walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Retail and Recall

Recalls produce an interesting tradeoff: it'd be nice for someone to say, oh, by the way, that thing that you bought, bring it back, throw it away or repair it with this kit. On the other hand, registering every product you buy is a grindingly boring exercise and may put you on a bunch of marketing lists. Online retail has the opportunity to get this right, and I've gotten a number of recall notices from Amazon over the years.

The current crop involves peanut butter I buy from them (you try to find no-salt-added peanut butter at your local grocery store. Please! If everyone asks, maybe they'll start stocking it everywhere), which apparently had a salmonella contamination issue under their Trader Joe's brand, which then spread to all their other labels, including the Sunland no salt added Valencia creamy. I got several emails about this, which drew to my attention just how fast we go through the stuff (a pack of six every two months? Really? That feels ... wrong, somehow. I'll blame the children, knowing that I'm eating most of it). I got it as I was on the last jar. I shrugged, and we finished the jar; it didn't seem likely we were going to have a problem with it now, right?

I had started out looking up each order by order-id, then realized I could search historic orders by keyword. At some point in the distant past (maybe three or four years ago?), I was trying to go back through old orders for some project I've now forgotten (probably involving how-much-do-I-buy-from-the-Big-6-publishers), and it took forever and there wasn't a mechanism for searching. Now, it's zippy and searchable. Keen!

So I went to look up my Very First Order from Amazon, which I remember well. It was in-print at the time, but the various chain and independent bookstores who tried to order it for me failed. I wanted to buy it as a Xmas present for my then boyfriend.


The publisher on that detail page is Oldcastle Books; I don't know if that's what it really was or not.

Amazon got that book for me. I placed the order, according to their records (mine aren't good enough to know at this point) 22 December 1995. (<-- Not a typo.) They delivered it in January. I went to work for them a couple months later, and part of the draw was that they had delivered a copy of a book that I knew was in print, and which no one else had managed to get to me.

The book is still available at Amazon, but things have changed. You can get a kindle edition for $9.99 with the publisher listed as Simon & Schuster with a publication date in 2009 and the usual range of used copies but not physically in print if I read the page correctly.


I feel like there's an important lesson here, and one which directly relates to my current struggle to predict what's going to happen to the USPS. But damned if I can figure out what it might be.

Kinda cool, tho.

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