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In Brief: Nov. 22, 1999

2 minute read
Anita Hamilton

GET WET That cute little APS camera from Canon just got cuter thanks to its new waterproof design. Called the Sport Utility Elph, the spunky, 8-oz. green-and-silver camera is the smallest and lightest of its kind. Some may balk at the $270 price and the costlier APS film, but since the Elph line outsells APS rivals 3 to 1, the Sport will likely make a splash.

E-COMMERCE WATCHDOG Here’s further proof that online shopping isn’t all it’s cracked up to be: of over three dozen newly rated websites listed on Consumer Reports Online at CONSUMERREPORTS.ORG, only Amazon.com wins top honors for “a very satisfying shopping experience.” Rated by the five-point system used in the print magazine, the site evaluates e-merchants based on content, usability and policies. Lillian Vernon’s catalog site is labeled “inconvenient” and “tedious,” while the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut site gets dinged for its “poorly cross-referenced search engine.” Just so-so sites include Victoria’s Secret, Frederick’s of Hollywood, Brookstone and The Sharper Image.The detailed ratings are available to members who pay $24 a year.

GIFTS FROM THE HEART Searching for a unique holiday gift that won’t look as if it came straight off the racks at Banana Republic? At WORLD2MARKET.COM, you can find anything from a beaded Huichol Mexican Indian mask to a hand-embroidered quilt from India. Even better, the site buys products only from humanitarian organizations committed to improving the life of the artisans by ensuring a safe work environment and a living wage as well as a savings plan. That means $11 of the $46 you pay for a hand-blown Peruvian vase goes directly to the artisan co-op that made it–about twice what traditional retail outlets would pay.

–By Anita Hamilton

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