Thursday, May 17, 2012

Inflight Entertainment

Gingko Shadows
There’s not many things I do on impulse these days particularly when it comes to purchasing anything that has an on and off switch (other than lamps).   Usually, I read endless reviews, I wait for the 2nd generation (and sometimes the 3rd or 4th generation!), I watch for sales and I resign myself to never, ever being the kid on the block with the coolest new toy.

This morning, for the 2nd time in as many months, I succumbed to impulse.  The first time had been for the Lytro Camera -- it just seemed so cool to me that this little camera would let me snap a picture without worrying about focus – capturing all the light and leaving me to play with focusing the image after the fact and at my leisure OR not focus the photo at all and let other people play with the image.  Sure there are drawbacks (proprietary software for one) but this little camera is probably going to transform photography as we know it.  As an inveterate shutterbug, I just couldn’t resist and truth be told there weren’t many reviews to go on so I didn’t get caught up in that net for too long.  I will say that having heard about it on a train ride, it took me a bit of time to execute on the purchase.  I did do a little research (how else would I know that there aren’t too many reviews) and I did think about the purchase within the context of other things I would be forgoing (a 2nd Olympus camera body as an example).  I got a notice late last week that my very own little Lytro is about to ship.  Woo hoo!

Ginkgo Emerging
This morning’s purchase was of a different sort – it occurred at the intersection between information, instant gratification, and opportunity.  It goes something like this:

1    1.  Just reading the NY Times (in paper no less)

2    2.  Saying to myself, I want that after reading a product review

3    3.  Delta Shuttle + GoGo + FREE Amazon access

Really Delta?  Really?  You had to partner with Amazon to offer ME free access in my 35-minute flight to shopping?  And not just access but pretty fast, don’t get frustrated and give up access.  Brilliant strategy on your part – I hope you are making a lot of money from this because if I’m any indicator, Amazon is going to.  Put another way, in 35 minutes, I bought a $300 dollar toy; imagine the damage I could do on a longer flight?

One could argue (me included) that I could have (and probably would have) done the same damage at home at some point.  Take the first example – the Lytro camera – I heard about that on a train where I had Internet access but I didn’t act on the impulse.   A couple of things there – the camera had no name (it took some googling to track it down), the train was almost at the station, and I had these other “competing” camera purchases in mind that I would have needed to sort though.
Ginkgo Baby

Hmm, come to think of it, I had other competing ideas for this particular toy that I should have sorted through but didn’t at least not consciously.  OK, so now that you are wondering (all 2 of you that have gotten this far in this post) what on earth did she buy?  Quite a build up if I do say so myself.

4.  A Bose Soundlink Wireless Speaker

Yep, that is what I bought in less than 35 minutes and without reading ANY of the 286 customer reviews.   The things that took the longest time in the purchase:  (1) checking a couple of non-Bluetooth alternates; (2) decision on leather or nylon (leather); and (3) remembering my Amazon password.

A small confession, there is a bit more than impulse in play here.  I’ve been perseverating (for it seems like forever or since I got my first iPod) on whether to get a BOSE sound dock.  Every time I’d go to buy one, it just seemed so anchored to me.  Anchored to a place (my home), and quite duplicative of my home entertainment system that does a decent, if not great job, on music.  This little toy, on the other hand, can follow me wherever I might go including from the kitchen to the bedroom (that’s a pretty big deal if you ask me).   I like that versatility.
Gingko Teens

I also recognize a good review when I read one – the NY Times reviewer (David Pogue) pretty much covered all the questions I would have and was reviewing it in tandem with another product and with reference to multiple other products.  Sold enough that I had folded up that section of the paper and tucked it in my bag so that I wouldn’t forget about this cool little product.  

Some 9 hours later, I have this to say:  (1) brilliant Delta and Amazon, kudos to you; (2) it’s a good thing I wasn’t reading a review of flat screen TVs; (3) I wonder which is gonna get to me first – the Lytro camera or the Bose?; and (4) Oh boy, oh boy, i have  two new toys coming my way!


  1. Congratulations - the anticipation of the delivery of new product is the part I like the best -- all the dreaming with none of the downside. Still sounds like there will be little downside.

  2. Thanks Chris. Amazon clearly has it down in terms of buyer's remorse (and lack of time for that) -- the SoundLink has arrived already and, i must say, it is a nifty little present to myself. ;o)