Some day, when I have nothing better to do (and I have so much better to do every day), I need to write the chronicle of how Amazon became the worst online website for purchasing your CDs of classical music (I won’t pronounce on the rest, I seldom use Amazon for anything else). But for today, just to keep this in memory for that anticipated chronicle.
So, the research engine doesn’t work anymore. Due to the laughable and infuriating vagaries of artist and label credits on just about each and every one of Amazon’s entries (I’d need to elaborate on that, but not here), the only sure way to find the record you are looking for is the barcode (because entries are indexed on CD barcodes). It doesn’t work 100% of the times, there are glitches there too (as when an entry is indexed on two different barcodes, for two entirely different products – and I can’t tell you the fight and waste of time and energy it is to get Amazon to fix it), but, okay, I’d say 99% of the times, it works.
It used to be that you could research on barcodes and, bull’s eye, find the CD you were looking for (provided, of course, you knew its barcode. I’m losing the memory of many (other) things, because my head is filled with barcodes… ). No more. It started, in my own experience, with Amazon.co.uk: barcodes didn’t yield, serving the infamous “no results for…. “. Still worked on Amazon.fr, so I could go there retrieve the ASIN indexing (which is proper to Amazon), and from there return to Amazon.uk and find my CD. But now it’s on Amazon.fr that barcodes don’t yield. It used to be that some searches on barcodes didn’t yield although the CD was duly listed, but because there was no current offer. Now, barcodes simply don’t yield. Well, okay, as with thousands of other things on Amazon that went for the worse in a decade or so, I found the way to circumvent that. That required going to my seller account on Amazon, and “add a product”. That still yields (when the product DOES exist and has been listed, which is usually the case), and from there I can click on the link and find the entry.
But now Amazon.uk doesn’t respond to ASINs either. The asses! So how do I find my entry to find the best price? Look, it was simple, the compilation of Giulini’s Concerto recordings in a Warner 9-CD Box, barcode 5099943176120, titled “Giulini The Concerto Recordings”. But type the barcode, type the ASIN number B00FJZQS34, and nothing. Type “Giulini The Concerto Recordings” (seems obvious enough, no?) – well, that one yields: to two entries that are NOT the official release with its 5099943176120 barcode, but are probably entries created by distributors, with specific barcodes. And note that one yields if I search in category “CDs and Vinyl”, and the other if category “All Departments”: why don’t BOTH yield in any category? Why doesn’t “All Departments” include “CDs and vinyl”? Well, don’t ask me why Amazon is so disfunctional. One goes by barcode 799665242633, ASIN: B01JT7JZO6, and is more expensive than the “legitimate” entry which you won’t find; for the other I haven’t been able to find the barcode (because it is not listed on Amazon.fr where I have my seller account), and ASIN is B013H2D7YI; it is currently priced… 1367.20 £. I’m not kidding you. What a great deal!
So, okay, I’ve found the “fix” on that again. Copy the full address in the navigator’s adress bar on Amazon.fr, open new tab, paste, substitute “Amazon.co.uk” to “Amazon.fr” and you get to your entry.
But this is a PAIN.IN.THE.ASS. These are inconvenient fixes to circumvent the glitches of Amazon that shouldn’t happen in the first place. AND: I know the tricks. How does the normal Joe do? He doesn’t. Other than that arguably very complicated go around, I haven’t been able to find the legitimate release on Amazon.uk, using all the possible criteria that would be available to the “normal Joe”: “Giulini Concertos”, “Giulini Warner”. EVEN knowing that the set is listed on .uk under the title “Carlo Maria Giulini Centenary Edition – The Concertos” and using it for the search (which, of course, is cheating, because it supposes that you already have been able to access the legitimate entry), the yield on “All Departments” is to the “thousand pounds” entry (!!!). Only does a search on “Cds and Vinyl” yield, besides the thousand pounds entry, the legitimate one (but DON’T click on “see all 2 results”, that will take you back to misleads):
No, Amazon, you dunces: YOU need help!
Bottom line: the normal Joe simply doesn’t find the CD he’s looking for, or finds the wrong edition, at a much steeper price. He’s been ripped by Amazon.