– Not ready for Prime time

I really wanted Jet.Com to work. When they announced the service as an alternative to Amazon, I thought that a new kind of competition would be good for the industry. Unfortunately, my experience shows that great ideas and intentions that are not ready for prime time = just a terrible customer experience that appears doomed. offers a membership service with what they believe to be prices 10-15% below the competition. As Costco has proven, a membership purchasing concept can be great for both customers and business. With free shipping on purchases over $35, the offer seems attractive.

I was pleasantly surprised to find a wide array of products on Jet.Com. Their UI is simple and straightforward – well suited to the task. Graphics are good and their purple theme interesting.

Given that I am a photographer, as well as techie, I first went to cameras. I was astonished to see a Nikon pro camera (D4S) in their listings. I immediately added it to my cart and the savings were indeed substantial enough to convince me to upgrade from my three-year-old D4.

Then the fun started. I clicked check out, entered my shipping and credit card info, and clicked purchase. They seems to process my order. Then a message popped up that they had a problem and please retry or call a “Jet Head.” I tried again. And again. No luck.

I called and Auli’i was really pleasant. Saw the item in my cart, confirmed that they had it, confirmed the price, confirmed that it was indeed a US sourced item, but got the same error. She put me on hold (with my permission) and talked with support who acknowledged that they were having problems. I was asked to try a different browser – I tried two more. Same result. She said that she would work with support to get my order through the system, process it and I would receive an email acknowledgement.

Two days later – not received. So, I called again. Brandon acknowledged that they were have some problems. (Can you say “not ready for prime time?” Yes.. pun intended) When he looked at my account, there were no items on order, nothing in my shopping cart, even though my account still showed the Nikon camera. He asked me to re-purchase. I did and there was no such product.

He told me that they had some issues with items that they priced too low and then removed from the system and that was probably what happened. They would not honor the price for an item that had already been ordered. And then, repeated the part line about service and price.

After I hung up, I got even angrier. Clearly this is amateur hour! They post items and prices to attract you to the site, don’t have them at that price, let you add them to your cart, and then have the “cart fail” so that they don’t have to honor their commitments.

And then, two days later, got an email response, again apologizing and asking for patience while they worked through technical issues. So, I checked and the same item was reposted, with the same price. Added to my cart, clicked purchase and got exactly the same error. And was informed, that the customer service staff had no ability to do a work around.

Intolerable policy and service. Chalk this up as another startup that doesn’t get it.


Trophy Hunting – I just don’t understand

Like many animal lovers, my first reaction was outrage at the senseless death of Cecil the lion by Walter Palmer. I let my first draft post that reflected my outrage subside into thought – I just couldn’t understand why a successful American dentist would feel the need to take the life of a beautiful African creature. Then I learned that he has done it many times in the past and that big-game hunting has supported the imperiled species to be taken to the brink of extinction, where the lion population has decreased from over 100,000 in the early 1990s to between 15,000-47,000 currently (ref: Wikipedia). The justification is that “trophy hunting” is a smaller factor than poaching. To me that is a specious argument, since it exacerbates the rapid decline of these magnificent creatures. Paying $50,000 to slaughter, behead, and skin a lion is unfathomable and should be condemned.

Our society has moved beyond this! We should not tolerate this. 2000 years ago, hunting and killing humans was considered acceptable. Army’s would plunder captured villages, beheading humans and displaying their heads on spikes or hanging them from walls. As our society matured and became more civilized, this was condemned and is considered abhorrent. ISIS still maintains this practice in their conquered territory – they considered conquered people trophies and not deserving of any compassion.
Are big-game trophy hunters, like Walter Palmer, very different from them? Future generations of humanity will look back on the barbaric practice of trophy hunting with disgust, just as we should now.

So, what should we do?
1) Clearly, the first step if for all civilized countries (led by the US) should put in place a permanent ban on Trophy Hunting; no part of a threatened or endangered species should be allowed to be brought back into the US or any other country.
2) Social pressure, like that shown to Walter Palmer, must be ferocious. We should shun anyone who does Trophy Hunting. Peer pressure should be massive. They should understand that this is as unacceptable as being taken to a remote location to hunt a human.
3) Economic stick. The countries that allow Trophy Hunting should face economic sanctions if they continue to do so. These include not just Zimbabwe, but also South Africa, Namibia, etc.
4) Economic carrot. We need to support non-destructive ways to preserve wildlife and their environments in the affected countries. I am a photographer and love photographing animals in their natural habitat. Photo trips like these are expensive and support the local economy. I also contribute to wildlife conservation. As a society, we need to make sure that preserving these natural habitats and their wild inhabitants is a high priority.

Let’s make sure that Cecil’s senseless killing was not in vain. #CecilMattered