12 Days of ’Toonsmas: Day 8

I saw it on the Innertubes so it must be true.
From the August 2019 issue of BRAIN.

One way to minimize your exposure to retail ridicule is to order your goodies online and pick them up at your leisure.

I’ve done this with coffeemakers, computer monitors, and even a guitar. And in these strange days of modern times, you can do it with bicycles, too.

Just surf merrily around the Innertubes from the comfort of your own castle, wherein none dare call you Tubby, Fred, or not at all. Locate the steed of your dreams. Then it’s “click and collect.” Easy peasy.

Or maybe not.

Things always look better on the Innertubes. A Big Mac looks like a hamburger. A generic plastic bike looks like winged Pegasus. And Il Fattini looks like Brad Pitt.

Until you see him in the all-too-abundant flesh and realize he looks more like Brad’s second cousin Grease. And smells like his Uncle Arm.

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15 Responses to “12 Days of ’Toonsmas: Day 8”

  1. SAO’ Says:

    Have you noticed how the internet has led us on a never ending quest to have the best of everything? And if we can’t afford the absolute best, we want the best in category. Which only leads to an infinite subdivision of categories.

    Hence Keurig makes 184 coffee makers that all do the exact same thing.

    And we trust a bunch of bots writing reviews to steer our thinking.

    Reminds me of this gem a little:

    Growing up in a place that has winter, you learn to avoid self-pity. Winter is not a personal experience, everybody else is just as cold as you, so you shouldn’t complain about it too much. You learn this as a kid, coming home crying from the cold, and Mother looks down and says, ‘It’s only a little frostbite. You’re okay.’ And thus you learn to be okay. What’s done is done. Get over it. Drink your coffee. It’s not the best you’ll ever get but it’s good enough.
    Garrison Keillor

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      For reals. Trek has, what, a couple dozen different gravel bikes now? Just wait until Keurig gets in the game. Then we’ll see something.

      • khal spencer Says:

        I would think they would be pissing money into the wind making so many versions of the same thing. Gotta having tooling and lines for a dozen different models that do the same thing. Isn’t that the definition of a money loser?

        • SAO' Says:

          Depends. Keurig sells the same thing at 50 different price points. So the $199 model makes them way more than the $39 version, but doesn’t cost that much more to make.

          Cars are the exact same thing. You increase sales by offering different price points. But you need a reliable market. And bikes are only reliable at the department store level. A certain percentage of kids will get one under the tree or on their birthday, and that number doesn’t change much. But the folks like us who need a “real” bike from time to time … that number is a complete mystery. I’ve spent … what? … $25k on bikes over the years? But I could conceivably go the rest of my life without spending another dime. My next purchase will be a confluence of whim, opportunity, and happenstance. Not a good formula for a math model if you’re in marketing.

        • SAO' Says:

          The other end of the problem is that, after you make your gizmo, you’re at the mercy of The Wirecutter telling them masses that yours is the best. And that’s strictly a crapshoot. Unless you hire bots to write fake reviews, which is a real actual 21st century problem. But kids these days, they won’t try anything on or ask a friend who owns one. They go straight to the Amazon star system and assume it’s the gospel.

          Steve Jobs described iTunes as better than Napster because Napster was free, but you were paying yourself minimum wage to search for, download, and organize your music files. That’s where it seems we are for everything. Amazon is faster than going to the store, except I spent two hours researching my $5 purchase.

  2. Larry T. atCycleItalia Says:

    When we began CycleItalia in 1998 the internet was a great thing – we could put up a website and reach clients without a huge investment up front in advertising. Cheap toll-free phone number helped too. Now the internet is full of what I call “bike tour company of the month” and some of these websites have text cut and pasted from ours, not to mention itineraries copied almost exactly.
    But hey, it was great while it lasted and I’m happy I can do it for fun now rather than worry about making a living at it.
    Bike shopping online? Two stories: 1) Kids who bought bikes online vs at shops for a cycling class the Prof taught a few years ago had the right size bikes in general vs the kids who bought at a shop where my guess is they got stuck with whatever the shop wanted to get rid of. 2) We had a customer come to Italy a few years ago with a brand-new electronic shifting, disky braked, bouncy front end bike that was two sizes too large and not adjusted even close to her physical dimensions – despite paying big money at a famous big-city shop.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I still like the Innertubes for a lot of things. I have the little blog here, which lets me publish words, pix, and whatnot without interference from publishers. I did some underground pubs Back in the Day®, and creation and distribution were a helluva lot more difficult.

      Likewise audio, movies, and video. I’ve recorded and edited on reel-to-reel audio and videotape, plus Super 8 film, and that is heavy lifting. Plus I had to invite people over to my house to watch the Super 8, and they always wanted popcorn and drank all of my beer.

      WIth the Innertubes I can create my little A/V experiments on the Mac, then distribute them via iTunes, Libsyn, YouTube and Vimeo. And all y’all can stay home to read, watch and/or listen, and drink up your own damn beer.

      The one thing I’ve never figured out is how to monetize all this bullshit. Mostly I’m not interested in that. I make money elsewhere; this is basically my playpen.

      • Libby Says:

        I am enjoying Toonsmas and the excellent RFD episode on Christmas Eve. Directly related to monetizing but even more importantly to Mr. Google: we readers should have to click thru to read your blog not just to comment or read the comments. My understanding is that is a tool to become more visible on Google and thus increase readership. Yes, I who know nothing have the audacity to suggest this to you – certainly one of the most tech savvy bloggers out there. I could see you publishing PDF pamphlets and illustrated guides. That is a way of monetizing the blog without ads and affiliates. But, you know that, because you are a techie. You have the technology and what should be the most important part – the writing, the words, knowledge, point of view, humor and unique voice. Two amazing talents. Third amazing talent: monetize your voice.
        Patrick O’Grady – voice artist and talent. The website would grow from that alone.

      • SAO' Says:

        I’ve never seen an ad here, but I didn’t want to come out and ask whether you made any scratch here. But you’re proving my point. This site is 1000x more professional than 99% of the for profit sites out there.

        There’s an Apple blogger I know you read occasionally, dude talks about how he willed himself to success because deep down inside he wanted to be a writer. But every article generates typo corrections via his twitter followers. He talks about how cool everything Apple is, but can’t hook up Apple Pay to sell his merch. His color scheme violates accessibility guidelines. He’s arguable the #1 Apple blogger, and he’s a mess.

        I’ve mentioned ESPN a few times. So interested in being firstest with the mostest that they let their proofreaders and editors go. The ESPN Broncos beat writer is straight-up functionally illiterate.

        Meanwhile, good old Mad Dog Media manages to crank out error-free content without fail. At least, from a formatting and proofreading standpoint. Lord knows reading it leads to hairy knuckles, impure thoughts, and an uncontrollable urge to question authority.

      • Larry T. atCycleItalia Says:

        MONETIZE? I don’t look at much on the net but what I do look at seems to be funded by either a) Ads for gawd-knows-what sold by gawd-knows-who and subtly (or not so) endorsed by the content. b) Paywall. c) Hawking of logo’d merchandise with only a fraction of the take going to you.
        None of those appeal to me. Perhaps you put an electronic tin cup out somewhere instead, sort of like you did with Pelkey for the Live Update Guy? I’d throw some dough in there to keep ad-free, pitch-free snark coming regularly, especially if I could do it via Paypal. You might be able to buy a 6-pack of fake-beer a week with all the profits!!! Happy New Year!

  3. khal spencer Says:

    Internet is a Jekyll and Hyde thing. Plenty of opportunity to obtain good stuff and good ideas but just as many opportunities to go down the rabbit hole of stupidity and junk, all with plenty of encouragement. It really is a case of Caveat emptor, “sold as is”, “your mileage may vary”, etc., etc.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Remember, as Professor Waits has taught us: “The large print giveth and the small print taketh away.”

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Amen Brother! Let’s have another pint to celebrate Mr. Waits and his wisdom. But, that last paragraph was clever and funny. So much so, I told the smarter half “you got to read Patrick’s last post!” We used to do that reading the Friday Foaming Rant. Chapeau mi amigo. You got the licks for the big time as Libby points out above.

  4. Patrick O'Grady Says:

    • A Note from The Management: Thanks to all of yis who enjoy my little fun house and have been kind enough to say so.

    I’ve thought about various ways to monetize the operation, because hey, who doesn’t like making money? But I don’t want to turn the shop into a pay-for-play deal, because I think that would take some of the fun out of it, for me and for thee.

    “Information wants to be free,” as the fella says. I don’t know how much actual information gets dispensed here, but you can always swing by for a free sack of fertilizer and a bit of chat around the cracker barrel. This is a collaboration, not merely a performance.

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