Sandro Botticelli At The Boston MFA

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Today was the first Sunday of the first full weekend of the month, so that meant free admission to the Museum Of Fine Arts, courtesy of our BankAmericard. Thank you once again, Bank Of America. 

I'm just going to leave photos here of some things that drew me to them. It was very special to see such beauty that had survived from the 15th and 16th centuries.   

And yes, Botticelli's "Venus" was indeed part of the exhibit, and for many of those present, it seemed to be the primary focus. And it certainly was powerful to see the original painting in person.

But my eyes drifted to other works that were less known or unknown to me, that engaged me immediately

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There was a young man with a man-bun looking at this painting while I was taking the photo. I resisted the temptation to ask him if this might have been the inspiration for his choice of hairstyle. 

Amazon Books

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An Amazon Books store opened on the North Shore, and I wanted to see how a store without visible pricing could possibly hope to succeed. With my background in bookselling and retail, and as an Amazon Prime member, I was especially interested in learning about how in-store transactions got processed and whether or not that elusive thing known as "Customer Service" would be present. 

And I made a commitment to myself not to purchase any books there, since I'm on a personal campaign to jettison those of my existing books that I no longer read or care about but have some market value left (to family for free, or to other readers for as much money as possible on eBay). Books I purchase these days are either ebooks, or Audible books.

So how did it go?

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Well, it's a gorgeous store, in the way that I think Apple stores are gorgeous. It doesn't look like an Apple Store, but it does have that same clean, open, thought-through look and feel to it. It's comfortable and it looks like a bookstore.  

About a quarter of the store is devoted to Amazon electronics, which allows the customer to interact with Kindle and Alexa hands-on instead of online. Online shopping is a wonderful thing, but you can't see and touch (and interact) with things like you can in a brick-and-mortar store. So in that regard, Amazon Books is a showroom - and it is especially a Prime showroom. 

And if you're saying "well I like shopping online because I like to read the comments" all you have to do is open the Amazon app on your smartphone, scan the item, and read the comments. Alternatively, you can take the item you're interested in to one of the scanning stations in the store.

The title selection was eclectic but engaging, and browsing was really fun. The checkout procedure seemed quick and easy, again making use of a customer's Prime membership, or for non-Amazonians, the old fashioned card-swipe way. It appeared to be frictionless. And customer service was also good, and respectful to browsers. I engaged with one Associate who was obviously a book person, and with whom I bonded (as a book person and former bookseller myself). He answered all my questions and was quite clear about Amazon's mission with Amazon Books - to showcase amazon.com.

The title selection was eclectic but engaging, and browsing was really fun. The checkout procedure seemed quick and easy, again making use of a customer's Prime membership, or for non-Amazonians, the old fashioned card-swipe way. It appeared to be frictionless. And customer service was also good, and respectful to browsers. I engaged with one Associate who was obviously a book person, and with whom I bonded (as a book person and former bookseller myself). He answered all my questions and was quite clear about Amazon's mission with Amazon Books - to showcase amazon.com.

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All in all, I was impressed. I didn't ask Alexa any questions, but despite my best intentions, I did buy a book. 

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