Thursday, July 12, 2018

Shopping with Amazon Australia

In short: Depending on what product you're after, it's not all bad.

I've compared a couple of items (ok, just 6), and even within that tiny sample, the results range from "that's ok" to "are you fucking kidding me":

Description Amazon USA Amazon Australia Harvey
Seagate Backup Plus 4TB
Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0
USD 100 AUD 136 AUD 150 AUD 149 - AUD 1 - 0.67 % % AUD 219
AmazonBasics External Hard Disk case USD 7 AUD 9 AUD 10 AUD 12 + AUD 2 + 20.00 % % AUD 14 1
Sanddisk UltraFit USB drive 16 GB USD 8 AUD 11 AUD 13 AUD 9 - AUD 4 - 30.77 % AUD 12 1
Mpow Car phone mount USD 16 AUD 22 AUD 25 AUD 57 + AUD 32 + 128.00 % AUD 24 1
Filter B&W Neutral density
3.0 MRC 110M 77mm
USD 100 AUD 136 AUD 150 AUD 323 + AUD 173 + 115.33 %
Buyee media player USD 35 AUD 46 AUD 53 AUD 43 - AUD 10 - 18.87 %

1 Comparable product

Note 1: For convenience, all prices have been rounded: Amazon US up to the next full dollar, Amazon AUS down to the full dollar.

Note 2: I've ignored shipping; for low-price items that are only slightly cheaper in the US, this might reverse the result.

Also, Amazon Australia still only features approx 60 million products, compared to 570 million items on Amazon US; so it's still a matter of luck to even find what you're after on the local site.

So there you have it. It's not as bad as I expected, but there are still a few instances of blatant rip-offs for Australian buyers; especially now that Amazon US is no longer available to us.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Grey Headed Flying Fox

The internet tells me the Grey Headed Flying Fox is one of the largest bats in Australia (Wikipeida, that old beacon of accuracy, even claims it's the biggest).

And as it turns out, there's a rather large colony at Parramatta Park. So, here are a couple of pictures:





Friday, March 9, 2018

Return And Earn

I've finally had the chance to try the NSW Government's "Return And Earn" scheme that imposes a $ 0.10 deposit on some drink containers that can then be reclaimed by returning said containers to a "Collection Point". Specifically, I wanted to try the "Reverse Vending machines.

Now that I've done that, I have several questions:

- Why are there so few "Reverse Vending Machines"?

- Why are "Reverse Vending Machines" not located in high traffic areas, in locations that would be convenient for large numbers of potential users? As an example; there's not a single machine to be found in the entire city of Parramatta, a major hub in the Sydney metro area and home to some 25,000 people, featuring a large Westfield shopping centre that would make just one of many excellent choices for those machines

- Why are there no machines along major roads, where commuters could conveniently return their empties on their way to / from work?

- Why have the machines only one slot for non-glass containers, causing long lines (in my test 22 minutes) even in off-peak hours?

- When will the scanners be upgraded so that the machines no longer reject containers with microscopic dents or invisible scratches in the bar code?

- Whose brilliant idea was it to make actually receiving the refund for successfully returned containers as difficult as possible? Does the Government honestly think that either
-- Installing a buggy app that has received overwhelmingly scathing reviews (Android, Apple), setting up a profile, and then sharing ones PayPal details with the Government
-- Take the printed receipt / voucher to the one designated store listed on the voucher and stand in line again to finally receive the cash refund
are acceptable or even convenient?

- Related to previous item: When will the machine be upgraded to directly dispense cash refunds?

- Is the person in charge of implementing the Return And Earn scheme still working in his role? If so, how do I apply for a job in that department; I quite like the idea of a pressure-free work environment where competence is irrelevant and even complete and utter failure results in no consequences whatsoever.