Why I am getting fed up with online marketplaces


I recently went on a research trip for 11 days taking with me the essentials I needed to record my experiences. These essentials included 2 cameras (in case one broke or got lost), an iPad 2, an Apple keyboard, a Kindle and several plugs and cables. The electronics weighed far more than the few clothes I managed to fit into my mini suitcase and took up a lot of space. As I was staying in low rent hostels for the most part there was nowhere safe to leave the electronics so I ended up lugging them around with me. After a couple of days I got really tired of it. By the end of the trip, I was extremely fed up and had sore shoulders. As I result I figured that I needed to reduce the amount of stuff I took and looked for a more efficient way of recording my travels.

The problem with the different pieces of equipment I own is that each one does at least one job extremely well. For instance, both cameras can take stills and video. The iPad is good for surfing the web and can double as a photo storage device as well as a word processor. The Kindle stores books.

The iPad, I discovered, is too bulky and heavy to really use as an additional camera or camcorder. Also, in the sun it was difficult to see the screen so a lot of my images are a bit hit and miss. The solution, I decided, was to find a cheap 7 inch android tablet which I could use travelling.

I discussed this with a friend whose mother is after a tablet and started doing some research on the internet to find something suitable. This is where I discovered that doing a search for a specific item on both Amazon and ebay is a pain in the butt. Let me explain why.

You launch the marketplace of your choice and type into the search bar exactly what it is you want to find e.g. Kindle Fire. The marketplace’s search engine then searches for all uses of the term in the database and throws it onto the screen. On both Amazon and ebay the search engine did not discriminate between the actual product and various accessories. I tried using old fashioned search delimiters and they did not work. Even worse, on Amazon I could not fast forward several pages but had to keep searching page after page. Eventually, I gave up. I trawled through loads of “time ending soonest” entries which mainly consisted of tablet covers and cables with the odd tablet hiding amongst the detritus.

I gave up and went back to old fashioned stores like Argos, Waterstones and Tesco. Next week I am going to go and investigate the Hudl in my local Tesco. I am expecting the process to be easier than the online marketplace.