Hello bloggie comrades, no don't say anything, I still can't see or hear you. Damn this firewall!!! But don't think I've forgotten you all. In fact, just last evening I was thinking, what if I regain access to bloggie? Wouldn't that be lovely? What would it be like? Heh, I'll tell you what it would be like:
zorkie: Hi Sine, lovely to see you, you haven't done a GA post in several months.
Sine: Hi zorkie, you're looking absolutely gorgeous as ever, sorry about the GA posts, but you know I've been stuck behind a firewall and couldn't get to bloggie.
zorkie: Hmmph, compliments cannot replace GA posts. And what, you couldn't email me?
With that hypothetical conversation pounding in my brain, I went back to reading the news, when serendipitously I found some advice about shopping.
And I said to myself, who needs this information more than my bloggie comrades? Why, it might be possible to save thousands of dollars on Stormi's shoes alone!
Professor R Preston McAfee made the headlines a couple of months ago with a report on the US government's purchase of computer hardware.
Prices fascinate McAfee, a professor of business, economics and management at the California Institute of Technology. He examines price variations as lovingly as a soothsayer looking at chicken entrails, and it's not just multi-million-dollar purchases that fascinate him.
"You take a commodity like gasoline," he says. "Two weeks ago I went out and surveyed the six closest stations to my house...I surveyed them a week later and the station that had been the highest was now the lowest"
But what does this reveal, other than that prices are volatile?
"This isn't volatility at all," he says. "This is a pattern that persists. It shows most consumers are lazy. The ones who shop around, who look for the best prices, save a substantial amount of money."
It's not too shocking to be advised to shop around, but did you know about Amazon?
Is it true that Amazon offers different patrons different prices?
"Yes. If you search on Amazon, you find they're doing something rather subtle. They don't seem to be targeting prices based on your identity. What they're doing is that with some items they're offering prices that fluctuate - but you don't get the fluctuating prices if you don't clear your cookies. I'm not exactly sure what they're doing, but I have been able to replicate getting different prices from Amazon on different machines within seconds of each other. In general, it seems that people who check prices frequently get better prices than people who don't."
What strategies should the savvy purchaser adopt?
"The best strategy for the buyer is 'search'.