services and was transferred to a guy with a soothing voice and calm manner. He too refused to replace the items but once again arranged a refund. He also suggested that if I re-ordered immediately while he was watching my account I could opt for fast delivery and he would refund that too. I went to order and noticed the price had increased (Brexit, exchange rate, who knows?) so he made another refund to cover that.
So it all ended happily? No they just got lost quicker. This time I just took the money.
Fortunately someone in the US is now offering similar items at a lower price. If they get lost I might find an engineering company to bore out a pair of Ø25 couplings to 1″. Or buy a lathe and make my own.


“I seriously believe that the people who brought us sub-prime loans all moved to promoting cloud computing.”

No, not me some bod on TechRepublic.

The thing no-one seems bothered to address is, bandwidth. I’ve tried Googledocs and Aviary (graphics apps online) and neither work sensibly here especially in the evenings or weekends. The web is great for file transfer and backup, Dropbox, UbuntuOne etc, but do I want to be writing a 2000 word piece on it when the screen display lags about 5 words behind my feeble typing speed? And then stop altogether when Llan’s teen population get home and fire up MySpace, Bebo, Facebook. and bring the network down to a crawl?