TNW 114: I'll Call Back

Beep boop - this is a robot. A new show has been posted to TWiT…

What are your thoughts about today’s show? We’d love to hear from you!

Regarding Amazon returns at Kohl’s. The guest doth protests too much. I live in middle America. Our nearest Apple store is 120 miles away. I don’t have any idea how far I’d have to go to find a Whole Foods. Living in large cities has the benefit of having many stores available to them. So there are trade offs. We live 10 minutes from a Kohl’s. You do not need to box an Amazon return. You print off a link, give it to the person at Kohl’s, and that’s it. Your account is credited immediately.

It costs me a half a tank of gas to go to St. Louis to get an iPhone or other Apple item repaired. If I have to leave it, there’s another trip. So his moaning over $7.50 to return something seems a bit extreme, especially since he rarely returns anything…


Ditto. I’m surprised he didn’t complain the 25% off Kohl’s coupon is only good for 7-days and in-store purchases. Also puzzling, the screenshot of Amazon return options clearly showed a free UPS option.


It seems pretty obvious to me that if you sell something one way, you should “unsell” it the exact same way. Amazon can’t claim to have free easy returns and then make it a very special circumstance to achieve a return. Imagine if you bought a TV from, say BestBuy, and it didn’t work, and you were told you had to arrange its return to Samsung in Korea… If that was their standard behaviour, you’d stop doing business with them right, because it wasn’t convenient. Amazon sells on convenience and ease, so they need to maintain that facade for returns, or else they will find customers make other choices for their purchases they are unsure about and might want to take advantage of a return policy.

(I’m not defending Amazon at all, I personally find they have become something of a electronic flea market of junk, but I feel if you have a policy for your outbound goods, it needs to also apply for inbound returns, no matter what retailer you are.)

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I’m curious, @PHolder, who have you found that provides better experience than Amazon?

This bears calling out:
Amazon in Canada is NOTHING like Amazon US. They don’t have good prices, they don’t have good selection, and ordering something from the US to Canada is very expensive (taxes and duties.) Let me pick a random product to give an example. I will convert all prices to Canadian, using the current exchange rate, which is about 1.3 to 1. ( 1 USD to CAD = 1.29966 according to

Okay, so here goes. I need a new colander. In Amazon US I enter the search “metal colander” and get a lot of reasonably priced options, and I choose this one: which says $27.99 PLUS +$15.79 Shipping & Import Fees Deposit to Canada (total Canadian would be roughly $57)

Now I take the description/title line and pop that into Amazon CA, first result is bad because they have shitty search, but I correct it for them and I find my item: (it’s listed for CDN$ 120.46 FREE SHIPPING)

And this is a random example, but everything is like that. I do not go to Amazon expecting to get a good deal. I go there because I have no better choice left :frowning:

My situation is probably like most people’s that don’t live directly in a large city. In a 5 minute drive for me, my ONLY shopping choice is Walmart. Walmart and Amazon have killed everyone else, I think. I basically have no choice to shop there, even for groceries, or I am spending much more, in gas, on the trip. I have not done much business with Amazon, maybe $2000 total in a decade. I have never returned anything to Amazon other than one item that arrived broken, and that process was enough to make me hope to never need to do it again. My personal approach is to try and find it locally, then to try and find an online retailer that isn’t Amazon, and then finally to look on Amazon or decide to go without.


5 Billion Pounds of returns end up in landfills each year just in USA so I hope those who complain about free return inconvenience consider these numbers.
Source: Marketplace Tech

This season’s online holiday sales were worth some $138 billion to e-retailers, and nearly a third of that stuff is expected to be returned, according to new research from CBRE, a real estate research group. That’s actually typical for 30% of online shopping to be returned, whereas 8% of other stuff bought in shops is returned. All of those returns come with a cost, even if they’re free to us, the shoppers. There’s the emissions from the trucks and planes, the waste from packaging and discarded products, the cost of finding space for it all, or even just chucking it out.


I usually keep my box for a month or so after receiving the product. If I need to return it I submit claim online and drop off at local UPS store. This is reasonable to me as UPS is close to me. UPS has some pretty good standard business hours and Amazon covers the postage return. I wouldn’t think of taking it Kohl’s or anywhere unless I expected for someone to inspect it and give me cold hard cash in return. Since I ordered online I figure 7day turn around and bam money in the bank. Have only returned a half dozen things but never been an issue. I live in the Midwest but the our closet Apple Store is 1.5 hour either way (Indianapolis, In or Louisville, Ky) Amazon warehouses around Indy but as we know they don’t accept returns. So UPS is closest and “easiest” option.


Hearing @mikahsargent mention wasting telephone scammers’ time made me think I have to mention the Jolly Roger Telephone Company again. They use conference calling to allow you to add their robot to the call, which will then reply to the scammer with inane but vaguely relevant responses that will keep them on the line because they think they’re getting somewhere (they aren’t). Listen to the demos which can be pretty amusing:

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