Thursday, February 01, 2007

On-Line Frustration

I really needed to buy some more shirts, so I left myself a Post-It (what did we do before Post-Its?), stuck to the side of my flat-screen monitor, to spend at least a half-hour today wasting company money by browsing the Land's End website in search of a half-dozen shirts I a) can fit into and b) live with.

I used to like shopping on-line. That was before I found myself bogged down in a mare's nest nightmare of multiple logon ID's and thousand's of passwords I immediately created and forgot over the last decade.

Then I started doing the worst thing anyone can do, I started to "normalize" all of my logins and passwords so that one-size would fit all. If anyone ever manages to get hold of my login id and password, I'm screwed.

They've gotten very fancy at these websites these days. Time was you just went in and ordered five shirts in your size and that was the end of that. Not today. Oh, no. Nowadays you no sooner get to the page you're looking for (Dress Shirts->Big/Tall->Straight Collar) when you get an annoying popup asking you if you'd "like some on-line help?" which, you full-well know, is being manned (or womanned) by some flunky in a sari in beautiful, downtown Mumbai, and who wouldn't know a western-style men's dress shirt if they fell over it.

Once you've managed to dismiss the annoying OutSourcer, who works for mere rupees on the dollar, you're faced with a bewildering barrage of "Sorry - Out of Stock" messages every time you click on whatever it is that you've just fallen in love with. Or "not available in this size" when you've found a color you like. Or "Would you like monogramming with that... for only five bucks more???"

They might as well ask if I'd like it SuperSized, too.

Then, as your shopping cart fills up, you hit some mythical jackpot. In my case it was $250.00, after which "everything else will be shipped for FREE!"... well, isn't that good news? In that case, send me two of everything.

I have to admit the next part was my fault. I got into a spending mood and decided to check out the ties... while I was there. So I bought two of 'em at $45.00 a piece (big and tall guys pay more!). Then I started the arduous process of checkout. I got to the credit card info input page. Fortunately for me, I do NOT allow websites to "store my credit card data" for future reference, by me, them or anybody else. I put in the necessary digits and clicked on "Proceed." They showed me my grand total, along with a list of everything. I changed my mind about the ties. And the monograms. I decided to change my whole order. I thought the website was going to have a nervous breakdown as I tried to simplify my order. Eventually though, I succeeded.

I pressed the magical "Send" button and my checking account was instantly debited, even though everything I ordered is backordered for a week.

Was there ever a time, aside from "lay-away", when you gave somebody your money and they said they'd "have it for you in a couple of weeks?"

Anyway, I'm sure the shirts will be fine... when they get here.

No comments: