Using Amazon Customer Reviews

Today I offer up a tip on how to use technology when making buying decisions.  It’s to use Amazon customer reviews to see what people who already have what you want to buy think of it.  Whether I plan to buy something from Amazon or not I usually check with their reviews.

Amazon has a 5 star rating system.  You can see at a quick glance in bar graph form how the product rates.  They’ll show you the most helpful comment and the most critical comment (as voted on by people reading the reviews) right up front.

Amazon Android App Customer Review

You can then read all of the comments and can filter by most helpful or newest.  I usually go with newest in case a company makes changes to a product to address initial consumer issues.

There’s also a neat “Customer Question & Answer” section where you can ask a specific question to people who already own the product you are investigating.

Amazon has a mobile app for both Android and iOS users.  You can use the mobile app to scan the UPC code of a product you see in a store.  It’ll then pull the item up in Amazon’s inventory where you can see what they sell it for and read the customer reviews.

One word of caution.  You do need to take a critical view of each review.  If it’s a bad review is it simply because someone didn’t read the directions or understand how to use the product?  Were they being to harsh in their review?

A personal example would be when I was researching the Fitbit Force.  Several reviewers commented that it was hard to get the band to latch when putting it on.  Other reviewers said it was fine after you got the hang of it.

I decided that I’d prefer it be a little more difficult to put on as it likely meant it would be difficult to fall off.  After wearing one for several months I can tell you I have no issues putting it on or taking it off.

Using Amazon app reviews is a great way to use technology to make wise buying decisions… and maybe even save yourself a little money.

Do you use Amazon reviews?  Ever left your own Amazon review?

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Week 10 Verse – Giving Up Something For Lent

Today, being Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent, is a day many people give up something.  My oldest daughter’s youth group at Church talked about it so this year she’s decided to give up chocolate.

Since she’s giving something up I thought I would join her. I wanted to make mine something that wouldn’t be easy… but yet something I could realistically do.

Here’s what I decided.  I am going to give up watching television between 9pm and 10pm and use that time to read or accomplish something constructive.

I’m hoping to continue this on past Lent and that it will have become a habit.

Motivation for success will come from knowing my daughter is watching me and wanting to show her the importance of keeping your word.  Putting it out there publicly on this blog is another way of holding myself accountable.

And in case I needed one other thing to keep me motivated to not break my Lenten promise… I found this week’s Bible verse.

Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 (NLT)

When you make a promise to God, don’t delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to him. It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it.

What about you?  Are you giving up anything for Lent?

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A Thought Provoking Question

I’ve been reading The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews so I started to follow him on Twitter.

One of his recent tweets really got me thinking. He asked a simple question: What advice would you give to your younger self?

I could come up with a pretty long list but here is a start:

Take Spanish all 4 years in high school.  It’ll save you the time and frustration of having to take some in college.

Spend more time with your Grandparents.  They’ll be gone sooner than you think.

While you’re at it have your Grandma show you how to make blackberry jam.  Her’s was the best and you’ll never find a store bought kind that even comes close to tasting as good.

Save your Star Wars figures.  You can sell them for some serious cash someday.

Practice the piano and don’t stop taking lessons. It’s a skill you can use the rest of your life.

Spend less time looking for a girlfriend and more time making friends.  Girlfriends come and go but real friends won’t.

Try wearing contacts.  You’ll like them.  That way you won’t want to kick yourself when you eventually do at age 40.

Take risks.  Take chances.  It’s OK to fail at something as long as you try and you learn something from it.

When you’re at Church camp and you go on a night hike be sure and bring a flashlight.  It will help you avoid stepping in a latrine.

Start saving money early.  Make it a habit.  You’ll thank me on this one later.

Those are just a few of my initial thoughts.  I’m still thinking about the question a day after I read it.

So what about you?  What advice would you give to your younger self?



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