Lazy bargain hunting

I’m thinking of buying a digital keyboard with touch sensitive keys and MIDI support. (The one other thing that I thought off — a pitch bend — puts the keyboards out of my budget.)

I’d like a good deal. (Who doesn’t?) But I don’t like to spend time searching for one. (Who does?)

So here’s the plan.

Firstly, I’ll restrict my search to Amazon.co.uk. For electronics items, I haven’t found anyone consistently cheaper. Tesco has some pretty low prices, but not the range. eBuyer is pretty good, but not often enough. Google Products is the only other one that gets me consistent lower prices, but I’ve had my credit card identity stolen once before while shopping online, so I’d rather not pick any random seller listed on Google.

Amazon has a secret discount. You can search for electronics items with 30% off or more. And then you can narrow it down to Sound & Vision > Musical Instruments > MIDI Keyboards. Further cap a 100 – 200 GBP restriction. That leaves us with one product:

MIDI keyboard on Amazon

While that matches my criteria, I’m in no hurry and can wait for more offers to come up. But I don’t want to keep checking this page every day. So, RSS to the rescue. You probably think I can’t get enough of RSS feeds. And you’d be right. The thing is, as an attention mechanism, it is incredibly powerful, and I never cease to be amazed that the things it lets me do.

Using my XPath checker and a bit of trial and error, I figured all product links link to “amazon.co.uk/dp/…” with a <span> inside. So this XPath gets all the links:

//a[contains(@href,'/dp/')][span]

And I made an RSS feed out of that using my XPath server and subscribed to it on Google Reader.

Combining a bunch of such searches, I have a shopping folder on Google Reader has all the items I’m searching for. Now that’s lazy bargain hunting.


Which is all very fine. But given that I’m buying a car in a hurry right now, and I’m not doing any bargain hunting, it’s a classic case of being penny-wise and pound-foolish. Sigh…

  1. Oracle says:

    Alternate way is to set-up a google alert for the specific item in the chosen sites. Do you see any disadvantages with that?

  2. Rajesh says:

    Never had someone’s personal website kept me so drawn in. You are smart and very articulate (u probably know this already) and it shows in each intersting and very often informative article you write. you can even try writing columns in magazines, websites or papers. i’ve learnt a lot from your site already and haven’t finished reading them all. i also see you play the keyboard and maybe interested in midis. i’ve sequenced some midis. u can can find them at

    http://rajesh.annamalaisamy.googlepages.com/rajeshmidis

    if u’re interested. The best tamil song midis in my opinion are done by kishmu. His midi works can be found at

    http://www.geocities.com/kishmu/

    Eagerly anticipating your next article.

    Regards

    Rajesh