My first two paying jobs were Albertsons and Burger King. So I'd like to think I understand that no, the customer isn't always right... but they are always the customer, and they sign your check, albeit perhaps a bit figuratively.
It has not been a good week.
I'm getting tired of new managements having to show their ass. I'm getting tired of having to point out to service businesses that I don't pay them to win arguments with me.
Let's start with yesterday. As you may have already noted, below, my friend Christina auctions adult toys and lingerie on eBay, and I've put a link to her auction list below.
There's a story there, as you've no doubt guessed by now.
It took me half an hour to get that link to work... The problem, you see, is that the click tracker site I use mangles the URL a bit; I needed to %-escape the question mark and ampersands in her URL to get it to work right. Unfortunately, the eBay error message doesn't bother to tell you what it did get, so you can figure out what might be broken. Ok, simple fix: drop a note to the webmasters at eBay; suggest that addition to them, right?
'Shyeah, right', as my friend Hood would say.
There is no mailto: link on the eBay site anywhere for the webmasters, as far as I could find in 8 minutes of diligent searching. So I looked for a phone number. Uh huh.
So I checked whois -- surely there will be some valid phone number for them there, right? Echo answers mournfully. The number in their whois entry is disconnected. Call Directory Assistance. Get a new number.
Also disconnected. Oh, there's a new area code; try that.
Apparently, Sprint LD hasn't learned about AC 669 yet...
Search the page again. Here's a phone number for their Stock Transfer Agent, in New Jersey, call that. Voice Response unit that asks me to spell the first three letters of the company's name on my 'Touch Tone Keypad'. Accepts what I enter but doesn't verify what it thinks I said. Great. Tell guy-who-answers-the-phone that that's a bad idea, then tell him what I'm looking for. GWATP looks in his rolodex, and gives me another number, similar to the second broken one; turns out to be the stock contact at the company (doh!). Thank GWATP, call other number, get voice mail, hit 0, get switchboard operator.
Try to explain to SBO just enough of what's wrong to get the right person on the phone... SBO *just* *doesn't* *get* *it*. Can't parse "well, just transfer me to someone who has 5 minutes to listen to me rant", even. I finally decide to attack "both your phone numbers are disconnected first"; "please send me to your communications management people".
To quote Charlie Brown: "AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!"
Puts me on hold, finally finds me a person with a clue. I explain all seven levels of my frustration; she promises to find me a webmaster person and puts me on hold.
She does, and Mary is very patient and helpful in a) finding a solution to my problem, and b) listening to me pontificate architecturally on why those DLLs should tell you what they heard when they don't like it and that publicizing the API to that particular DLL might be nice, too. Takes my email address; promises to let me know what comes of it.
So, tell me, not that all of the problems were eBay's; why did I spend half an hour getting progressively more and more pissed that a) systems supposedly in place to service me, a customer, not only were broken, but b) no one cares if they get fixed?
Another delightful little story, from last night.
I'm already unhappy, for yet another "I don't pay you to win arguments with me" reason I won't go into right now. I go to the
IHOP down the street. "The Branch Office", I call it.
I guess I'm closing that office.
"ALL 20%, 15% AND OUTDATED DISCOUNT CARDS WILL NO LONGER BE HONORED." said the tacky looking sign taped to the doors and register. "WE APOLOGIZE FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE THIS MAY CAUSE. MANAGEMENT"
I asked my waitress. "We lost over $2000 on those cards!"
Yeah; that's about half a day's business. How much are you going to lose by telling those people that they're not Very Important anymore? The way I see this, they didn't lose two grand, they made roughly 50% of 5 or 6 times that much money, that they wouldn't have made otherwise.
But no matter. I'm not important anymore, so I guess I'll take the $1000 or so I spent eating there each of the last 2 years to Steak & Shake instead. I suggest you do the same.