Not only am I broke, but I don’t need much. We are already overstuffed. However, our GPS is slowly dying. I’m pretty sure the battery isn’t recharging properly. When I went to see when I bought this GPS, I realized it was more than 4 years ago. It has left my “bought” list on Amazon.

It is old.

Then I realized today is “Prime Day Deals,” so I figured okay. At least I should take a look and see if there’s something selling cheap that is usually expensive.

There were a few items on sale — mostly Garmin and a few TomToms, as well as a few items of unknown origins. First, I bought a Garmin. Then I canceled it and bought a TomTom. And canceled that one, too. There was not a single GPS from a known-manufacturer that had my minimum rating of four stars. There weren’t any in the “unknown” category either.

I know some complaints are phony (as are favorable reviews). But when I read them, they sounded all too familiar. The same complaints I have made and everyone else has made.

Voices that couldn’t pronounce basic words in English. Weird directions that send you to a graveyard instead of the mall (we did that one in Gettysburg and it was hilarious). Batteries that die in less than a year and only work for an hour at a time even when brand new.  And, of course, terrible customer service. Not enough gigabytes so that when you try to update your firmware or “lifetime maps,” the unit drops dead.

None of this is new. These are the same old problems which have shown up in every GPS I’ve ever owned for as long as they have been around.

The thing is, spending more on a bigger, fancier unit doesn’t mean you’ll get a better GPS. Basically, the complaints about the big expensive sets were the same as the complaints about the small, compact ones — except people who spend hundreds of dollars for a GPS that can’t find it’s way on a straight road from point A to B were even MORE pissed off than people who spend less money.

Amazon’s best which oddly are the same as Best Buy’s best …

Some folks complained that to get more than half the “benefits” of the new units, you have to hook them up to your smartphone. Several people pointed out if they were going to use a phone, they wouldn’t bother to buy a GPS. They could get the same crappy service without spending the extra money.

In the end, I didn’t buy anything. The “Prime Day Deal” discounts were no better than the discounts you can find on Amazon on any normal day. They have also made it increasingly difficult to tell the used items from the new. They hide the word “renewed” so that you can easily think you’re getting a bargain whereas you are actually getting something which was broken and is still broken.

No matter what they say, they do NOT check the broken items to make sure they are genuinely fixed. They repack them and send them out so you can argue with customer service.

It’s an online version of “Black Friday.”

Maybe there are some big bargains tucked in between the (mostly) junk they are selling for short money, but I didn’t see any. Overall? “Big Sale Days” are a waste of everyone’s time and energy.

Meanwhile, you can add to my list of “things which need fixing, the faithful, but wildly inaccurate “vehicle GPS.”

Software designers, it’s time to toss out your existing designs and come up with a new design that works. Which won’t, in the middle of your travels from Boston to Bangor, send you on a side-trip through an ancient forest to a collapsed bridge.

Categories: #Photography, Marilyn Armstrong, online shopping, Shopping

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29 replies

  1. I used to own a Garmin and a TomTom and when I bought my last car in 2012, I paid $2,000 extra for a built in GPS navigation system. I no longer use any of them. I use Google Maps on my iPhone and it’s great. It even suggests alternative routes if the route I’m on gets bogged down with traffic due to construction or an accident. Who needs a dedicated GPS device anymore?


    • The problem is this: More than half of Boston’s major roads are UNDERGROUND. By the time any GPS finds its satellites, you have to have made a number of decisions, so you’d better know where you are going, or have printed directions. I don’t use my phone because IT won’t operate underground either.

      Again, no satellites.

      Out here, even if you don’t know your way, it’s not that hard to find it — as long as you know which roads go where and there are fewer than a dozen main roads. The problem with the GPS’s here is that for some reason, their mapping includes roads no one has used since The Revolutionary War. Of course, given the current state of the state, we may need them again.

      In winter, those “roads” are dangerous and you are very likely to get stuck there if there has been any rain. They should try getting their maps from AAA or some other legitimate company that recognizes that a road no one has used (and isn’t paved) is probably unsuitable for many cars and any vans. They could stop sending delivery vans there, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I bot one of those for Rose. She was always getting lost (he said). We were surprised to find it works pretty good most of the time. But the other day i was using it and it was sending me all over the damn place – just like yours. I knew a shorter more direct way so I shut it off and finally got there. When I got home I brought it in and updated my map info to the modern age.
    Hmmm … looks similar to the that one on the bottom image.


    • It is why the delivery people are always getting lost. They are using some weird GPS so instead of just driving down 146A and making a right turn onto our street, they find themselves on back roads deep in the woods … or wandering the golf course. I don’t know WHERE they get those maps!


  3. My husband’s fancy car has a built-in GPS, but he uses Waze on his phone (recently purchased by Google). I don’t have a fancy car, but I use the GPS on my phone, too, but I use Google Maps. Sometimes, we run both at the same time and they give us differnt directions, which I find hilarious, since both claim to be sending us on the fastest route.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I print out Google’s directions before we leave home because the GPS has some very interesting ideas of a “direct” route and I’m not paying another $20 or $30 a month to get WAZE on the phone. I wouldn’t trust anything my phone does anyway. At least I can look at printed directions and decide whether they make sense — and then, I can contact AAA and the will send decent maps!


      • AAA maps got me across the US, coast to coast, with my daughter reading the directions as I drove. She was 11 at the time. We still print out Google directions sometimes 🙂


  4. Personally, I’d rather go to a cemetery than a mall. Much quieter. Although all sales are FINAL!

    I didn’t even go online on Prime Day. Like you, there’s really nothing I need and I wouldn’t have money for anything anyway. When I do need something, I can always find a sale somewhere.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Still prefer a map.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. You won’t believe it. I have a good GPS system built into my car. I got the car last Christmas and still have never used it. I suppose I do not travel to places I do not know and even the radio distracts me when I am driving.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t worry. GPS makes you stupid. You forget how to go anywhere.

      I decided we should make it a point to know how to go most places we go WITHOUT a GPS. Maybe GPS’s are more accurate there, but here, they send you on hysterically wrong roads.

      What they are good for it reminding you when to exit and which way to turn after you exit, but it’s always better to have a map in the car (just in case) and have a reasonably good idea where you are going. I print directions if it is someplace new, even though we’ve had a GPS for years.

      A lot of the time, I don’t bother to turn it on at all, EVEN if it’s someplace new. Useless in Boston because half the roads are underground and useless in rural areas because they don’t seem to have local maps for the countryside. They work best in small towns and suburbs — where you usually don’t need them anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well I know what you mean when you say GPS makes you stupid. I’ve traveled all over this country with nothing more than a decent sense of direction and an occasional glance at a road map.., but I do have a Garmin GPS. I bought one at Costco after borrowing my sisters, ironically, using it to visit you and Garry back in 20??. Since then I have updated this device with downloads to Garmin Express on my computer.

        My sister needed something to guide her to her clients location for the contract work she did designing and installing hi tech phone systems. The second time I used it to get to your house it guided me in a different, less direct way. Then there’s the voice choices. You can use the default American female voice or a sexy English woman. Funny thing though, the default voice gives way more detailed instructions while my Brit Beauty doesn’t seem to know where I am. So here’s the way I deal with GPS; I know N, S, E and West so I engage in a contest, with my GPS, to see which one of us knows the best way to go. I swear I hear disappointment in her voice every time I override her.., “recalculating.” What I wish they would allow is voice content editing so we could add our own twist, so in addition to the snide “calculating” notice, you might hear a muttered “you stupid shit” or “WTF, why are you disobeying me?” It would make for a way more interesting, fun and entertaining experience.


        • I think someone should “teach them” what a “direct route” means and the difference between a paved and an unpaved road … and hey, what IS a washed-out bridge? It’s not easy to get lost around here. We don’t have a lot of roads. Not like in and around Boston. So there’s simply NO excuse for the utter confusion in the mapping.

          It would be hilarious if the GPS fought back!


  7. Jeez – My Garmin is so old now that you have to wind it up before you can use it. to be honest, I don’t like the things – they’re untrustworthy. To get the best out of them you need to have some idea of where you’re going anyway, as it could lead you anywhere and by any route. The best navigational device is Alli with an old fashioned but very reliable road map.

    Does Amazon have a sale on? I hadn’t noticed!


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