Friday, March 20, 2009

Ultimate shopping with O'Brien

I was introduced, one might say, to ShopWiki today by a passing email. Don't know that I'd ever heard of it, or rather, if I had, it was only very much in passing.
It's rather like a version of Google that focuses only on shopping (Yes, really! Did you think it might be otherwise?), the main difference being that it will only bring up retail items rather than the endless possibilities that Google enhances our world with whenever we go searching...! Apparently it also finds all items in the search range, rather than just ones that have paid to be seen. Interesting idea.
I don't know how obscure you can go, but I checked out Flann O'Brien (see the last post) and he came up without any difficulty. However, a difficulty that did arise when I tried that was that it kept on wiping out this page I'm working on at the moment. Fortunately Blogger saves stuff readily, so I didn't lose anything. But I can't see quite why there's a link between Blogger and ShopWiki. Odd.
You can specify how small or large a price range you want, sort from low to high or in reverse, and each item that comes up has enough information to show you whether it's worth pursuing or not. Curiously, if you checked out the lowest price on the strollers (in the first link above), you'll find a couple - at least at the moment - priced at 0.1c each. Unfortunately, when you click on that particular item you receive a message: This item cannot be ordered on the Web. You have to ring a number to find out more. Still, you can't have everything, obviously!
And doesn't that stroller in the picture remind you a bit of a lawn mower? I'm not sure what the visual link is.
Incidentally, I began reading some of Flann O'Brien's stuff yesterday. Found a collection of his Irish Times columns in the library - he takes a crazy idea and runs with it. Regrettably you have to read the book to see how funny he is, but one thing struck me that I want to record.
One of my (favourite) sayings when my children were growing up was: Talk to the wall, Michael, talk to the wall. My younger son delights in reminding me of this at every opportunity.
O'Brien writes (pg 39 of The Best of Myles) I might as well be talking to the wall, of course, though this phrase has always seemed strange in view of the belief that walls have ears.
I think only O'Brien (or possibly Chesterton) would have come up with something as quirky as that.
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