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Topics - WayOutWest

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* General Discussions / Wishing everyone the best!
« on: December 29, 2019, 12:16:31 PM »
I hope everyone has been having a very successful holiday season and that everything is going as well as can be both in business and personal lives :)
The Cultured Pearl Association of America, Inc., has long offered certification for pearl specialists. This certification is normally $600.  In a bold move to help the pearl industry and help generate more public interest in pearls, the government of Tahiti has decided to cover the cost of the classes & certification for a limited time!

If you're in retail jewelry sales, or think you might eventually want to work in a retail jewelry store, this is a great deal!  Or, if you simply want to learn more about cultured pearls, this is a great way to learn about the product!

If you've ever sat down with a certified pearl specialist at a retail jewelry store, this is the exact same certification s/he had.

You read the material, watch some videos, take a few quizzes, read and watch some more, then take the final exam.  The final covers the material that's presented throughout the course.  When done, you can save a pdf of your certificate for printing yourself.  If you want to order a certificate after passing the exam, you can then order one for $18 plus a few dollars for shipping.

This is a self-paced course, with no time limits on the exams.  I sat down and went through the entire thing in 10 hours.  However, you can spread it out over several days or more if you want.

Tip: while the purpose is to actually learn the material, you can have the course material open for reference in one window and the final exam open in another. Even with that, it'll be much easier if you do study the material.

* E-commerce In The News / Toy r Us, back from the dead
« on: June 22, 2019, 04:15:18 AM »
Toys r Us will be resurrected later this year, with an e-commerce site and stores that are about 1/3 the size of the original stores.
* Amazon Central / Fedex Express Dumps Amazon as Customer
« on: June 12, 2019, 10:00:23 PM »
From Barron's:
FedEx decided to dump as a customer on Friday, saying it would focus instead on doing business with other online retailers. The move underscores the extent to which Amazon has become a serious competitor to existing logistics providers. But it also shows that FedEx believes it doesn’t need Amazon’s high-volume business to thrive.

“FedEx has made the strategic decision to not renew the FedEx Express U.S. domestic contract with [Amazon] as we focus on serving the broader e-commerce market,” FedEx said in a statement. Amazon accounts for 1.3% of FedEx sales, according to FedEx.

read entire article at:

Of course, Amazon would probably have ended up dumping Fedex, since they're building out their own delivery network.  I suspect Fedex felt it would look better to investors if Fedex did the dumping, but I could be wrong.
I don't know how new this is, but someone I know just posted this on Facebook and thought I'd share.

Paypal Hosted Buttons HEADS UP!
For those you you who use PayPal hosted buttons for ordering on your web page there is a problem when you are linking to your web page from Facebook when your customer is using most mobile devices and clicking on your link.  It is caused by the Facebook Mobile Browser. The browser is a stripped down browser for fast page loading. It does not render the button correctly, This causes the user to end up at a login page with no relation to your product he/she has ordered. The only solution i have found is to request the user type or paste the URL into a different browser like Safari or Chrome. Learned that yesterday when a $90.00 order was not placed because of a customer frustration when he could not purchase and could not articulate the problem.

I would provide the link to the post, but it's a closed group
* General Discussions / Original
« on: April 17, 2019, 05:30:49 AM » was the land of 1 item a day at a discount price, then Amazon bought it and made it into a dumping ground for stuff they can't sell, with several items a day, but nothing special.

For those that miss the old, the guys that built it have launched a new site,  :D!

This may be old news to some, but I don't get out much and just found it. If you knew already, why didn't you tell me?
* Everything eBay / New PayPal Policy Regarding Fees and Refunds
« on: April 05, 2019, 05:23:51 PM »
Effective May 7th, 2019

"We're changing how we treat refunds. If you refund (partially or fully) a transaction to a buyer or a donation to a donor, there are no fees to make the refund, but the fees you originally paid as the seller will not be returned to you."

In other words, the 2.9% fee from the original transaction will no longer be refunded (as well as the original 30¢, which they've always kept).

See full notification about this and other changes at:

From what I've seen, several eBay sellers are already talking about jumping ship because of this.

* Amazon Central / Amazon launches house brand of cosmetics
« on: March 25, 2019, 04:14:44 AM »
Amazon enters yet another retail segment by launching their own house brand of cosmetics, Belei.

Belei features a dozen items including a charcoal balancing mask ($18), a dark spot solution serum ($22) and a vitamin C moisturizer ($35).

Read more at:
Am Amazon Prime cargo plane just crashed while approaching its destination of Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, killing all 3 crew members aboard.

At the time of the crash, visibility was over 10 miles; high winds from the edge of a storm front are believed to have caused the crash.
This is a developing story. 
* General Discussions / Merry Christmas!
« on: December 26, 2018, 12:47:18 AM »
Merry Christmas!   Hope everyone is having a great (and prosperous) one!

* Amazon Central / Police Find Amazon Reviews Left by Serial Killer
« on: July 29, 2018, 10:40:16 PM »
Police in South Carolina have been investigating the life of Todd Kohlhepp -- and in the middle of that search, they found disturbing details about his life.

Kohlhepp is accused of kidnapping Kala Brown and killing her boyfriend, and he may be linked to the deaths of up to seven people.

While looking into his activity on the internet, officials found chilling reviews on what they believe to be Kohlhepp's Amazon account.

A four star review for a knife reads, "havne't [sic] stabbed anyone yet... yet... but I am keeping the dream alive and when I do, it will be with a quality tool like this..."
. . .
Full story at:

* Amazon Central / Amazon Raising Price of Prime
« on: April 26, 2018, 07:26:02 PM »
According to CNBC, Amazon is raising the price of their Prime memberships again.  Yearly rate will go up to $119, from the current price of $99  :(
* Amazon Central / Amazon Prime Wardrobe No Longer in Beta?
« on: April 13, 2018, 06:27:54 PM »
For those that missed it, Amazon quietly introduced a new Prime feature, called Prime Wardrobe, back in June of 2017.  It's similar to the various fashion delivery services, where you get shipped a box of clothing to choose from.  Unlike the various services, you get to pick what's shipped.  An article about the beta launch can be read at  It even includes the return label for easy return of the items you don't want to keep.

I noticed today that it's now showing up on the front page of (not sure how long it's been there, since I seldom go to the front page). 

Edit - Amazon page is at >>here<< and according to it, it's still via invitation only.  I never requested an invite, but am seeing a "You're Invited" banner   :?
* General Discussions / NECCO possibly going out of business :(
« on: April 12, 2018, 11:47:23 AM »
NECCO, America's oldest candy maker, has announced that if they can't find a buyer, they will be closing their doors.

Sales of their candy has skyrocketed, with prices reportedly surging online on sites such as eBay (note:I havent verified whether or not prices are actually going up and if there's an arbitrage opportunity there)

Candies they make:
Sweethearts - those chalky, heart shaped candies with words such as "Be Mine" printed on them

NECCO Wafers - wafer candies in orange, lemon, lime, clove, chocolate, cinnamon, licorice, and wintergreen flavors

Candy Buttons

Clark Bar

Haviland Thin Mints - filling flavors of original mint, orange, raspberry, or double chocolate

Mighty Malts - malted milk balls

Sky Bar - chocolate bar with peanut, vanilla, caramel, and fudge

Slap Stix -caramel pop swirled with banana nougat

Squirrel Nut Zippers - peanut and caramel chews

Mary Jane - peanut butter chews

Never had a Sky Bar, but they sound good.  Loved the Mighty Malts as a kid. Same with the Haviland Thin Mints.  Sadly, I seldom see any of these candies for sale any more, thanks to competitors buying up the shelf space :(
Did you think the reason Chinese vendors get to ship to U.S. so cheaply is because of subsidies from Chinese govt? Think again.

From the article: as a result of this shipping fee imbalance, it's estimated that 25% of the 3P marketplace on Amazon is made up of vendors from China.  :o
* Amazon Central / Amazon adding crypto currency to payment methods?
« on: December 01, 2017, 07:17:24 PM »
Amazon has added a few domain names to their portfolio, causing people to wonder if they're going to start accepting crypto currency, or possibly that they're going to create their own crypto currency.

Amazon now has,, and

While it's possible Amazon merely did this merely as a "just in case" move, in order to secure them while they're available, and it's possible they did it to prevent spoof sites from using them, it wouldn't be that big of a shock to see Amazon begin accepting them.  There are numerous online vendors that accept Bitcoin, including Dish Network, Overstock, NewEgg, Microsoft, Expedia, Steam,,, Bloomberg, Intuit, Shopify, Rakutan, and In 2014, eBay even announced that PayPal merchants could soon accept Bitcoin payments, though that ended up on the back burner when PayPal was spun off.
* General Discussions / Dropping in
« on: October 23, 2017, 07:21:36 AM »
Just saying Hi and updating on what's going on. Finished with shows for year. Now gotta report for jury duty today. Hope everyone's been doing well.
Amazon is wanting to grow their catalog in certain categories, so they're running a promo.

Amazon has announced that they are reimbursing sellers for FBA storage fees for new ASINs now through Sept 30, 2017.  FBA storage fees will be incurred after Sept. 30th. 

ASINs must be new to Amazon.
Only the storage fee will be reimbursed.  Other FBA fees will still apply.
New listings created by bundling or multi-packs of existing ASINs do NOT qualify
Only items in New condition will qualify
Fee reimbursement is capped at $50

Applicable categories:
Lawn & Garden
Cell Phones & Accessories
Computers (Personal Computers)
Furniture and Décor
Pet Supplies
Sporting Goods
Home & Garden
Office Products
Sports Collectibles
Crafts and Supplies
Major Appliances
Musical Instruments Equipment & Accessories
Industrial and Scientific
Camera and Photo
Entertainment Collectibles

See details at:

When you get to looking at it, it's not that great of a promo.  Only two months of storage fees are reimbursed and maximum reimbursement is $50.  Still, that'll pay for a nice dinner for two.

I predict we will see a huge amount of generic item listings being created as seller brand.  The exact, same made in China items will grow from having 5 or 6 identical listings to having 10-20 identical listings.
Just got an email from USPS about this and thought I'd share.   Who's buying, what, and why.

All of this is worth a read, for it does provide some valuable insight as to what consumers are wanting out of a website.  One of the biggies is people being worried about their financial data being secure. Which is something I've noticed with many sites - their failure to communicate what sort of steps they have taken (if any) to keep the customer's card info secure.  With many sites it's hard to tell at the time of submitting the info whether the card info is being emailed to the company for manual charging without even being encrypted, if it's being saved to the server, or if it's being securely passed through a gateway at the time of purchase and not being stored.  Some of it is also a bit of a chuckle (see China section for what I mean  ;))

According to a PayPal/Ipsos trends report:

67% of adult internet users bought something online. 45% of them shopped on international sites.
The top categories of items they bought from international sites were:
    Clothing, Footwear, and accessories
    Cosmetics/beauty products
    Consumer electronics
Reasons they bought from international sites they purchased from:
    Free shipping
    Safe way to pay
    Customer support in their language
Reasons they abandoned a purchase from an international site:
    Shipping charges too high
    Delivery time too long
    Concerns about web security

62% of adult internet users bought something online. 63% of them shopped on international sites.
The top categories of items they bought from international sites were:
    Clothing, Footwear, and accessories
    Entertainment/education (digital)
    Travel & transportation
Reasons they bought from international sites they purchased from:
    Free shipping
    Lower overall cost to buy items from another country
    Costs shown/payment possible in their local currency
Reasons they abandoned a purchase from an international site:
    Shipping charges too high
    Having to pay customs duty, fees, or taxes
    Currency conversion rate not favorable

84% of adult internet users bought something online. 26% of them shopped on international sites.
The top categories of items they bought from international sites were:
    Clothing, Footwear, and accessories
    Cosmetics/beauty products
    Grocery, food, drink, alcohol
Reasons they bought from international sites they purchased from:
    Secure way to pay
    Proof of product authenticity
    Costs shown/payment possible in their local currency
Reasons they abandoned a purchase from an international site:
    Delivery time too long
    Difficult process to return items
    Concerns about security of financial or personal details
    Delivery shipping costs

Other countries listed in the article are: France, Germany, Japan, Russia, UK
Full article at:
Yes, you read that correctly. Switch to Sprint and get unlimited calling, unlimited texting, and unlimited 4GLTE data for a year!  Even includes 10GB/month hotspot service.

The fine print - must sign up for auto-pay and you will have to pay the taxes, so that's going to be anywhere from $5-$17 a month.

The other fine print - only certain phones qualify for the promo.  Some have said they've been able to use other Sprint-compatible phones by calling in, but others have had their promo all messed up by the reps that work the phone bank. So. . .

Offer ends July 31st (originally ended June 30th but they extended it).  Depending on how you work this program, you may need them to ship you a SIM card, so don't wait until the last minute to sign up since it'll take a few days to get the SIM card and get things sorted out.

The webpage specifically mentions Verizon, but people have been able to switch from a variety of service providers.  For those that didn't have service that they wanted to switch, they bought prepaid sim cards from competitors, activated them, and then used that for switching.  Some have even said that they ported their Google Voice number over.

Official list of phones that qualify
Apple iPhone 5C (Verizon only)
Apple iPhone 5S (Verizon only)
Apple iPhone 6
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Apple iPhone 6S
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
Apple iPhone 7 (Verizon only)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus (Verizon only)
Apple iPhone SE
Google Nexus 5 (AT&T and Verizon only)
Google Nexus 5X
Google Nexus 6
Google Nexus 6P
Google Pixel
Google Pixel XL
Motorola E4
Motorola Z2 Play
Motorola G4
Motorola G4 Play
Motorola G4 Plus
Motorola G5 Plus
Motorola X Pure Edition
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge Special Edition
Samsung Galaxy S7 Special Edition
Samsung Galaxy S8 Special Edition
Samsung Galaxy S8+ Special Edition

Moving more than one phone line?  Sign up for their referral program and then move the rest of them. 

Once you're signed up, get 25,000 free miles for American Airlines frequent flyer program by keying in your AAdvantage # here:
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