A good Cyber Monday to you

Lots of online retailers are looking for your business today. There are some great deals, but there are also pitfalls to ordering online. So go over the figures and options before putting in your credit card info. See http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-18522-NY-Jewish-Bridal-Examiner~y2009m11d30-Gift-shopping-online

Comments

Lion of Zion said…
regarding the shipping charges and return policies, it's another reason i'm a big costco fan.
free shipping on most items (at least the ones i've ordered) and any shipping charges are fully refundable if you return the item.
and the regular lifetime no questions asked return policy applies, so if it do want to return something it can sit in my closet for 2 years before i do it.
Ariella said…
About Costco's liberal return policy: someone told me that because vacuum cleaners tend to break every year or two, she buys it at Costco and regularly returns it when it breaks and pick up a new one. My husband finds this somewhat unethical, though. In any case, we are not Costco member. I do believe that other stores are also lenient about returning things that break before they should. That would include Walmart and Bed Bath and Beyond. And, of course, as I said in the post, the guarantee from Lands' End is for anything and any time. But even they do not refund shipping costs. In the past few months, though, they have offered free shipping with no minimum just about every other day.
Lion of Zion said…
why is you friend being unethical?
unethical would be returning something every year (even though nothing is wrong with it) merely because you want the newer model.

(costoc actually did start a new policty a few years ago that limits returns on tvs, computers, cameras and ipod to 90 days, although they do extend the manufacturer's warranty by one year for free.)
Ariella said…
She's not really a friend of mine; she just offered that advice when I posted a question about vacuum cleaner models. She's not doing anything illegal, but she sets out expecting to return it. Most of us buy something in the hopes of keeping it. If there is something wrong, we have a right to return it. But all appliances will inevitably wear out -- some after 1 year, some after 2, some only after 5. By trading in every year or 2, she never has to actually buy a replacement. I suppose it would be like buying a pair of shoes from Landsend, returning them when they wear down for a new pair, then returning those when they wear down, and so on, and so on. They allow it because they want to keep the customers happy, but doing it consistently to renew the same item seems to abuse the system.
I heard a commercial for Stew Leonards (sp) for their fresh cut Christmas trees. The spokesman boasts of the fact that a woman returned a tree in February, claiming it dried out. They gave her the full credit for a new tree for the next round of the holiday. Though he then mumbles, "maybe I shouldn't tell you that," he does so to impress the audience with the level of customer satisfaction the provide. He doesn't really expect people to try to pull the same shtick.
Lion of Zion said…
what does costco expect customers to do with its return policy?
Ariella said…
I think it's like the guy pitching his guarantee for the trees. They will honor the guarantee, but they expect that most people will not take advantage. Obviously, if everyone would return their trees after the holiday for full credit, the store that line would lead to loss rather than profit. There is a school of thought that says each person should act the way they think most should act for a functioning society rather than thinking that I can do what I want because others will take up the slack. But that gets too deep for a shopping post.
Lion of Zion said…
"There is a school of thought . . ."

costco is a business, not a social experiement. costco's job is to make money. if it decided that offering a liberal return policy will draw in enough additional customers (raising sales volume accordingly) to offset losses from returns, that is their business. at any point costco will adjust that policy if it feels it is detrimental to its business interests. (indeed, that is what happened with computers and some other high-end electronics, which now have only a 90-day return window.)

it's like rebates. manuftureres and stores offer the rebates that trim profit margins (or eliminate them altogether) because they make a prediction that enough people will lose the rebate form, fill it out incorrectyl, mail it late or not mail it altogether, whereby accetable overall profit margins can still be maintained. so would you argue that just because there is a rebate doesn't mean i should send it in? afterall, the store/manufacturer is not expecting me to send it in.
Ariella said…
There's a huge difference between sending in a rebate (which is usually offers something like $40 or $100 back on a $500 item) and returning your vacuum every 2 years for a full credit of the purchase price. The first is planned by the store (which, yes, does know that most consumers will not get their rebates in). But a return policy is meant to reassure customers that the store backs its products. Should all customers start returning their trees after the holiday, the store would be forced to either change its policy or close. But even if all customers would qualify for the rebates, the stores would not lose by it. Actually, rebates are usually provided by the manufacturer -- not the store itself.
Ariella said…
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Ariella said…
Obviously, Costco is a business and not a social experiment, but that there are ethical concerns that take the view of what would happen if all did this? BTW Rav Avinar's view is that one is not even allowed to take free samples if one knows one is not planning to buy the product. Now the store knows that they are offering the samples with no guarantee that they will result in sales; nevertheless, from the customer's perspective, R' Avinar says they should not help themselves unless they honestly will consider buying what they sample. This is an even higher standard than reconsidering the plan of buying with the intent of returning. Yes, the stores do allow for it, but that doesn't mean one should.
Another example, CVS allows returns on cosmetics -- even used ones -- for up to 6 months. If I would apply this woman's strategy, I could update my makeup for free every 6 months that way. But the idea is not for customers to take advantage -- only to buy in confidence that if they find the lipstick looks horrible on or doesn't stay on the way the package promises, they are not out the purchase prices.
Lion of Zion said…
the rav of my shul gave a scathing drasha on yom kippur this year about jewish business ethics (or lack of them). i will ask him what he thinks about this.

in the meantime we are not going to agree. so instead of me taking up your time with another comment, go write a new post :)

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