Tag Archives | Shopping

I Visited a CD Store Today. (Remember Those?)

I was a frequent Tower Records shopper until that chain collapsed, and it’s only been gone since 2006. I went to the Virgin Megastores in San Francisco and New York pretty often, too, and they closed in 2009. That doesn’t seem that long ago.

But at the moment, I’m in San Diego for Qualcomm’s Uplinq conference, and when I saw a Sam Goody music store in the same complex as my hotel, I wandered in–and boy, did what I found feel like something from another era.

Until I came across it, I wasn’t sure whether Sam Goody (which was founded in New York City in the 1950s by Samuel Gutowitz) still existed. Apparently, even Sam Goody is uncertain whether Sam Goody still exists: Wikipedia (which refers to the chain in the past tense) says it’s owned by Trans World Entertainment, which also owns FYE, the last bastion of big-time shopping-mall music stores. But the company apparently converted most of the remaining Goody stores into FYEs in 2008 and doesn’t even mention the chain on its corporate site. There is no such place as SamGoody.com anymore, either.

But this San Diego Sam Goody refuses to acknowledge its own fate, like a Japanese soldier hiding out on a Pacific island somewhere. (In this case, the island happens to be Horton Plaza, a sprawling open-air shopping center in San Diego’s Gaslight Quarter.)

The Goody store is a close cousin of the Tower Records and Virgin Megastores I’d once found worth my time, but I’d almost forgotten what they were like, and had to reacclimate myself to the whole concept of a great big retailer dealing primarily in discs with things recorded on them. As I toured the place, I took fuzzy photos with my iPhone.

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Facebook The Latest To Join Online Coupon Frenzy

The online coupon industry is getting crowded. Facebook is the latest to announce, launching Deals on Facebook in five cities on Tuesday. The first cities to get the service will be Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Diego, and San Francisco, although if you live elsewhere and are interested you’ll be able to sign up to be notified.

Of course if Facebook is involved there’s going to be some kind of social aspect, so the company says it will make it easy for users of the service to share the deals they find, as well as helping “find interesting experiences around you to do with friends.” You’ll also be able to “Like” the deal in true Facebook fashion.

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Save Your Money, Steve: Five Reasons Why We Don’t Need More Microsoft Stores

Agreeing with me is not a prerequisite for Technologizer contributors. (Actually, I always learn more when our other writers–and commenters–have a take that’s in conflict with mine.) I was happy to read Ed’s post on why he shares Steve Ballmer’s apparent belief that Microsoft should build many more Microsoft Stores. But even though Ed makes his case cogently, I’m still not sold on the argument that Microsoft should mount an Apple-like campaign to sell products directly to consumers through hundreds of retail outlets. Here’s why.

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Shopping for Bargains on the Internet

Do you have a cheapskate gene, one that yearns for a wholesale price? I do and can’t bear to pay more for something if I can find the exact same thing for less money.

That’s this week’s topic: The sites I regularly visit with daily bargain-priced products, those with coupon codes for discounts or free shipping, and the tools to make bargain hunting easier.

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iLines Part Deux: Some Apple Stores to Open Early Tuesday

By all accounts, Friday’s launch of the iPad 2 was a success. Analysts say the company likely sold at least 500,000 units over the weekend — with some saying Apple may have sold close to a million units. If you found an iPad on Sunday, consider yourself lucky: most places had sold out of the device on Saturday if not on launch day itself.

This success may be the reason why Apple may be quietly planning to open some of its stores an hour early on Tuesday, according to the Apple Bitch blog. Those walking into Apple Stores today are being told that even if they receive shipments today to replenish stocks, iPad 2s will not available until Tuesday.

With many stores opening typically at 10:00am, this would mean those stores would open at 9:00am instead.

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No iLine for Me This Year

I got up at the crack of dawn and waited in a long, long line for the original iPhone. I did the same for the iPhone 3G. And the iPhone 3GS. And the iPad. (In all cases, I did it partially to acquire products to review, and partially to report on the all the wackiness associated with the iLine experience.

But I’m not in line right now to buy an iPad 2–instead, I’m on my way to Austin for the South by Southwest conference. (Or trying to get there, at least–a three-hour flight delay turned my flight to Austin into a flight to Houston, plus another three hours in a rent-a-car.) There are, however, still iLines around the country–maybe not of record-setting length, but still formidable. AppleInsider’s Daniel Eran Dilger has a report on the one at the flagship Apple Store in San Francisco. (I took the photo above at the same store during the 2007 iPhone launch.)


Room 77: Know Your Hotel Room Before It's Your Hotel Room

When I’m on the road and enter my hotel room for the first time, I turn on the light, survey my surroundings to mentally rate the quality of the accommodations for the price I paid, and then open the curtains so I can judge the view. So, I’ll bet, do you. But it always feels like a crapshoot–by the time I know much about the room, I’m in it and have agreed to pay for it.

Room 77–which was the first company to demo today at the Launch conference here in San Francisco–has a (potentially) better idea: It’s collecting and sharing information about individual rooms in specific hotels. It knows the features rooms have; it knows whether they’re corner rooms and how large they are; it uses Google Earth to generate simulated views as you’ll see them from specific rooms. If a particular hotel is in its database, you can judge its rooms from the comfort of home (or anywhere else–there’s an iPhone app).

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Verizon iPhone 4 Launch: Why the Lack of iLines?

I went to my local Apple Store yesterday night, in the wake of yesterday’s release of the Verizon iPhone 4. It was an utter mob scene.

Of course, it’s almost always an utter mob scene in there–and tonight, it was no more crazy than usual. I commented on the lack of Verizon-induced insanity to a salesguy. “We’re surprised ourselves,” he said.

When Apple releases a new iPhone, there are supposed to be hordes of folks willing to show up at the crack of dawn and wait for hours to get their hands on one. Everybody knows that. But this time, it didn’t happen–across the country, people did show up to buy Verizon iPhones, but not in droves.

Why the startling degree of normalcy? A few theories…

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PlayStation 3 On Sale at Amazon for $40? Probably Not!

[New information: Target has issued a statement, saying all orders will be cancelled. See it here]

I’m not sure whether it’s an error on Amazon’s part, or an unannounced sale: Sony’s PlayStation 3 is on sale at the site for $39.99. The retailer itself is not offering the console at this price, instead Target appears to be the source.

Obviously people have rushed to take advantage of this, and it is already appearing out of stock. I am viewing this skeptically: the deal seems too good to be true, and the PS3 is nowhere near to being discontinued.

It’s going to be interesting to see how this pans out. That said, I have ordered myself one just in case.

Update 1: People are noting that Target’s website is also showing this, but the weight is off and appears to be a Move accessory. Still, the error means Somebody’s going to get a stern talking to Monday morning…

Update 2: The order when placed comes as a confirmation that you’ve purchased the Move “shooter grip” accessory, a reader reports. However, the cancellation notice shows you’ve canceled a 60GB PlayStation 3.

Update 3: Looks like as of 3am ET, the item has been removed from Amazon, and on Target’s website there’s no more $39.99 PS3. More reports coming in indicate that in some cases, the confirmation e-mails do say that it is the console, and not the accessory as others have seen. We have mails out to both target and Amazon for comment on the matter.


Best Buy's Buy Back Bonanza

BGR is reporting on apparent plans by Best Buy to launch a program called Buy Back. It doesn’t have all the details, but the basic idea is this: You pay an up-front fee–supposedly $59.99, at least in the case of phones–when you buy a phone, laptop, netbook, tablet, phone, or TV. That gets you the right to sell the device back to Best Buy for a gift card that covers part of the original cost–50% in the first six months, for instance, and 20% during months 18-24.

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