Monthly Archives: November 2010

Dammit,, will you please let me use my store credit?

It’s only eleven days ago that I got to write the heart-warming story about a local pub that, when I forgot to collect my cashback, drove it round to my house.

Today, I write in a very different mood.

Mostly from this blog’s book reviews, I — and Englishman living in England — have accumulated a tasty account balance of $274.28 at  And thanks to a sequence of appallingly stupid policies on the part of Amazon themselves and various publishers, that balance is almost completely useless to me.

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If I buy a US Kindle from, will it work in the UK?

As you may recall, I have a shedload of store credit that is no use to me at all.  I can’t buy MP3s with it, I can’t give it to friends in the form of gift certificates (I’ve not blogged about that, it was too painful), and of course I can’t transfer it to my account.

Why not?

I just can’t, that’s all.  That’s how the monumentally stupid music industry wants it to be.  It’s also apparently how Amazon wants it to be — I can only assume they want a cut of all the Monumentally Stupid that’s going on out there.

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How to set a price. Or: cost, value, and price

Here’s a problem that’s come up many times in my life, in one form or another: when you do something for someone, how much should you charge?  There are many things that could be a said about negotiation, cost estimation, and so on, but I just want to share one simple insight based on three related but distinct words: cost, value and price.

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Now that’s what I call service!

I know this is waaay off-topic, even for a blog as eclectic as this, but I had an experience this week that made me feel happy with the world, and I wanted to mention it here as a reassurance that the whole world is not spiralling down into that attitude where businesses think customers are an annoying irritant.

The Mill Race, Walford, Herefordshire

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