While working at SkinStore, I became a bit of a manly skin care product whore. OK, so maybe “whore” is a bit too strong, but I do have a small set of products I like and stick to pretty religiously. One of these is Razor Burn Repair by Anthony Logistics For Men, basically a post-shave moisturizer – very soothing. I have very sensitive skin, and this stuff works wonders.

I usually order from SkinStore, but I’ve been actively ordering directly from brand websites lately, to get a feel for the experiences they offer and see what they’re up to. So I ordered some Razor Burn Repair directly from Anthony.com on 9.21.10.

I like the Anthony website – I think it does a decent job of infusing the experience with founder Anthony’s personality without being ridiculous.  But I got a surprise when I reached the checkout flow. Shipping was expensive – $9.11 for a single four ounce bottle! I really felt like that was excessive and almost bailed out, but I bit the bullet so I could check out the customer experience.

Photo of order from Anthony.com - they sent me their waste!

Come on, guys - For $9.11 in shipping I shouldn't have to handle your trash for you!

I got the package 8 days later. Not cool, considering lots of sites ship for less and get me my goods much faster. Even worse, Anthony uses old style peanuts – messy and not biodegradable, and the product was wrapped in a bubble wrap bag. And while I appreciate the personal touch of a packer’s signature on the inside of the box, presumably verifying correct products, I’m surprised and bemused that they decided to send me the garbage my order generated too.

All kidding aside, this kind of thoughtless, wasteful packing and shipping always bothers me, enough to discourage me from ordering again. It’s far too prevalent in the ecommerce world.  And Anthony could do a better job of optimizing shipping costs and time.

Written on September 30th, 2010 , eCommerce, eCommerce Reviews Tags: , , ,

I’ve been riding motorbikes a long time, and I’ve been lane splitting since I started riding on the street. For me, it’s an integrated part of street riding. I’m not sure I’d want to ride on the streets if I couldn’t filter through traffic.

I’ve also done a lot of commuting by motorcycle, in some cases very long commutes (over 100 miles each way). My current commute is quite leisurely, at least in terms of distance. I ride from SOMA – across the Bay Bridge, some of the most hectic traffic I’ve ever been in – to Berkeley and back each day.

This evening on my way home, I encountered a new situation just off the Bay Bridge, coming into San Francisco. Filtering between a mid-size SUV and a passenger car in slow traffic, I came upon a large chunk of retread in the road. I’ve heard horror stories of motorcyclists being struck by these pieces of truck tire debris and have always had a  slight fear for them. Today I was sandwiched between a couple of cars with only a few inches to either side and I didn’t have much choice other than to attack it head on.

I quickly stood up and prepared to ride over it, as if on a dirt bike, veering slightly to the left. I narrowly miss the retread, but it hit my right foot. It felt surprisingly weighty and substantial, but didn’t hurt much. I wear pretty good riding boots – Sidi On Roads – so I’m pretty well protected, but I think if it had been a bigger chunk or it had hit my foot more squarely, my foot could have been injured.

Looking back, I suppose I could have braked hard and tucked in behind one of the cars to either side in an attempt to completely avoided the retread. This could have opened me up to a rear end collision, though. I also could have lifted my foot, which would have left me without two feet on the pegs – a bad way to be if I had ended up riding over a big part of the retread. I think I did the right thing, but I was surprised by the substantial weight of the tire, although I really shouldn’t have been.

When I’m lane splitting, I’m constantly scanning the activity of other vehicles. I obviously wasn’t paying enough attention to other hazards. Lesson learned: remember to look at the road, too.

Written on September 25th, 2010 , Motorbikes Tags: , , , ,

Before I rock ‘n’ roll saved my soul – in the form of punk and metal – the only music I knew was old country. (Well, country and church hymns, but that’s another story for another time.) My parents listened to a lot of good old country music: Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, George Jones – lots of good stuff.

In my early teens, I rejected this music, but slowly returned to it as I overcame my knee-jerk, anti-“my parents’ music” mentality. It helped that some of my punk rock idols were clearly influenced by country music, from early honky tonk to later outlaw tunes. Later on, as my taste in music progressed beyond “louder, faster, more” I couldn’t get these old songs out of my head.

Anyway, I found this video on the YouTube tonight: Johnny Paycheck playing “The Only Hell My Mama Ever Raised” at Chillicothe Prison in Ohio in 1993, post prison time and “Johnny Bankrupt.” He’s introduced by none other than Merle Haggard. Paycheck and the band are really cookin’ – it’s magical.

Written on September 21st, 2010 , Rock 'n' Roll Tags: , , , ,

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Surj Gish – eCommerce & Online Marketing Expert / Gearhead / Musician