Consumer Purchasing Issues

My DOA G5 iMac  — the one that KinkosFedEx wouldn’t issue a receipt for — was the start of an unlucky streak. On my holiday purchases:

1) Mrs. Big Picture’s iBook was fine; BUT:
2) wireless router was DOA due to a hardware problem;
3) 40G iPod was missing the ordered personal inscription;
4) Rebates on cell phones 8 months late;
5) Wireless Bluetooth keyboard couldn’t find the PC.

Thats 1 for 5 — a pretty lousy streak.

All this made me curious: Are these experiences atypical, or is something else happening here? So I have a favor to ask of BigPicture Readers:

Please tell me:  What sort of experiences have you had – both good and bad – with newly purchased goods or services? Not something you bought from Dell 2 years ago, but more recent (6 months or less). And I want to hear from you about all your consumer purchases — not exclusively Tech.

If you have a beef — or a particularly good experience — Send me an email with "Consumer Purchases" as the subject.

So far, I’ve gotten ~150 200 emails from RealMoney.com subscribers and readers of Prof Farber’s Interesting People, and its been eye-opening reading. I am construing some rather interesting patterns; My findings will be published on TheStreet.com hopefully  next week. I’ll make them available to participants.

I also plan on posting all of the complaints/compliments on line, sans addresses and identity (i.e. XYZ Co sux from Barry in NY). As always, email addresses are never harvested, and all names will remain confidential. (If you do not want your email posted, specify that).

So far, everything I’ve learned is quite fascinating, but I’d like a broader audience to draw from.

Category: Economy

New Column up at Real Money (01/11/05)

Category: Media

Hubris & Ignorance

Category: Markets

Prove Me Wrong

Category: Economy, Markets

Chart of the Week: Stock versus Bond Yield

Category: Markets

Economists on December Jobs

Category: Economy

Bloomberg TV (1/10/05)

Category: Media

Barrons picks up “Five for ’05″

Category: Media

Fun with Google

Category: Web/Tech

Likely improbables for 2005

Each year, fund manager Doug Kass steals (Morgan Stanley’s) Byron Wien’s list of unlikely events — 25 possible surprises — for the following year.

The surprises are not predictions, but instead represent long shot events with a better than expected chance of occurring — despite generally low public beliefs in their liklihood.

Call them variant perceptions

Doug notes "I have long felt that developing a variant view (read: surprise) remains an integral part of differentiating one’s investment returns. Mainstream and consensus expectations are just that, and, in most cases, are deeply imbedded in today’s stock prices." 

Kass:  "The real purpose of this endeavor was to consider positioning a portion of my portfolio in some part based on outlier events — with large payoffs. After all, Wall Street research is still very much convention and groupthink, despite the reforms over the past several years. If I succeed in making you think about outlier events, the exercise has been successful. "

I couldn’t agree more . . .

Here is his list of possible surprises in 2005:

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Category: Markets