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Messages - WayOutWest

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Amazon granted a patent that prevents in-store shoppers from online price checking
Amazon’s long been a go-to for people to online price compare while shopping at brick-and-mortars. Now, a new patent granted to the company could prevent people from doing just that inside Amazon’s own stores.

The patent, titled “Physical Store Online Shopping Control,” details a mechanism where a retailer can intercept network requests like URLs and search terms that happen on its in-store Wi-Fi, then act upon them in various ways.

The document details in great length how a retailer like Amazon would use this information to its benefit. If, for example, the retailer sees you’re trying to access a competitor’s website to price check an item, it could compare the requested content to what’s offered in-store and then send price comparison information or a coupon to your browser instead. Or it could suggest a complementary item, or even block content outright.
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(continue reading at )

Seems to me that it's not so much about preventing people from price comparing inside an Amazon owned shop (though it does have that aspect to it, which is a huge benefit for Amazon), but more so about preventing other businesses from implementing the same sort of tech in their own shops.
* Amazon Central / Re: Alexa app wont load
« on: June 13, 2017, 01:11:56 PM »
It supposedly doesn't actually record until it hears the trigger word (alexa, unless you set it up to respond to amazon, computer, or echo), and then records what's said immediately after.

From what I've observed, that is the case.  I haven't seen any network activity from it until the wake word has been said. 

However, it can be used to eavesdrop by someone with the correct tools (by NSA, hackers, etc).  But, so can your phone, your tablet, your laptop, your tv, and many other devices around you.  Not to mention the old fashioned ways of eavesdropping. Cell phones are probably the worst, since they can provide so much --  phone convos, messaging transcripts, email logs, recordings of everything said in vicinity of phone, logs of everywhere you went, logs of everything you looked at online, etc.

Anyway, I figure there's lots more interesting folks out there than me for them to listen in on ;) 
* Amazon Central / Alexa app wont load
« on: June 11, 2017, 11:56:17 AM »
Are you experiencing problems getting the Amazon Alexa app to load?  Does the circle just keep spinning around and around?  Are you just getting a blank screen?  If the app just sits there with the loading icon spinning, it's a cookie problem.  The same is true if you can't get the alexa webpage to load.

 If you're experiencing this on the Alexa app, open the Amazon shopping app and logout.  If that doesn't fix it, open your other Amazon apps (Amazon Kindle app, Amazon music app, etc) and logout of those. 

If you're experiencing this on the website, open the main Amazon webpage at, hover your mouse over your name on the right hand side, wait for the menu to appear, and click the bottom line that says "Not <your name>? Sign out".  Once that's done, try again to get to load.

This cookie bug appears to be very pervasive, so if you use the app or the webpage frequently, you'll find yourself needing to pretty much always stay logged out of the main Amazon website and app.

I didn't notice it Friday or Saturday, but did nearly all of my shopping on Thursday. Talk about driving away customers, though.  Show them that sort of stuff and they'll move on to somewhere else. Not to mention all the ones that look at price and for the Prime logo, but never look closer and thus wont even notice a s/h fee stuck on there.  They'll be mad as all get out when/if they notice the charges. And good luck getting buyer support to fix their order total.

I hear ya; such things are almost always linked to some sort of *cough* improvement *cough* that does all sorts of fun stuff for the sellers.  :(
Our wonderful tax dollars going to Amazon. Go figure.
Speaking of such things - my state struck a deal with Amazon for Amazon to collect sales tax even though Amazon has no physical presence here. Well, guess what?  The details of the deal are being kept secret. You know what that means, that the state is letting them keep an undisclosed % of the sales tax monies. Irks me for two reasons, one the fact they're letting Amazon keep the tax money and secondly because they're keeping it a secret. 

More recently it was announced that Amazon is going to open a warehouse in my state, which means that the state is giving them an even bigger chunk than they might have given. Like many states, my state is known for giving monies (grants, tax credits, property tax waivers, etc) to big companies to entice them to open up a facility here. 

In the case of Amazon collecting sales tax, the state is taking the stance of not being able to publicly discuss specific information about an individual taxpayer.  That's not at all what that law was intended to protect.  And, Amazon isn't a taxpayer, they're a tax collector in this instance.  The retail customers are the tax payers and discussing the Amazon deal would be discussing information on a collective rather than an individual.

Idaho did the same thing, claiming they can't discuss an individual taxpayer.  Utah has done similarly, but did disclose that Amazon is getting to keep 1.31% of the sales tax revenue, the same deal they give other large retailers, but there are other details that Utah is refusing to disclose, saying that doing so would expose Amazon to competitive injury.

Rent to own rims?   Wow. Just wow.  smh.  Next you'll tell me you saw some rent to own teeth grillz. Lol

Amazon's ideas - I hear ya.  Heck, when they first started I questioned the whole business model. Would there really be enough people buying books from an online seller (Vs. a B&M one) to support the kind of expenses they were generating with all that warehouse building they were doing and the huge number of employees they were hiring?  After all, whenever I was in a bookstore, whether it be in Tulsa or a city like Houston, I was usually the only customer in sight.
Up to 70.  Dunno the when/if on getting 70% Vs. getting less. Didn't dig deeper.  Still, though, even if it's less, once you consider the fact that they do all the work of the photos, the listing, shipping, customer q/a, etc. . .  Keep in mind, though, that they set the price. 

Edit - did the digging.  They have a scale system that ranges from 55% to 70%, based on your net sales.  The more you sell, the higher the commission you get.  It looks like the first year of selling is the roughest.

Items must be less than 10yrs old, even newer for some designers (like I mentioned in previous post about how some can only be 5yrs old).  List of designers whose goods they accept is at

Saw on another page that for jewelry and watches you can get up to 80%, but couldn't find the details.  Did discover that their jewelry category is open to non-designer goods, as long as it's a good piece.  I'm not surprised that this non-designer piece was accepted I'm a little surprised that this one was, though:

Handmaid's Tale - coincidentally, that's what I was watching when saw the ad  :)   That is a good show, eh?   :)
* Beyond eBay & Amazon / New Designer Goods Online Consignment Shop
« on: June 07, 2017, 01:11:49 AM »
Just saw a consumer orientated ad for this site on Hulu.  Got to looking at it and it's a consignment shop

The ad says every item is authenticated by their team of in house experts.  If you look at the site you find that they have restrictions on the goods, such as only certain designers, some designers the item can only be 5yrs old, etc.

Sellers get to keep up to 70% of the selling price.  They'll schedule a pick up or you can ship the goods to them.

General info for individual sellers at
If you're a luxury goods vendor, the vendor page is at
I just wonder how effective it will be in attracting the walmart customer.  The monthly rate does make it seem cheap, but when you consider it's $72 over 12 months, it's not that cheap, especially for someone on assistance.  After all, it used to be $79 a yr. . .

Of course, having it listed at the monthly rate does help with the sales. If netflix advertised their plan at the per yr rate, they'd probably have fewer customers. Same reason places can rent washer and dryers, sofas, etc. for crazy prices; they tell you the weekly rate and make it look cheap.  Case in point, I used to know a person that was paying more per month for his washing machine (from one of those rental places) than I paid for a used one that was advertised in the local classifieds.  So, maybe it'll work.  :? I'm sure they spent quite a bit of time researching the optimal price point.

Why does that not surprise me in the least  ::)
Just saw this on Clark Howard's website.  If you're on govt assistance, you can get Prime for $6 a month instead of the $99/yr price.

Those with a valid Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card are eligible. An EBT card is used to disburse funds for these government assistance programs:

    Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
    Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
    Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC)

According to the article, Amazon hopes this will attract people who primarily shop at WalMart and other discount stores.

Things that make you go hmm. . .

It's good to see that you can override it with the [Important] bit in subject line.
* Amazon Central / Amazon Add-On Item Hack
« on: May 31, 2017, 05:14:42 PM »
So you want to buy an add-on item, but you don't want to order a bunch of stuff right now and don't want to wait until you are ordering more?  If you have Prime and an Amazon Echo (Alexa) you're in luck!  All you have to do is ask Alexa to order it for you and she will bypass the ordering minimum.  In order to narrow the search down to the add-on item, be sure to give Alexa item specifics from the title, such as the item's model number.

E.g., "Alexa, order a Leviton fourteen zero six" will result in her finding, and offering to order, the Leviton 1406 660 Watt, 125 Volt, Two Outlet With Pull Chain Socket Adapter, Black which is an add-on item that currently is priced at $4.99. 

Note: when Alexa tells you the total, it will include any applicable sales tax, so depending on what state you're in, she might not say (in this example), "$4.99".  If your tax rate is 7%, she'll instead say "$5.34".  And, of course, prices change frequently and items move in and out of add-on status.

This is also welcome news for Amazon 3P sellers whose FBA products have ended up being converted into add-on items.
* Amazon Central / Something wonky this way comes
« on: May 24, 2017, 08:02:56 AM »
I'm not sure when it started. I only noticed it this week. Addresses have been messed up when printed by Amazon.

For years, my ship to address for Amazon purchases has been:
(My Name)
(Business Name)
(Street Address)
(City) (State) (ZIP)

Recently I noticed that shipping labels are printing as:
(My Name)
(Business Name) (Street Number)
(Street Name)

When I look at my address book, it has business name in Address Line 1 and Street Address (number and name) in Address Line 2.  I don't know if it's always been that way (with business name in Addr1) or not. I haven't looked closely at it in years.

When looking at order invoices and other areas of Amazon, it displays my address correctly (with the street number on same line as street name). Likewise, when viewing the address in the address book and other areas, it displays correctly. It seems to only happen when they actually print the shipping label.

I'm not aware of this being an issue before, with the exception of some 3rd party FBM orders.  This has even resulted in one order being flagged by the post office as invalid address, return to sender (I went to post office to intercept).  Maybe this is why I've had so many late deliveries the past few years (so many that I haven't paid for Prime in two years)?  My late delivery rate really isn't outside the norm, though, at around 1.5%.

All of my items for sale are FBA, so I have no clue if my customer addresses are being mangled in a similar manner or not, however I wouldn't be surprised if they are.

Posting so that everyone that is FBM is aware that there is an issue.  I'd recommend being on alert when printing FBM labels.
There was one that begged me for feedback while I was having a difficult time with them (item was defective and after I notified them, I got an email outlining their return policy and how I'd have to pay a restocking fee and return shipping -- meanwhile the feedback request was automatically sent to me).  I sent them an email back asking if they were sure they wanted my feedback since they were violating amazon policy with their crap about me having to pay return shipping and restocking fee on a defective item.  :0771

Needless to say they backpedaled very quickly.
Thanks for the heads up
Just tried (I rarely use facebook or chrome) and it worked fine for me.  Chrome Version 58.0.3029.96 (64-bit) on Windows 10 64-bit Home Edition

In the process of checking, came across some really cool work by a metalsmith artist.  He's doing bonsai trees made from bundles of wire.

! No longer available
* Amazon Central / Re: Negative Feedback for an FBA order
« on: May 04, 2017, 05:40:03 PM »
I woulda, but bought as gifts and they were of a tv series that's hard to find here in the states  (easy to find if you want region 2 dvds, but region 1, not so much).  Which made it really suck that I found myself in the position of giving cutouts as gifts, but. . .

* Amazon Central / Re: Negative Feedback for an FBA order
« on: May 03, 2017, 09:37:02 AM »
Crazy that you'd have to go through all of those hoops.  Meanwhile, a FB I left for an FBA seller that sent in cutout DVDs and listed them as new (with condition note of brand new) got quietly pulled by Amazon (I'm sure at seller request) without any notification to me and with no opportunity to leave an alternate FB for her.
Interesting to read that they're working on the brand registry and brand gating in the U.S. with changes to be launched very soon.
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