It's been a few days without a real rant (flexes his fingers) so here goes.  Amazon:


I was over at GeoCaching and noticed that there is a cache in Nahant.  Go figure.  It's like a mile from me.  This might be enough to finally get me to buy a GPS.  As always, with consumer electronics, I'm the last around to get one (I only got a DVD player a few months ago) since I can't write it off, I know it won't work right and will just be difficult.  So anyway I surfed over to Amazon and searched for GPS and then selected the 278 results in Electronics.  And got a list of results.  Hmmm.... $250 odd is more than I want to spend for a GPS.  So I'll just use "Sort by" and sort by price.  And then I saw this fine bit of blithering, pathetic idiocy that just boggles my (admittedly little) mind:

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You can't sort by price.  You can't sort by price!  Go figure.  One of the very real advantages of shopping on a computer is something like sorting.  Yes I know that I can look by "Best Selling" and then infer a price relationship since cheaper tends to sell more but that's just not the same.  And then I said to myself "Wait I know that Amazon's crew of largely Perl monkeys can sort a database by price" so let's see if they do it elsewhere like in books.  So I did and got this: 

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That's right -- search for a book and you can sort by price but search for electronics where sorting by price really matters and you can't.  Go figure.  That's a stupid revenue optimization strategy or it's bad product management.

New slogan for Amazon's programmers: "Amazon.  First we'll take away your ability to sort by price and then tomorrow we'll remove the search engine."

Disclaimer: I have no bias against Amazon.  I use them frequently and I think they absolutely rock.  Things like this frustrate the ever loving crap out of me since they can do better.  I'm a fan and I want Amazon to do well.  For all their flaws they have done a good job and I hope they succeed.  They even released an XML based webservice API.  And now this.  Sigh.