Thursday, 21 April 2016

The convenience of online shopping

I am doing my best to stay positive at the moment, but I am finding it difficult. The main problem, I have decided, is that the world is now run by a bunch of unscrupulous bastards with psychopathic tendencies.

We all fought hard (or at least aspired) to keep the internet a refuge of unregulated freedom, but now there is no such thing as a principled Internet Service Provider or a principled provider of any service at all. Everything and everyone is hi-jacked as soon as you poke your head around any door.

Here's just one little example of what I am talking about.

I need a couple of tons of a particular stone-like material which is - or seems to be - unavailable in this country in the quantity I want it. The best commercial source of it appears to be in Romania. The company is advertised in many different locations on the WWW, but getting in touch with the owners direct has so far proved impossible.

There are about 10 'directories' which list this company as one of their clients, but when you try to find contact details for it, you are invited - or required - to register with these companies as a paying member before they forward your enquiry onto the quarry themselves. They only give out contact information to 'premium clients'. They say they act as intermediaries, but in effect they are middle-men trying to make money by being obstructive. This is an old Mafia business model, but these days, the Italian marble companies - which are all run by the Mafia - are very helpful when compared to the techie up-starts. They actually protect you from the up-starts.

I decided to bite the bullet and register with one of these 'directories', because they appear to have eradicated any of the Romanian company's original website. I found this out by typing in the company's URL address, and was confronted with a page from another company which informed me that they had bought this URL and I would have to buy it from them if I wanted to use it. There are sniffer programs out there which pick up on many business URLs which are searched for, then snap them up in a quarter of a second before trying to selling them on to the people who could actually use them. You don't even need to sit in an office to run a business like this - the thing runs itself, 24/7.

So I began to fill out the lengthy form to register with just one of these directories, beginning with my name, address, telephone number, email address, then date of birth, nature of business, number of employees, annual turnover, VAT number, position within company, job description... then I thought, fuck this.

The directory listed the address and telephone number of the Romanian company, so I tried to call them up on the phone. 'Number Not In Use'.

I have written a letter to them and posted it via airmail. Let's hope the address has not been bought by an American internet predator to intercept snail-mail.

In the old days, you produced something, then you either sold it in bulk to a merchant, or you sold it direct to an end-user. We were all sold the dream of how easy everything was going to become by using the World Wide Web.

We are all a complete and utter bunch of naive mugs, and deserve everything we get.

32 comments:

  1. It sounds like a scam, but I couldn't begin to fathom the 'whys' and 'wherefores' of it -- except making unscrupulous use of all those details they want you provide them.

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    1. That's it. Plus the registration fee.

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  2. Speak for yourself. We are not all a bunch of naive mugs; I for sure am not.

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    1. No, I always had you down as one of the unscrupulous psychopaths.

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    2. Sound of a cymbal crashing

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  3. What an utter load of bullshit!

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  4. It looks like a scam to me. There is no stone-like material at the end of this rainbow. The way I read it is the company no longer exists or even knows what's going on. Either the guys at this website are simply collecting the registration fee and delivering nothing, (seems very small time unless they've got hundreds of these fake URLs going) they're phishing. All they have to do is get you to long on to their website. They don't even need your name, address, etc. You should back up all your date in case they seize your hard drive and demand a ransom to give it back.

    I had a call from the bank last night asking if I had just made a large purchase in Pennsylvania. I'm in Massachusetts, but my debit card number is in PA.

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    1. No sorry, Shawn, but - in this case, I know what I am talking about as far as the material goes. The scam is in the middle like I said. Your card has nothing to do with this particular business.

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  6. Coca leaf growers receive very little for their labour; try contacting them direct and see how you get on.

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    1. No, I would rather deal with the 50th person down the chain. I don't dislike my life so much as to want a bullet through the brain.

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  8. Sorry about all the deletes; everything was taking so long to post I assumed I had not clicked publish. Probably the fault of your masters.

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    1. I think 'masters' is the wrong word, but I won't take your choice of it as an insult - this time.

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  9. Don't give the Romanians any info. They got mine and started using my info to Skype around the world. Luckily, my credit card called as this was irregular. Ditto China. They even emailed that bad guys got my info and give it to them so they could get the bad guys.

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    1. I am trying to get my client's IT experts to take over. I may be a mug, but I'm not that stupid.

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  10. It seems almost easier to call the Romanian mayor of whatever Romanian town they are supposed to be at, and try to speak Romanian to him in an effort to get in touch with the company. This would requite more Romanian speaking. "Buna" is supposedly hello in Romanian. What awesome help I am today!!

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    1. Sadly, I have already found the contact stuff for the Romanian mayors and government offices, but they are of no use to me.

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  11. I'm with Donna. I think the mistake was www.Romania.
    That said, how utterly, effing frustrating to not be able to make a purchase on the free market. Where is that, anyway? Amazon has never let me down, and seem to treat their workforce like slaves. I have an hour to spare this afternoon, I'll go there and type in stone-like material unavailable in quantity in England.

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    1. What an amazing number of useless finds. They're good for graffiti remover, by the way. Hope your day improves. Hope mine does, too.

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    2. Type in 'Tufa', then have a look at S.C. ANDIVOR SRL. See how you get on with that, but I have already told you how you will get on.

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    3. You can buy it in Waitrose in the international foods aisle.

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    4. It's Tufa the price of one in Morrison's.

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    5. Didn't Geoff Hamilton make something called Tufa on Gardener's World, years ago? He had his own "recipe" and used it as a cheap alternative to stone. He made rockeries and built walls from it.

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    6. The word 'tufa' covers quite a few materials, but the real thing is formed - very quickly - by calcium-rich water evaporating in places like cascades.

      Some Italian travertine stones are described as 'tufa', and they also sell volcanic pumice as 'tufa'. You could make a substitute by frothing up lightweight concrete so it is full of holes, I suppose.

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  12. We have now descended to punning.

    Yippee!

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  13. Replies
    1. I was waiting for that.

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    2. It's difficult to think of anything else when your arse hurts, isn't it?

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  14. Tom, I am glad that most of my on line purchases involve yarn.
    It can be a shock to see what schemes are available just a click or two away.

    Best wishes.

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