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How To Order Electronic Items December 12, 2007

Posted by gordonwatts in France, life.
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We have to replace our video camera. And, as Paula just pointed out, we need to do it before Christmas so we can video Christmas! So much for waiting to see how much insurance is going to give us!

This turns out to be a real problem. I like the Sony SR7. We will arrive from France in Ottawa on Dec 22nd, so we need to have it starting then. Here is a break down of the cost in all countries I’m going to be in or around over the holidays.

Cost in the USA: $1045 (pre-tax).

Cost in France: 1200 euros (with taxes) ==> $1760 US

Cost in Ottawa: $1400 Canadian (pre-tax) ==> $1381 US

Further — when I order from Amazon, I was charged no tax. That is a huge difference in cost – especially to Europe. I don’t get it either — the dollar is so weak. It has been declining for a while – why are items made outside the US still so cheap inside? Is the mark up that big? And in Europe the taxes are larger than the US, but not that much — especially when you take the conversion rate into account.

How do Europeans buy enough gadgets!?  🙂

From the legal point of view, this camera spend the first week of its life in Canada, then move to the USA for 3 weeks, and then over to France for about 7 months, and will then remain in the USA for the rest of its life (assuming it isn’t stolen). So ordering it from the USA should be no problem — and it is, by far, the cheapest.

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The Strike Bites Back, a bit… November 20, 2007

Posted by gordonwatts in computers, France, travel.
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I arrived back in Paris yesterday from the USA. That part was easy (thank you, for once, United). Getting from Paris to Marseille came close to being a disaster because of the strike. The easy train to take was the 1:30pm from the airport – direct to Marseille. Unfortunately, they had no idea if it would run. However, they did know that the 1:40 one from downtown Paris was running. The only trick left then was to get to downtown Paris. I waited over an hour and a half for the Air France bus to arrive at the airport. I gave up when I found out that it was taking over 3 hours to drive to downtown! That is normally a 45 minute trip in heavy traffic.

Fortunately, by the time I figured that out, they knew that the direct train from the airport was going to run, so I switched. Waited outside in the cold and the drizzle for nothing. As I said, if that is the worst I am affected by this strike… that isn’t too much!

The train ride was the slowest I’d ever been on – it was like being back in the USA. There were periods where the TGV was running no faster than running speed. It normally runs at about 186 mph!

BTW, I sat opposite this Finish guy. He had more technology that I did. He seemed to spend the whole train ride trying to get all of his various devices to work with each other. Is there some anti-correlation between number of tools and amount of work you get done? On the same topic, check out this post – it made me laugh out loud (I’ve had the same problems in my house).