Thursday, December 14, 2006


I practically have my paychecks directly deposited to If I got rid of all the books I've bought from there, my house would rise 6 or 8 inches from the ground. And almost all of these purchases have been very satisfactory experiences.

However, I just purchased a book from the Amazon marketplace, and the condition was definitely not "very good." Pages were loose, there were highlighter marks on some pages, and the cover was bent. The seller offered me a partial refund, but it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

On another occasion, I bought an audio book on cassette, only to find out that it was abridged. On Amazon, there was a list of "abridged" copies, and another list of copies with no indication of abridgment. So I assumed those were not abridged, since they were not listed in the "abridged" category. Wrong.

The upshot is there there are some instances when buying in person, and having the opportunity to look at the merchandise, is important. In a larger sense, this is indicative of how far we have to go in creating "virtual" presence. If I post something for sale, I'll list all that I consider to be the salient features of the item, but that may not match what you want to know. We could then begin a length e-mail exchange.

But first, we'd have to recognize that information is missing. I've seen a lot of e-mail exchanges that go on for 20 or 30 messages just to cover a seemingly simple piece of information being conveyed. Each bit of information raises new questions, which then have to be answered, triggering yet more questions, etc.

As dependent as we are on text-based communication, like e-mail and text messaging, etc., it's a very narrow communication channel indeed.

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