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'[PIC] Attn: Glitchbuster'
2007\01\04@084957 by Howard Winter

face
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picon face
Randy,

Sorry to use the list for this, but I have been trying to email Glitchbuster "at" worldnet.att.net for the past couple of days, from two different
addresses, and keep getting bounced "550 Blocked for abuse".   I even tried glitchbuster "at" charter.net and that timed out.  Any ideas?

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


2007\01\04@110416 by Charles Rogers

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Howard:
According to his web-site Randy is going out of business.
Try http://www.glitchbuster.com to verify.

CR







Subject: [PIC] Attn: Glitchbuster


{Quote hidden}

2007\01\04@154055 by Jeff Findley

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face

"Charles Rogers" <spam_OUTcrogersTakeThisOuTspamtotelcsi.com> wrote in message
news:000401c73019$f89d1bf0$0301a8c0@charles...
> Howard:
> According to his web-site Randy is going out of business.
> Try http://www.glitchbuster.com to verify.

That stinks.  Does anyone know of other places you can order a handful of
components (i.e. no minimum order) and not pay a hefty shipping and handling
fee?

Thanks,
Jeff
--
   "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a
    little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor
    safety"
- B. Franklin, Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (1919)



2007\01\04@161020 by Carl Denk

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face
Mouser and Jameco have no minimums, or handling. Just pay the usual UPS,
FEDEX or US Postal rates. Depends on where you are located, there might
be someone closer, which I'd call quicker delivery. Digikey has a $25
minimum, but usually I find something to go along for the ride, even
it's a half dozen resistor packs of 10. All of them handle a small order
promptly. Ordered from Digikey Friday noon US Postal Priority mail (a
10" cube box), with the holiday and everything, it arrived yesterday for
$9.00 (It was a little heavier than minimum).

Jeff Findley wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2007\01\04@174450 by Mike snyder

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>
>
> That stinks.  Does anyone know of other places you can order a handful of
> components (i.e. no minimum order) and not pay a hefty shipping and
> handling
> fee?
>
> Thanks,
> Jeff
> --
>    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a
>     little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor
>     safety"
> - B. Franklin, Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (1919)


http://www.mouser.com has pretty reasonable shipping & no minimum order quantity.

2007\01\05@101753 by alan smith

picon face
mouser, and ship USPS

Jeff Findley <jeff.findleyspamKILLspamugs.com> wrote:  
That stinks. Does anyone know of other places you can order a handful of
components (i.e. no minimum order) and not pay a hefty shipping and handling
fee?

Thanks,
Jeff
--
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a
little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor
safety"
- B. Franklin, Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (1919)



2007\01\05@175203 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face

On Jan 5, 2007, at 7:17 AM, alan smith wrote:

>> Does anyone know of other places you can order a handful of
>> components (i.e. no minimum order) and not pay a hefty shipping

> mouser, and ship USPS
>

Glitchbuster charged "$1.95 shipping on most orders."  While there
are a bunch of vendors who charge 'reasonable' shipping, I don't
think there are many that calculate "first class" postage when that
will come out less than the small "priority mail" fee (about $4)

BillW

2007\01\05@184340 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> >> Does anyone know of other places you can order a handful of
> >> components (i.e. no minimum order) and not pay a hefty shipping
>
> Glitchbuster charged "$1.95 shipping on most orders."

Can I comment from my experience as a small online shop?

If you run an online shop for a living you must get your profit, one way
or the other. Otherwise you can't pay the mortage, and/or your wife will
tell you to get a job, so either way you must close down the shop. You
can get your profit from margin on the products or from an order fee.
The choice is arbitray, but simple fact is that there is a cost
(timewise, administration, packaging, postage) associated with an order,
however small. So a small or zero order fee makes the big orders pay for
the small ones. So (all other things equal) an online shop with a small
or zero order fee will be more expensive for large orders than one with
a larger order fee (or a minumum order amount, that has the same
effect).

My choice is to charge a fixed per-order fee to cover postage,
administration, packaging, handling time, etc. (but this fee does depend
on the destination: NL, Europe, World) Like all simple schems this
favours some at the expense of others, but a more fine-grained scheme
would cost me more to set up and maintain, and that time must be payed
for too...

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


2007\01\05@205339 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face

On Jan 5, 2007, at 3:43 PM, Wouter van Ooijen wrote:

>> Glitchbuster charged "$1.95 shipping on most orders."
>
> Can I comment from my experience as a small online shop?
>
> If you run an online shop for a living you must get your profit,
> one way or the other. Otherwise you can't pay the mortage, and/or
> your wife will tell you to get a job, so either way you must close
> down the shop.

Well, and thus glitchbuster is out of business :-(  My impression
was that he wasn't running the shop "for a living" so much as for
"chip money" and perhaps to bump himself up to the next tier of
pricing from his suppliers.

It was nice to have a site where you could get a couple PICs
delivered, with appropriate glue bits for less than $10, but as
you say, I doubt it was a viable business...

I wonder if it would be practical/profitable for one of the bigger
"for-profit" vendors to offer a limited "starter kit" that would sell
for less than $10 and include the most commmon parts.  The idea would
be to limit some of the overhead of ... overhead by only offering a
single such kit, which could be pre-packaged and just dropped in the
mail as it was ordered...

BillW

2007\01\06@004624 by Brian B. Riley

picon face

  The problem is that a certain portion of the population is cheap,  
arrogant and annoying. They look at prices and think that the stuff  
is gonna magically appear on their doorstep.

They are clueless and proud to remain so about the fact that If you  
use PayPal and simple First Class US Postage it costs $1.23  ($0.21  
for #0 padded mailer, $0.52 minimum postage, $0.50 minimum PayPal  
fee) to get a resistor costing 6/10's of a cent onto their porch!

I offer a number of 'starter kits' for various things and every time  
I turn around there is an email or three from different people each  
with a radically different idea of what should be in it. I listen  
each time, thank them for writing and have even implemented some  
suggestions, but it IS daunting.

Now don't get me wrong, since I started my little business, I have  
met and done business with some of the nicest neatest people, from  
all over the globe. I have no regrets ... but there are some days  
that ... kinda set my teeth on edge ... my dear wife (a.k.a. "She Who  
Must be Obeyed") has learned to interpret that look I get and  
comments "One of THOSE customers again? Count to ten, dear!"

I am not running my shop for a living ... the home's all paid for, my  
retirement check from the Marine Corps covers all my necessities and  
then some the last kid is out of college (this January represents the  
first January in nine years I didn't have a tuition payment to  
make!). This stuff just buys my playtoys.

By the way I put an order into Randy @ Glitchbuster  for some of his  
stock to the tune of $80+, I probably saved $50 bucks, easy ... and  
its already on the way ... I am gonna miss him!



---
cheers ... 73 de brian  riley,  n1bq , underhill center, vermont
  <http://web.mac.com/brianbr/>  Tech Blog
  <http://www.wulfden.org/DiskShop.shtml>
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On Jan 5, 2007, at 8:53 PM, William Chops Westfield wrote:

{Quote hidden}

> --

2007\01\06@043955 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> I wonder if it would be practical/profitable for one of the bigger
> "for-profit" vendors to offer a limited "starter kit" that would sell
> for less than $10 and include the most commmon parts.  

Would be a good idea, if only the world could a gree on what should be
in such a pack. No two starters start at the same point.

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


2007\01\06@095417 by olin piclist

face picon face
William Chops Westfield wrote:
> I wonder if it would be practical/profitable for one of the bigger
> "for-profit" vendors to offer a limited "starter kit" that would sell
> for less than $10 and include the most commmon parts.

No.  Think about it.  The kind of people that would buy such a kit are
exactly the ones that would complain "I could have bought these parts for
$5.03 myself, your $10 price is a ripoff".

Then there's never a good answer what to include.  Remember the PIClist PBK
discussion of a few years ago?  It started out as a simple and cheap
programmer, but then all those people who wouldn't even buy one kept adding
more bells and whistles, then it became too expensive.  No matter what you
include, there will be far more people complaining that you didn't include a
LCD or a ZIF socket or a opamp or a few more LEDs or the power supply is too
inflexible or if it were only this other PIC, than people willing to buy it
as is.  And if you do add some of these bells and whistles, it will be too
expensive and many more will complain that they don't want to pay for a ZIF
socket, a LCD, opamp, a few more LEDs, a better power supply, or the bigger
PIC.  In other words, you're always selling into a niche.

Then there is the financial aspect.  The kit would have to cost less than
the total of the same parts bought at the same place.  Let's say the profit
margin on small $1 items is 50%, so you might make 40% on the kit max.
That's $4 profit on the kit price minus your cost of goods.  Even if you get
these kits pre-packaged in final shipping container in volume, the packaging
and labor to box it up and the eventual labor to take the order, address the
box, and get it shipped is going to be at least $1.  We'll assume the
customer is charged the true shipping costs, so I won't include that.  So
you're down to $3 you make every one you ship, and I'm being quite generous.

Now you have to include the cost to develop the product, get the first lot
produced, add the information to a catalog or web site, etc.  Selecting the
right parts, creating the bill of materials, and writing up the technical
documentation requires a engineer.  This engineer also has to interface with
production later and deal with the inevitable screwups in the production
process.  Then there is a bunch of project management and logistics issues
like getting the parts in, dealing with the lead times, new part numbers due
to RoHS conversions, vendor ships wrong parts, production says they're
already overbooked, etc, etc, etc.  I think I'm being very generous saying
that all the design, hassle, documentation, fire fighting, and everything
will only take 1 week labor.  At a bigger organization, as was your premise,
you can split this between skilled engineers and lower paid logistics people
as reasonable.  Let's say the average pay for that week is $40/hour
salaried.  The company gives 2 weeks/year holiday and the employees get
another 2 weeks/year vacation, for a total of 48 work weeks/year.  The
$40/hour the employee "makes" from his point of view really costs you $43.33
right there or $83.2K/year just in direct salary.  Now add $1000/year for
medical benefits, 20% managment and facilities overhead (I'm being very
generous), 15% in increase in your corporate insurance, your part of the
FICA, state unemployment insurance tax, federal unemployment insurance tax,
etc, and the real cost for that employee is $112.32K/year, divided by 48
working weeks comes out to $2340 to design this product and manage it thru
to introduction.  In reality most companies would never see a cost that low,
but let's go with that anyway.  At $3 profit per unit, that means you have
to sell 780 units just to break even.

Now we add the cost of the first production run.  You probably need to
produce in lots of 1000 to get the costs we discussed earlier, but let's say
you produce just the 780 units on the first run you need to break even.
That's another $5460 up front cost for a total of $7800.  I'll even ignore
the warehouse cost for now since that's hard to quantify (but that doesn't
make it any less real).

So for $7800 up front you break even after selling 780 of these kits.  I
don't see even a established big place, like Jameco for example, being able
to move 780 of these things before they go obsolete.  And there's no point
in launching a project just to break even.  For $9340 you get 1000 kits
which you eventually make $660 on.  Even if your wildest dreams came true
and you sold all $1000 in two years, that's $660 return for a $9340
investment after two years.  So after all that you get to make 3.5%
effective annual yield on your money.  The bank down the street gives higher
yield with much less risk.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2007\01\06@105512 by Herbert Graf

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face
On Sat, 2007-01-06 at 00:46 -0500, Brian B. Riley wrote:
>    The problem is that a certain portion of the population is cheap,  
> arrogant and annoying. They look at prices and think that the stuff  
> is gonna magically appear on their doorstep.

Let me play devil's advocate here and say: Why is that belief wrong?

When I want to buy something from a bricks and mortar store down the
road I look up the price on the Internet, go to the store, and buy it.
Imagine my surprise if at the checkout they proclaimed I ALSO had to pay
shipping and handling from the factory the item was produced in China to
the store I'm standing in? At a bricks and mortar store the price for
shipping, handling, packaging, store clerks, store leasing, etc. is all
built in.

Why are online retailers CHARGING shipping and handling separately? Why
do MANY of them royally rip people off? I've been charged $30+ shipping
and handling for items barely worth $30 that arrive through regular post
with a post mark of $5. Yes, the box costs something, and the "bring it
to the post office" costs something, but $25 PER ITEM? Ouch...

I personally stay away from ANY online retailer that either a) hides
their shipping prices until I've given them my credit card (ALOT of
companies do that) or b) have unreasonable rates for shipping and
handling.

I search out the online retailers that INCLUDE shipping in the price.
It's not hard to do, some retailers do it, I find those are the
retailers I always go to first.

Online retailers are competing with brick and mortar stores at a
disadvantage: their customers have to WAIT for their items to arrive
(and hope they do arrive). Why are online retailers adding to their
disadvantage by either clouding shipping charges or overcharging for
them?

Every time I've sold something online I've included the shipping price
in the price. Yes, on some destinations I've lost a little, but I set my
margins to deal with that. On some items I've made money on the shipping
portion. On average, the shipping portion comes out to close to zero.

Online retailers: please smarten up. TTYL

2007\01\06@105531 by Jan-Erik Söderholm

face picon face
Olin Lathrop wrote :

A well written writeup why one can't compile "starter-kits".
As I said, very well written, just a comment...


> No matter what you
> include, there will be far more people complaining that you didn't include a
> LCD or a ZIF socket or a opamp or a few more LEDs or the power supply is too
> inflexible or if it were only this other PIC, than people willing to buy it
> as is.  And if you do add some of these bells and whistles, it will be too
> expensive and many more will complain that they don't want to pay for a ZIF
> socket, a LCD, opamp, a few more LEDs, a better power supply, or the bigger
> PIC.  In other words, you're always selling into a niche.

Hm, for a second I thought you were talking about the QuickProto-01... :-) :-)

Best Regards,
Jan-Erik.

2007\01\06@113514 by olin piclist

face picon face
Herbert Graf wrote:
> Imagine my surprise if at the checkout they proclaimed I ALSO had to
> pay shipping and handling from the factory the item was produced in
> China to the store I'm standing in?

That would be silly of course, but the comparison is likewise silly.  Online
sellers aren't charging you extra for the various parts of producing the
product either.  The part you are complaining about is the extra cost to
deliver it to you.  When you go to your local bricks and mortar store you
pay this cost directly since you're the delivery boy.  You don't pay more
because the next customer drove 30 miles in a hummer to get there when you
walked accross the street.

> At a bricks and mortar store the
> price for shipping, handling, packaging, store clerks, store leasing,
> etc. is all built in.

But that part of the cost is built into online prices too, since you're not
talking about the handling, packaging and shipping to get it to you.

> Why are online retailers CHARGING shipping and handling separately?

Probably because the shipping and handling charges vary by destination, and
many online merchants let the customer chose the shipping method.

> Why do MANY of them royally rip people off?

They set a price for their product and a price to get it to you.  You should
look at the total and decide if it's worth it.  Whether the total is a
ripoff is a judgement call.  So a $50 item with $20 shipping is a ripoff,
but $70 with free shipping would not be a ripoff?

> I search out the online retailers that INCLUDE shipping in the price.
> It's not hard to do, some retailers do it, I find those are the
> retailers I always go to first.

You're choice.  That may be a good deal if you live where shipping would be
expensive.  If you're near by you may feel they are charging too much for
the item.  They are just moving costs from distant customers onto near
customers, but there is no such thing as "free" shipping.  One way or
another you're paying for it.  In that sense "free" shipping is somewhat
dishonest.

> Online retailers are competing with brick and mortar stores at a
> disadvantage: their customers have to WAIT for their items to arrive
> (and hope they do arrive).

Actually I think online retailers have the advantage in many cases.  I
personally hate physically going to a store and dealing with the associated
hassles and time spent.  Most of the time shipping looks real cheap compared
to ordering from the comfort of my computer and having the product come to
me.  Add up the all the true costs of going to a store and whatever hassle
cost your time is worth, and you probably "pay" more than reasonable
shipping for most items.  About the only stores I physically go to anymore
are food stores.

> Every time I've sold something online I've included the shipping price
> in the price.  Yes, on some destinations I've lost a little, but I set
> my margins to deal with that. On some items I've made money on the
> shipping portion. On average, the shipping portion comes out to close
> to zero.

So using your terms, you've decided to rip off customers near you.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2007\01\06@113951 by Bob Axtell

face picon face
Olin Lathrop wrote:
{Quote hidden}

And in fact, just the actual parts cost won't do it. You need about 10%
overage to cover losses in assembly
errors or simple failures. The cost of shipping adds another 10%.
{Quote hidden}

My casino in Laughlin, NV offers better than that, and throws in a free
room as well.

--Bob
>
> ********************************************************************
> Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
> (978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.
>  

2007\01\06@115625 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> Then there is the financial aspect.  The kit would have to
> cost less than
> the total of the same parts bought at the same place.

That argument fails for sets that contain a lot of very low-cost items,
like resistors, that can not be reasonably sold in 1's and 2's. But the
other arguments against selling sets (most notably the 'what to include'
problem) are still very valid.

I sell one beginners set ( http://www.voti.nl/shop/p/DUMMIES-SET-1.html
), and it sells reasonably well. The 'what to include' problem is a bit
less severe here, because the book dictates what to include (but I left
out the unreasonably expensive and/or too heavy items). And the book
author has already defined and debugged the projects, so no need to
include that in the price.

In a few months I expect to start selling another set for a Dutch
PIC/Jal book ( http://members.home.nl/b.vandam/boek/micro/micro.html ,
page is Dutch only). I must add that I sell such sets not only for the
profit on the set itself, but also because I hope to attract new
customers.

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


2007\01\06@120601 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> Every time I've sold something online I've included the shipping price
> in the price. Yes, on some destinations I've lost a little,
> but I set my margins to deal with that. On some items I've made money
on
> the shipping portion.

That system is OK if you nearly always sell one product per shipment
and/or if shipping cost is linear. In my case neither is true: most
orders are for 5..50 items, shipping is highly non-linear, and (as I
stated before) handling a order has a basic cost, even for 0 items. So
in my case including the shipping in the item cost in a way that is
reasonably for small orders would be 'stealing' from my big-order
customers. IMO a small per-order fee is a simple and fair solution.

I agree of course that a vendor must be honest about any additional
costs.

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


2007\01\06@141125 by Vitaliy

picon face
Herbert Graf wrote:
[snip]
> Why are online retailers CHARGING shipping and handling separately?

Because, as Wouter has pointed out, unless you are selling the same thing
(price and quantity-wise) to the same destination, you would either be
overcharging or undercharging your customers.

Most of our company's business comes from the Internet, and we get customers
from all over the world. We simply provide shipping quotes directly from the
major carriers (based on the actual weight), and let the customer pick the
one that works for them, depending on how urgently they need the item, and
how much they're willing to pay for it.

> Why
> do MANY of them royally rip people off? I've been charged $30+ shipping
> and handling for items barely worth $30 that arrive through regular post
> with a post mark of $5. Yes, the box costs something, and the "bring it
> to the post office" costs something, but $25 PER ITEM? Ouch...

I hate those kinds of retailers myself, and do my best to avoid them.

[snip]
> I search out the online retailers that INCLUDE shipping in the price.
> It's not hard to do, some retailers do it, I find those are the
> retailers I always go to first.

This may be saving you the trouble of calculating the final cost, but you
are probably not getting the best overall price. Why subsidize someone
else's shipping?

> Online retailers are competing with brick and mortar stores at a
> disadvantage: their customers have to WAIT for their items to arrive
> (and hope they do arrive). [snip]

When I buy online, I usually buy there because:

   1) The item is only available online, or
   2) the item is price sensitive, and is cheaper on-line, and/or
   3) it's more convenient to have the item delivered to my doorstep, than
drive to the store, and
   4) I don't mind waiting a week for the item to arrive.

If none of the above is true, I go to a brick and mortar store. When
calculating the final price of a product, I try to remember that my time and
the gas aren't free.

> Every time I've sold something online I've included the shipping price
> in the price. Yes, on some destinations I've lost a little, but I set my
> margins to deal with that. On some items I've made money on the shipping
> portion. On average, the shipping portion comes out to close to zero.

I don't think it's fair to the customers who overpay.

> Online retailers: please smarten up. TTYL.

It's the customers who need to smarten up, and start voting with their
dollars. As long as there are people willing to overpay for s&h, there will
be businesses willing to rip them off.

Vitaliy

2007\01\06@141431 by D. Jay Newman

flavicon
face
> Herber Graf wrote:

> When I want to buy something from a bricks and mortar store down the
> road I look up the price on the Internet, go to the store, and buy it.
> Imagine my surprise if at the checkout they proclaimed I ALSO had to pay
> shipping and handling from the factory the item was produced in China to
> the store I'm standing in? At a bricks and mortar store the price for
> shipping, handling, packaging, store clerks, store leasing, etc. is all
> built in.

This is a strawman argument. It has nothing to do with your main
point.

The cost of shipping *to* the store (including an internet store) is
mostly a fixed cost. Therefore the seller can include this in the base
price.

> Why are online retailers CHARGING shipping and handling separately? Why
> do MANY of them royally rip people off? I've been charged $30+ shipping
> and handling for items barely worth $30 that arrive through regular post
> with a post mark of $5. Yes, the box costs something, and the "bring it
> to the post office" costs something, but $25 PER ITEM? Ouch...

For several reasons:

1. The costs to ship an item can differ according to destination.
2. Packing (handling) can vary according the item.
3. Sometimes handling does cost that much. I used to live far from a
       real post office. Driving in was a fairly major pain and expense.

> I personally stay away from ANY online retailer that either a) hides
> their shipping prices until I've given them my credit card (ALOT of
> companies do that) or b) have unreasonable rates for shipping and
> handling.

I will admit that with the new UPS calculators there is no excuse for
hiding this information once the order is complete.

I try to stay away from unreasonable rates for S and H, but I also try
to stay away from unreasonably expensive stores of all kind.
--
D. Jay Newman           ! Author of: _Linux Robotics: Building Smarter Robots_
                       !
.....jayKILLspamspam.....sprucegrove.com     ! "Those who would give up essential liberty to
                       ! purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither
http://enerd.ws/robots  ! liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

2007\01\06@161109 by Herbert Graf

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On Sat, 2007-01-06 at 11:35 -0500, Olin Lathrop wrote:
> Herbert Graf wrote:
> > Imagine my surprise if at the checkout they proclaimed I ALSO had to
> > pay shipping and handling from the factory the item was produced in
> > China to the store I'm standing in?
>
> That would be silly of course, but the comparison is likewise silly.  Online
> sellers aren't charging you extra for the various parts of producing the
> product either.  The part you are complaining about is the extra cost to
> deliver it to you.  When you go to your local bricks and mortar store you
> pay this cost directly since you're the delivery boy.  

Ahh Olin, but there is the rub, the costs to me, BEFORE delivery are
often the same. Why? Because the stores make more money that way.

For stores that have both bricks and mortar locations and online
"locations" the prices are the same, the difference is I have to pay for
shipping (often) if I order from the online place.

Even in cases where the retailer is an online seller only, you'll notice
the "pre shipping" price is invariably VERY close to the price of the
exact same item at a local store. Why? Because most people only compare
the item price and forget the shipping, so the online retailer is $1
cheaper vs. the bricks and mortar store, and that's the price they
advertise, but then when you add the (usually outrageous) shipping and
handling charge you end up paying more!

> You don't pay more
> because the next customer drove 30 miles in a hummer to get there when you
> walked accross the street.

But Olin, these items are being delivered usually from overseas, you
think the extra 30 miles that package would have traveled to get to
"Hummer owner's" place has ANY effect?

> > At a bricks and mortar store the
> > price for shipping, handling, packaging, store clerks, store leasing,
> > etc. is all built in.
>
> But that part of the cost is built into online prices too, since you're not
> talking about the handling, packaging and shipping to get it to you.

Ahh, I see, that's what your getting at, the "double shipping". Hmm,
that's true, however, let me counter that the online seller doesn't have
to pay for a store clerk, cashier, fancy display or any of those other
items when they sell to me online. The just need the exact same
warehouse the bricks and mortar store would have. Yes, there are costs
for the online presence, but those are tiny compared to the electric
bills and leases for stores in prime locations, so I'll say that it
costs them LESS even INCLUDING the "double" shipment.

> > Why do MANY of them royally rip people off?
>
> They set a price for their product and a price to get it to you.  You should
> look at the total and decide if it's worth it.  Whether the total is a
> ripoff is a judgement call.  So a $50 item with $20 shipping is a ripoff,
> but $70 with free shipping would not be a ripoff?

Yup, because the the $70 free shipping is the price I pay, I didn't have
to dig around. I'm able to directly compare that $70 price with the $75
price in my local store without digging for 20 minutes trying to find
the shipping costs. Have you noticed how MOST online retailers hide the
shipping costs until you've already entered all your information? Heck,
there are a few retailers I've had to order from that never even TELL
you what shipping is, even after you submit your order. YOu have to
email them and pester them to tell you what they ended up charging you
for shipping.

If they simply said "this item is $50, and if you enter your postal code
we'll give you the final price" I would be MUCH happier. VERY FEW sites
do this.

Digikey is OK in this area, they have a relatively flat shipping charge
(assuming your order isn't too large) and they're pretty up front with
it.

{Quote hidden}

But at least I'd have easy prices to compare, the DISHONEST part is how
many sites HIDE the shipping.

And even ignoring that, receiving an item in the mail placed in an
envelope having been charged $30 for shipping and handling and receiving
it with a post mark of $3 still makes me feel ripped off. Why is pissing
off a customer a good idea?

{Quote hidden}

I guess you've never had to deal with a lost shipment them? Online
ordering IS great, as long as everything goes perfect. When it doesn't,
ALL the time you've saved ordering online over the years can be wasted
due to this ONE missing shipment.

>
> > Every time I've sold something online I've included the shipping price
> > in the price.  Yes, on some destinations I've lost a little, but I set
> > my margins to deal with that. On some items I've made money on the
> > shipping portion. On average, the shipping portion comes out to close
> > to zero.
>
> So using your terms, you've decided to rip off customers near you.

Depends how you define "rip off". I give ONE price (or sometimes one
price per "region", so a price for Canada, a price for the US, and a
price for everywhere else). The amount I make on each item does vary
depending on where it's shipped, so yes, on nearer customers my margins
are higher then further customers. But the price I charge is up front, I
never hide it, I truly do NOT believe ANY of my customers have ever felt
ripped off. If a customer feels my price doesn't fly, they don't buy it.
I don't weasel an order out of them with an artificially low price and
then smack them with a "oh, you have to pay me this too" sort of email.
In my book, a lost customer is FAR better then a pissed off customer
(since even though you have one sale, the pissed off customers are
usually very vocal).

TTYL

2007\01\06@161339 by Herbert Graf

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On Sat, 2007-01-06 at 18:05 +0100, Wouter van Ooijen wrote:
> > Every time I've sold something online I've included the shipping price
> > in the price. Yes, on some destinations I've lost a little,
> > but I set my margins to deal with that. On some items I've made money
> on
> > the shipping portion.
>
> That system is OK if you nearly always sell one product per shipment
> and/or if shipping cost is linear. In my case neither is true: most
> orders are for 5..50 items, shipping is highly non-linear, and (as I
> stated before) handling a order has a basic cost, even for 0 items. So
> in my case including the shipping in the item cost in a way that is
> reasonably for small orders would be 'stealing' from my big-order
> customers. IMO a small per-order fee is a simple and fair solution.
>
> I agree of course that a vendor must be honest about any additional
> costs.

Yes, in that case I'll agree with you, if you're dealing with mostly
multiple item orders, a "flat rate" shipping charge (like what Digikey
does) is the preferred option. Most of my stuff has been single item,
hench the "shipping embedded" price.

As long as you state what that fee is up front, I'd have zero problem
with that.

TTYL

2007\01\06@165458 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face

On Jan 6, 2007, at 7:55 AM, Herbert Graf wrote:

> Why are online retailers CHARGING shipping and handling
>  separately? Why do MANY of them royally rip people off?

Just for the record, I have no objections to shipping and handling
charges, even "unreasonable" ones, as long as they are adequately
documented "up front."  And in fact most online sellers, even on
eBay, are getting pretty good at that.  (Mouser was one of the worst,
IIRC; not telling me how much shipping and handling was going to be
even AFTER the order was fully submitted.  But their charges were
reasonable so all was ok...

But that's not what we're talking about here, I think.  We're
merely complaining that the minimum realistic shipping charge
(~$4 for "priority mail", $7 UPS, not including shipping supplies
like boxes and tape) is "large" compared to the price of the
actual goods when we're talking about some student's PIC project.
It really shouldn't take "heroic" efforts on the part of suppliers
to allow a hobbyist to assemble a project without "shipping" being
the most expensive component (especially when you have to order
from multiple places to get all the components you need.)  But
apparently it does.

> I search out the online retailers that INCLUDE shipping in the price.
>
Um, so one chip costs $3 and two chips cost $6 ?  A major reason
to NOT include shipping in prices is to allow the customer to benefit
from the economies of scale inherent in shipping charges...

>
> When I want to buy something from a bricks and mortar store
> down the road I ... go to the store, and buy it.
>
Too bad that electronics components don't seem to be profitable
enough to support the overhead of brick and mortar stores while
still offering "reasonable" prices (how many people buy components
at radio shack?)  I guess it would be nice if a "hobby shop" type
place could stock some electronics components, but my observation
is that electronics knowledge in general "hobbyists" is usually
abysmal, and such stores usually justify their higher-than-online
prices by having people who can answer questions...
(and buying at B&M stores does have it's hidden costs.  Gas.  TIME.
Nowdays I can usually order things online and receive them before
I'd get around to actually visiting a store that's "somewhat out
of my way.")

BillW

2007\01\06@190121 by Herbert Graf

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On Sat, 2007-01-06 at 13:54 -0800, William Chops Westfield wrote:
> > I search out the online retailers that INCLUDE shipping in the price.
> >
> Um, so one chip costs $3 and two chips cost $6 ?  A major reason
> to NOT include shipping in prices is to allow the customer to benefit
> from the economies of scale inherent in shipping charges...

Well, as already discussed, in cases where multiple item orders are most
common the "flat fee" shipping option makes the most sense.

> >
> > When I want to buy something from a bricks and mortar store
> > down the road I ... go to the store, and buy it.
> >
> Too bad that electronics components don't seem to be profitable
> enough to support the overhead of brick and mortar stores while
> still offering "reasonable" prices (how many people buy components
> at radio shack?)  

I guess you don't have any stores like that in your area? Near where I
work I have 3 stores (Daiwa, Sayal and Electrosonic). Very near to where
I went to school there were two (Supremetronic being one, can't remember
the name of the other).

All of these are bricks and mortar stores with an excellent selection of
components most hobbyists use.

For the odd time there is a specific component they don't have I order
from digikey. But given a choice, I drive the 5 minutes to one of those
stores to get what I need.

TTYL

2007\01\07@084010 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Herbert Graf wrote:

>> They set a price for their product and a price to get it to you.  You
>> should look at the total and decide if it's worth it.  Whether the
>> total is a ripoff is a judgement call.  So a $50 item with $20 shipping
>> is a ripoff, but $70 with free shipping would not be a ripoff?
>
> Yup, because the the $70 free shipping is the price I pay, I didn't have
> to dig around. I'm able to directly compare that $70 price with the $75
> price in my local store without digging for 20 minutes trying to find
> the shipping costs. Have you noticed how MOST online retailers hide the
> shipping costs until you've already entered all your information? Heck,
> there are a few retailers I've had to order from that never even TELL
> you what shipping is, even after you submit your order.

I don't know where you buy from, but there are plenty of online retailers
that don't do that. Why don't you shop with them? There are a number of
sites that compare prices from online retailers, and the better ones of
these show the full price, including shipping (like pricewatch.com,
pricegrabber.com). Now you try and do something similar (comparing prices
from ten or twenty outlets) with B+M shops :)


> YOu have to email them and pester them to tell you what they ended up
> charging you for shipping.

I just wouldn't shop there. It's so easy to "walk away" from an online shop
when I don't like it :)


> And even ignoring that, receiving an item in the mail placed in an
> envelope having been charged $30 for shipping and handling and receiving
> it with a post mark of $3 still makes me feel ripped off. Why is pissing
> off a customer a good idea?

May not be. But the effort of handling and shipping a package needs to be
paid for, somehow. As Olin said, there is no free shipping, there are only
different ways to charge for shipping. Let's just assume that handling and
shipping of a package costs actually $30. Obviously, adding for example $10
to each item (when the average number of items bought at a store is 3)
yields, on average, the same effect. But it penalizes the customer who buys
15 items, for no good reason. There can be made a point that it is better,
for the store and for the general public (environment and such), to not
penalize the ones with larger orders.

All in all, it really sounds as if you were choosing your online vendors
poorly. There are many around for which your complaints are not valid.

Gerhard

2007\01\07@105657 by Herbert Graf

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On Sun, 2007-01-07 at 11:39 -0200, Gerhard Fiedler wrote:
> I don't know where you buy from, but there are plenty of online retailers
> that don't do that. Why don't you shop with them? There are a number of
> sites that compare prices from online retailers, and the better ones of
> these show the full price, including shipping (like pricewatch.com,
> pricegrabber.com). Now you try and do something similar (comparing prices
> from ten or twenty outlets) with B+M shops :)

Ahh, but I think there is the difference, I ONLY buy online when it's
either WAY cheaper (i.e. Dell having one of their 7 days of deals
promotions) or when it's an item that's simply not available locally.

A great recent example was a set of fog lights for my car (why aren't
fog lights standard on cars these days?). The "local" price was the
price at my dealership, very expensive (I wanted OEM, no third party for
me). LOTS of places online that sold them for about half the price, but
all of them gave ZERO indication of shipping before placing the order.

I tried perhaps 4 or 5 retailers, none gave a shipping price. Since I
had no local option, I emailed them for their shipping prices. ONE, out
of the 5, responded. Their s/h price was insane (something like $40 for
regular postal mail), but even with the insane s/h price the total price
was still substantially cheaper then the local price, so I went with
them.

When I received the package it had a post mark price of $12, and it was
clear the postage label was printed in house, so at most it took them
probably 5 minutes to package it, and then it was put in a truck. So, I
ended up paying $28 for a box and 5 minutes of a person's time, THAT is
a rip off.

> All in all, it really sounds as if you were choosing your online vendors
> poorly. There are many around for which your complaints are not valid.

Well, when you have no other choice but online due to price, and all the
online vendors you've found act the same way, what else can you do?

A GREAT example of a company doing it the RIGHT way was the Scangauge I
bought: http://www.scangauge.com/

You'll notice they list one price, and it includes shipping. No fuss, no
begging for shipping details, easy. I placed the order knowing what
price I'd pay. What their margin is? No idea, don't care, to me the
price of the item with shipping was reasonable, so I'm happy. When I
received the package I didn't even look at the postmarked price.

Yes, we've already discussed why this model doesn't work for places that
expect multiple item orders.

I guess this is an issue that only bugs me, which is why online
retailers on the whole are STILL doing things the way they are doing
them.

TTYL

2007\01\07@120323 by olin piclist

face picon face
Herbert Graf wrote:
> Their s/h price was insane (something like $40
> for regular postal mail), but even with the insane s/h price the
> total price was still substantially cheaper then the local price, so
> I went with them.
>
> When I received the package it had a post mark price of $12, and it
> was clear the postage label was printed in house, so at most it took
> them probably 5 minutes to package it, and then it was put in a
> truck. So, I ended up paying $28 for a box and 5 minutes of a
> person's time, THAT is a rip off.

No, it's not.  You knew exactly what you were paying for what you got.  As
you said, the total price was still "substantially cheaper" than your other
options.  How they arrived at that price and what part of it went to pay for
shipping is irrelevant when comparing it to other options.  Since you knew
the whole price before you bought, and you received what you paid for you've
got nothing to complain about.  If you really thought it was a ripoff you
shouldn't have bought it and it's only your fault if you're not happy with
the deal.

Put another way, the merchant's costs are none of your business and there is
no reason for you to care as long as you know the total price.  I agree the
total price should be available, and I won't commit to buying something
without knowing it either, but beyond that I don't care what the merchant's
cost breakdown and profit margin is.

> Well, when you have no other choice but online due to price,

But you do have a choice, just that you're not willing to pay for it.  So
you're complaining a lot one way, but in the end you voted with your dollars
the other way.

> and all the online vendors you've found act the same way, what else
> can you do?

Not buy it online, obviously, if you really feel that strongly about it.  Of
course you've already shown you don't, so all your complaining is sounding
more and more like a lot of pointless hot air.

> I guess this is an issue that only bugs me, which is why online
> retailers on the whole are STILL doing things the way they are doing
> them.

It's a supply and demand world, get over it.  If you really want to see a
change you have to stop buying from places that don't do what you like, and
get a few million of your closest friends to do the same.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2007\01\07@133048 by Carey Fisher

face picon face
Herbert Graf wrote:

A great recent example was a set of fog lights for my car (why aren't
> fog lights standard on cars these days?).
Global Warming??? ;)

> The "local" price was the
> price at my dealership, very expensive (I wanted OEM, no third party for
> me).
You likely didn't get OEM parts if you bought them online.  I bought a
replacement taillight assembly
for my Chevrolet Silverado online.  It was advertised as OEM and was a
very, very, very good
attempt to duplicate the OEM part.  But, you can clearly see the
difference when the lights are on and you compare the
diffusion patterns of the new and old assemblies.

{Quote hidden}

Maybe you get what you pay for?

Large companies like Amazon have contracts with the carriers, have well
developed processes so they
know exactly what shipping costs are.

Smaller companies don't usually have these advantages so I give most of
them the benefit of the doubt
and assume they're not trying to rip me off.  Just trying to run a
business as best they can.  Like me and
my partner are doing.
>
>  

2007\01\07@143729 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face

> I tried perhaps 4 or 5 retailers, none gave a shipping price. Since I
> had no local option, I emailed them for their shipping
> prices. ONE, out
> of the 5, responded. Their s/h price was insane (something
> like $40 for
> regular postal mail), but even with the insane s/h price the
> total price
> was still substantially cheaper then the local price, so I went with
> them.
>
> When I received the package it had a post mark price of $12,
> and it was
> clear the postage label was printed in house, so at most it took them
> probably 5 minutes to package it, and then it was put in a
> truck. So, I
> ended up paying $28 for a box and 5 minutes of a person's
> time, THAT is
> a rip off.

I don't see why. You got a quote, you freely decided that you wanted
that offer (price+shipping), and that is what you paid. If they quoted
$10 shipping and charged you $15, *that* would have been a ripoff!

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


2007\01\07@154253 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Herbert Graf wrote:

> A great recent example was a set of fog lights for my car (why aren't fog
> lights standard on cars these days?). The "local" price was the price at
> my dealership, very expensive (I wanted OEM, no third party for me).
> LOTS of places online that sold them for about half the price, but all
> of them gave ZERO indication of shipping before placing the order.
>
> I tried perhaps 4 or 5 retailers, none gave a shipping price. Since I
> had no local option, I emailed them for their shipping prices. ONE, out
> of the 5, responded. Their s/h price was insane (something like $40 for
> regular postal mail), but even with the insane s/h price the total price
> was still substantially cheaper then the local price, so I went with
> them.

The price of a single order (which itself consists of one or more items)
consists of many cost factors, plus vendor profit. There are many
reasonable ways to calculate the final price. One that's very common due to
its simplicity is to have fixed prices for all items. That's the department
store. Another one is to give volume credits when you buy certain
quantities of the same item. Still another one is to charge a base value
per order (which itself may depend on certain characteristics of the order)
and add item prices.

In the end, it doesn't matter. What you pay is what matters. To go with a
variation of Olin's earlier example (adapted to your situation), why do
call a total of $100 ($60 item price + $40 per-order price) insane and a
rip-off, but a total of $150 (the dealership) not?

You said it yourself: you bought from the one who charged you $100, but you
complain. Just because you don't like their way of reaching their price.
Now if you /really/ liked it better the way the others reached their price
of $150, you definitely should have voted with your dollars and bought from
them.


> When I received the package it had a post mark price of $12, and it was
> clear the postage label was printed in house, so at most it took them
> probably 5 minutes to package it, and then it was put in a truck. So, I
> ended up paying $28 for a box and 5 minutes of a person's time, THAT is
> a rip off.

See, I think it's here where you make an essential error in judgment. It's
customary called "s+h", but it is essentially a per-order price (that may
vary with certain characteristics of the order, like weight, total amount,
number of items, etc). And it seems strangely contradictory that you
complain about their way to calculate the price they charge you, don't
complain about the way the dealership calculates the price they charge you,
but still buy from the company who does the "wrong thing" (IYO).

If you felt their price a rip-off, you should have bought elsewhere.


> Well, when you have no other choice but online due to price,

Come on... "have no other choice"? Gimme a break. I have seen situations
where one could say "no choice", but choosing a vendor for a fog light is
not among these. You can always buy somewhere else. You also can not buy
one at all.

Given what you told us, I would understand if you said that the
dealership's price was a rip-off.


> A GREAT example of a company doing it the RIGHT way was the Scangauge I
> bought: http://www.scangauge.com/

There are many others. Try the sites I've mentioned sometime.


> What their margin is? No idea, don't care, to me the price of the item
> with shipping was reasonable, so I'm happy. When I received the package
> I didn't even look at the postmarked price.

So, why don't you apply the same thought to the fog light retailer you
bought from? From what I understand, they had the best price/service combo
you found, you found the total price (including per-order price) reasonable
-- but you are not happy. What's the difference? Why did you look here at
the postmarked price (which really has not much to do with the per-order
price)?

Gerhard

2007\01\07@155136 by Rich Mulvey

flavicon
face
Wouter van Ooijen wrote:
{Quote hidden}

  I'm still trying to find out where all of these horrible retailers
are.  :-)  Me and my family purchase literally
almost everything online, with the exception of food.  I bet we've
patronized dozens of online retailers, and looked
at thousands more, over the last few years.  With just one or two
exceptions, they've *all* let me know what the shipping charges
are before my credit card gets charged.

  Seriously, who cares what the shipping is, as long as the final price
is acceptable?

- Rich

2007\01\07@162922 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
>    I'm still trying to find out where all of these horrible retailers
> are.  :-)  

IIRC I have had this 'problem' with Digikey, OatlyElectronics, BGMirco
and ElectronicGoldmine. For instance EGM nowadays has a shipping cost
calculator for domestic USA, and that is what they first claim from my
CC (even though there is a choice for 'shipping to Netherlands', which I
selected). A few days (or sometimes weeks) later I get a message
'everything is packed, shipping is XX, total is YY'. I guess I could at
that stage refuse the transaction, but that would be a bit unfair to the
merchant who has already packed the order. But I guess it can also be
very frustrating for the novice buyer who has checked the shipping cost
and total amount that was specified on the CC transaction. I must add
that the vendors are mostly reasonable about this problem. Oatly for
instance warned me that 95% of the shipping cost was caused by 5% of the
order value (a bunch of rugged keypads). EGM likewise informed me that
one item (IIRC part of a POS terminal) was very heavy and hence
expensive to ship. In the end I choose to buy again from these vendors,
so I am not too fuzzy about it. In a way this problem helps my business:
if Dutch customers could easily and cheaply buy one or two items from
e.g. BGMicro I could not sell them the same item with profit!

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


2007\01\08@013311 by Charles Craft

picon face
stores.ebay.com/NightFire-Electronic-Kits

Haven't ordered from them but will try next time I need a few SMT parts.
They now have listings for PIC development boards and accessories but no PIC listings.


2007\01\08@141831 by Vitaliy

picon face
Herbert Graf wrote:
[snip]
> A GREAT example of a company doing it the RIGHT way was the Scangauge I
> bought: http://www.scangauge.com/
>
> You'll notice they list one price, and it includes shipping. No fuss, no
> begging for shipping details, easy. I placed the order knowing what
> price I'd pay. What their margin is? No idea, don't care, to me the
> price of the item with shipping was reasonable, so I'm happy. When I
> received the package I didn't even look at the postmarked price.

I've met the president of ScanGauge at SEMA about a month ago. The fact that
the price includes shipping has more to do with them trying to keep things
simple for themselves, rather than trying to please customers. While trying
to keep things simple is a worthy endeavor, a lot of times it's done at the
expense of flexibility.

Vitaliy

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