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PC Columnist, San Diego Union Tribune
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Amazon's Grocery
Delivery Service

Mary and I have been buying household items from Amazon.com for some time and recently tried their "Amazon Fresh" grocery service.

            AmazonFresh

Well, I must admit to being favorably impressed. The delivery arrived early in the morning (as per our request) in insulated boxes and even included some ice cream (which I had assumed would arrive rather soft). But it was as firm as having been bought locally from a grocer's freezer section.

An even bigger surprise was that it was delivered by a truck from the US Postal Service — which suggests that Amazon is trying to help keep the Post Office in business.

As for price — well, by the time we figured in Amazon's various membership fees, it came pretty close to what we'd likely have paid at a local supermarket. Thus it's fair to ask, "So what's the advantage?"

Well, for someone who lives near a grocery store and/or who has time available to spend there, online ordering may not be helpful. But I've reached an age where driving among frequently distracted motorists and their (illegal) texting has no appeal for me. Plus, I like to think my time is valuable enough to be better spent on my work-at-home projects.

In any case, one must be prepared to spend considerable time comparing web sites to get the best deal on any online system. Mary is very good at that.

Do I feel guilty about "stealing sales from local stores when I order from online retailers?" Well, one must keep up with the times. Established icons like Sears and Kmart have been closing stores, while their online competitors continue to expand. Furthermore, brick and mortar grocers like Ralph's and Von's are suddenly offering options for online-ordering and at-home-delivery.

    Ironically, Amazon is rumored to be on the verge of opening a chain of walk-in warehouse-like stores.
Remember What Happened to Kodak?

As for "keeping up with the times," it was a Kodak employee who invented the concept of digital photography in the mid-1970s.

But after selling some digital cameras (which did not require a user to buy photographic film or paper) Kodak decided the world would never give up its traditional way of taking snapshots — so they abandoned digital photography altogether — and ended up filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in January of 2012.

    Speaking of online purchases, surely everyone's read about the little girl who unknowingly ordered an elaborate doll-house and some favorite cookies via her parent's "Amazon Echo" device.

    Echo heard the child talking about these items and understood it as an order to buy.

Another thing to keep in mind about devices that collect your personal data (such as Echo, Siri and Cortana): if someone hacks such an apparatus, all that information will become theirs. Personally, I'm endeavoring to learn more about such devices before actually using any of them.

Another cautionary note: I love Google Docs and use the free service constantly instead of Microsoft Office. However, Google sees everything I write and subsequently posts pertinent ads in many places I go online.

DonEdrington@gmail.com
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