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“We’re sorry.” “I’m sorry to hear that.” “Very sorry, but it’s out of our hands.”

We’re having to utter these sorry little phrases more and more these days, but not relating to any issues with our products. These are being made in response to reports of shipping issues, where damaged goods, lost or missing packages, inconvenience from signatures being required, and excessive shipping costs all seem to be on the increase lately. In addition, our once chirpy pick-up/delivery drivers seem to be generally disgruntled of late, and they put it down to the “Amazon Effect”.

So, what exactly is the Amazon Effect?

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Did you know that if you store wine at higher temperatures than 65°F, you will actually be accelerating the aging process? Conversely, storing wines at colder than 45°F means they will not fully develop, robbing the wine (and yourself) of its full potential. Even that inexpensive bottle of Chardonnay you bought on sale last week can be adversely affected by storing it under your boat's salon settee until you've made room in the ice box, which in itself is normally at 40°F, so not a good place to put your wine anyway.

The temperature at which you store, and serve, your wine will have an impact on its flavor and your enjoyment. Especially if you plan to store your wine for at least 6 months, you know, for that cruise you've been planning to take before life gets in the way. On my boat, wine doesn't last long in storage, but that doesn't mean I want the taste to be compromised because I didn't handle it correctly. Something that could be so easily fixed.

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Imagine that you are just walking into the grocery store when your significant other calls and asks that you also pick up an avocado, but is insistent that it must have a small stone and maximum flesh. Normally the biggest challenge with avocados is finding the almost-ripe ones and then getting them home before they whisk through the ripe stage in transit and swiftly progress to the over-ripe stage just as you unpack them. But this stone-size issue poses a different challenge.

Now you're in the produce section and you find a choice of two offerings of avocado; regular and organic. Knowing the variety or origin is no help, (no Siri on your flip-phone and your Mum told you never to talk to strangers) and both are of the same size, color, and weight, with the organic version being higher priced. So, how would one determine which pile of avocados would have the highest probability of having the smallest stone?

If it were me I would take one from each pile, and then once back home secretly use a pin to pierce the skin to see which had the smallest stone. If the stone in that one is declared by your S.O. to be too large and you're accused of being an incompetent shopper, present the other and wager that the stone in that one would be even larger. That should be good for $10! (Warning! Trying the pin trick at the store will probably result in the manager demanding you purchase the entire display of avocados, as there's no way of knowing which ones you'd pricked with your germ-infested pin and then put back.) And because you had the savvy to buy two avocados, you now have more than enough flesh than was requested and the rest can go on the salad.

Choosing a marine air conditioning unit poses a similar conundrum.

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