At Home with Tech

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Is a Fair Way to Shop?

This shard of glass is all that remains from the top of our nifty living room lamp. Where are you supposed to go to replace a piece that you’ve owned for twenty years? It can be a lighting jungle out there…

This shard of glass is all that remains from the top of our nifty living room lamp. Where are you supposed to go to replace a piece that you’ve owned for twenty years? It can be a lighting jungle out there…

In our living room, there once stood an old-time floor lamp. It wobbled just a bit and supported a nifty white glass bell shade on the very top, harkening back to another, less tech-filled era. And for the past few years, our almost six-year-old son has been zipping by it. The lamp stood there, seemingly impervious to his growing energies.

Alas, the lamp’s time finally ran out, and a couple weeks back…. Crash…
The glass shade shattered into a thousand pieces.
(Everyone was okay… by the way.)

So now what?

Well, it was time to replace the glass shade. I figured I should be able to easily do that online…
(Who wants to schlep around to various stores to check limited stock for something as unique as this?)

Amazon… My Old Friend
I started with my old standby… Amazon. But I’ve got to admit, it was a little frustrating navigating to find exactly what I was looking for. Most of the choices weren’t Amazon Prime eligible, and many of the descriptions from various sellers weren’t as clear as I needed them to be.
(I was looking for a 2.25” base to pop back on the lamp’s mount.)

And the idea of paying $10-$12 for shipping really was a non-starter.

So I ventured into the wild, and began Googling about. I found several companies that specialized in lighting… but I honestly wasn’t really interested in starting a new relationship with a strange online vendor.

Hello, Wayfair
That said, I did run several times into something called
And on a lark, I decided to Google it.
wayfair According to Wikipedia, It’s the largest online-only furniture retailer in the United States. And it’s headquartered out of Boston.
(My old stomping grounds)


So I decided to check Wayfair out…

Zeroing In
And I’ve got to say, the website looked and felt really solid. Its interface was easy to use, and it had the look of a serious player. Plus I could easily save my choices to a ‘board’ for final evaluation later.
(Very useful!)

I was quickly able to find what I was looking for…
Alabaster Glass Shade
An Alabaster Glass Bell Pendant Shade by Volume Lighting

Wayfair offers free shipping over $49.00… so I figured I’d pick up something else to cross over the finish line.

Not quite….

You know me… I like to do price comparisons….

Lighting Jungle and Amazon Team Up
So I went to to see what was going on there.
But the inventory was limited, and I couldn’t find that particular glass shade or anything close to what I really needed.
(Bummer…. Jet has really been disappointing me lately.)

Then, I went back to Amazon to look for that specific glass shade from Volume Lighting. And in fact I found it. I had originally passed by the choice, because it was a non-Prime offering by a company called Lighting Jungle, and the description didn’t contain enough detail, including the critical fitter size at the base.

But it did contain the model number, which didn’t mean anything to me the first time around. Now I was able to do the match.

And match… they did.

The price on Amazon…?


Okay, plus the dreaded $12.99 shipping cost.

But that’s still a grand total of only $32.43.
That’s a huge difference compared to Wayfair’s $47.99.


Well, that’s disappointing. What’s up, Wayfair?

Inconclusive Data
So I decided to do a quick tour around Wayfair’s site to get a better sense of the overall pricing…

I happened to need another LED bulb for the upstairs bathroom to replace a decorative incandescent bulb that had just burned out.
(You know me in my ongoing LED bulb replacement crusade.)

I came upon this cute 4-Watt LED replacement for $19.43.

Then, I crossed check it with both Amazon and
Wayfair had them both beat by about a buck.


Okay. So I wasn’t going to easily get a clear verdict on whether Wayfair was unnecessarily marking up the inventory or not.

There’s Never One Retailer that’s Always Best
But really… is there ever a one-stop online shopping solution for everything you’ll ever need?

Amazon is great… but you’ve also got to watch the pricing. It’s often, but not always the best deal around.

You’ll recall, I had high hopes for But the selection there is still more limited than Amazon’s. And Jet’s lower pricing promise hasn’t panned out for me.

Is Wayfair Way Fair?
So now I’ve found Wayfair.
And even though it was wicked expensive on my first try, I think I’m still going to add Wayfair to my short list.


Well, I’ve just got a good vibe about this place.
(Any of you out there have other experiences with Wayfair?)

Check out this appealing Wayfair YouTube video-

Sure, my warm response to this video only speaks to Wayfair’s successful marketing strategy.

Whether I’ll end up regularly shopping there is another story entirely…

Yes, regarding my new glass shade… Amazon won the day.
But I think it’s fair to say I’m rooting for Wayfair to do more for me in the future.

Because remember, there’s no one place in the world you should always shop.

That’s way fair.

Living in the Amazon and Loving It

Another Amazon Prime box has arrived. It’s become a regular care package to keep the gears at home moving. Joy.

Have I mentioned how sweet I am with, and how I gladly pay them an extra $79/year to get free two-day shipping with their Amazon Prime Service?

Do you consider me impatient and extravagant?
Am I just lazy, when for thousands of years, men have hunted
(and gathered) in the wilderness, or what we now call the shopping mall?

Do you feel you can’t trust a distant and faceless company with the very personal act of delivering to you what you used to get for yourself?

I used to feel that way.
Then something happened.
I became a dad, and I lost all of my free time.

I am a very proud 21st century father of a little boy who just turned two.
(In fact, my son had his big party last Saturday.)

But I’ve got to admit that life has gotten a bit disorganized lately. I need a little help. So I like to use available hi tech tools.

Who’s Got Time for the Brick and Mortar Store?
I don’t know how parents multitasked before Y2K, but I regularly tap the power of online shopping.

In fact, I find buying our basic supplies online not a convenience but a necessity. Getting in the car to get to a store can take an hour or more.
A few clicks on Amazon, and I’m done in three minutes.

Yes, buying online took some getting used to.
It felt like I was cheating.
Not doing it the right way.
Worried it wouldn’t work.
But once I got started, I never looked back.

Life is Messy
Let’s take a look at a slice of my daily life in the jungle…
(and then we’ll discuss Amazon some more)

I used the last of the kitty litter. Looked at my watch. All the stores were already closed.

My wife reminded me we needed Bacitracin ointment for my son’s boo-boo under his chin. What I’m calling a boo-boo are actually three stitches he received at his first trip to the emergency room.
He tripped and fell at home last week, while I was standing guard.

Even though the doctor said there wouldn’t be a scar, I’m still feeling super guilty, as I was only a few feet away from the ‘incident.’
A couple days later, a colleague, who is a father with daughters tried to be helpful after hearing my story, and he suggested that scars give boys character.
(Anybody out there know the name of a good plastic surgeon?)

All this happened while my wife and I were in the middle of final preparations for our son’s birthday party.
(Yes, that shiner on his chin looked really great on his big day. The good news is all of the other toddlers at the party were jealous and commented that his stitches really gave him character.)

And had I put off getting his birthday present to the last minute? Of course.

Amazon to the Rescue
It’s now 10:30pm – I need help.
Time to sit down and boot up. Hello Amazon Prime!

First step- Cat litter.
Amazon had about twenty options, though not all were offered on the Prime plan.
(You need to pay attention to this detail as not all products fall under the Prime plan.)
I chose Arm and Hammer and clicked through.

Next was boo-boo maintenance.
Typed in ‘eye patch’ for my kid. (just kidding)
Almost immediately, the Bacitracin ointment was on its way!

Finally, the birthday present.
It was a Kettler tricycle that my wife was talking about. Here it was on Amazon. Sweet.
(Amazon often has more competitive pricing, though not always.)

11:00pm – I’ve hunted. I’ve gathered. Mission accomplished.
Order has been restored.

King of the Forest…for Another Day
This particular shopping expedition was an expensive one, because of the Kettler bike. But often, I’m just picking up little things here and there.
The beauty of Amazon Prime is you don’t have to worry about meeting minimum order amounts to get the free shipping. And it’s wicked easy to return the occasional item.

So you can buy with as much haphazard organization as life requires.
You can see how the $79 Prime fee pays for itself really quickly.
And it even has its own fledgling video streaming service that competes with Netflix. That’s a nice bonus, but it’s not really why I’m so excited about Prime.

For the past two years, I’ve had a little bet going with myself that I’ll never have to run out of the house at the last minute to buy diapers.
For me, that mini emergency represents the ultimate level of disorganization I hope to never sink beneath. (Even I have some minimum standards to meet if I am to remain king of my little forest.)
With the help of Amazon, and other online shopping sites like, I’ve been holding that line. So far…

Amazon Prime doesn’t work for everything.
(Sometimes you’ve got to get out there and squeeze the melons.)
But it comes pretty close.

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