I needed a new thumb drive, so I figured I'd just get one from Amazon along with some other stuff I needed. I found a reasonable-looking candidate but looked at the reviews, the first few of which were bad. How can a thumb drive be bad? The first review said it was unreliable (not described further); the second said it came with malware. I looked at a couple other options, and -- same sort of complaints.
Hmm, I said. These are all third-party sellers (different ones, in the few product pages I looked at). Amazon isn't vetting them and never gets its own hands on the products. They're just an aggregator. I would buy a thumb drive from Amazon, but their credibility does not extend to other sellers they happen to host -- I shouldn't trust a thumb drive being sold by "Joe's Anonymous Store" any more than I should trust one I find lying around waiting to spread the malware within. Even if Amazon eventually boots sellers with lots of complaints, that doesn't help me, now.
I had an errand to run today anyway and figured I'd pick one up in person at Best Buy. That's how I found out my local Best Buy isn't there any more. Oops.
I've bought electronics online from NewEgg before and that's always been fine, so I headed there next -- where I saw that the products I was looking at were listed as third-party sellers. I didn't know NewEgg did third-party sellers. I wouldn't have thought to look if not for those Amazon reviews.
I finally ordered from Best Buy online; I figure it's probably really them, and if there's a problem I can, if necessary, go to a (less-local) brick-and-mortar store to deal with it.