Friday, July 27, 2018

Photo books from fotobuch

They say in business that if you under-promise and over-deliver your clientele will keep coming back. I was reminded of this today when ordering photo-books.

Almost 10 years ago a friend in Germany told me she had tried several of the producers of photo-books and had found the best. I ordered one shortly afterwards. has custom software that you download onto your computer.  To make the book you open the software then load your photos either automatically or manually.You add captions, or poems or other descriptors, choose the page background, photo frame size and colour etc. I always place photos manually and spend lots of time fiddling to make each page looks as good as I can make it. I have made quite a few over the years and each time I discover new features.

The main problem for me is that they don't ship to Australia so I have to make them when I am in the EU or get others to bring them for me. Two days ago I realised that the photobook I had made of recent photos could be brought home by traveling family members if I ordered it quickly enough and had it sent to Scotland where they are staying. They leave next Friday.

I put the order in on Wednesday evening, Wednesday morning their time. The website says it takes 3-5 working days to produce books, and because I ordered two somewhat different books (one for me and one for them) I guesstimated five days but hoped for four.   If they were sent Monday evening they might just make it to Scotland in time.

An hour ago, Friday evening (Friday morning their time) I received an email saying the books have been delivered to DHL. Production took only two days and now they are on their way.  I was sent a  shipping number, so I can track them on the DHL website, which currently says they are being delivered to the local distribution center.  It looks promising, but I have no idea of shipping times in Great Britain. Surely books that have been produced in two days could be delivered in six?  I have my fingers firmly crossed.

[To if you are reading this: I love your product, but please consider shipping to Australia!]

Sunday, July 01, 2018

A story about coffee machines

I don't live near a large shopping center so when my old Sunbeam coffee machine needed replacing I had to drive some way. I had done a bit of online research and discovered my machine was no longer in production but that a similar small Sunbeam got good reviews.  I bought one of those from Harvey Norman, refusing the extra long warranty the shop assistant was very determined to sell me.

I took it home and followed all the instructions for prepping a coffee machine but when I tried to make my first cup of coffee next morning the machine didn't work. No water throughput. So I called the Sunbeam people, got a number and took it back to Harvey Norman and swapped it for a new one, the same brand and model.
It was a Mini Barista and once again I took it home and prepped it and all seemed in order. I couldn't believe my eyes when I tried it the next morning and it didn't work. I took a video of it not working as it seemed so unbelievable, but the Sunbeam man didn't seem to think it unbelievable and just said I should ask for my money back.

Before I returned to the shop this time I went to the local library and looked up coffee machines in  Choice magazine. I was chagrined to discover that this machine got a very low rating when compared to others (so much for google 'research'). I made a list of the top four and set off again to the shopping center. I returned the machine for a cash refund then looked around for something else. None of the top machines were sold by Harvey Norman so  I went around the corner to a Bing Lee shop where they were all on display. I bought the one at the top of the list and although I was asked if I wanted extra insurance there was  no hard sell.
Breville Barista Express

My  new machine is a Breville, rather more fancy and expensive than the other but it works like a dream and makes much better coffee than my older simpler one. Despite all the driving I consider myself very lucky the two Sunbeams failed and I ended up with a much better machine. The experience taught me to do better research than just looking on google before buying such items and it also made me wonder about Harvey Norman, Would I have got my insurance back for the failed machine? Why are they selling only substandard models? Is that true for all their products? Questions, questions.